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Almost Yesterday is a glimpse into the rich history of our region. Dr. Frank Nickell takes listeners on a journey to specific moments in time, such as the first radio broadcast on KFVS, the history of Farmington’s Carleton College, and the short-lived safari on a Mississippi River island. A gifted storyteller and local historian, Dr. Nickell’s wit and love for the past are combined with sounds and music that augment his narrative.On Saturday, June 7, 2008, Almost Yesterday received First Place in the "Special Programs" category at the Missouri Broadcasters Association Awards Banquet in Kansas City, Missouri.Almost Yesterday airs every Wednesday at 5:42 and 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Almost Yesterday: KFVS Radio Makes its Debut

KFVS-12 beginnings were humble - Oscar W. Hirsch's living room, the location of KFVS Radio's first broadcast.
Southeast Missouri State University
KFVS-12 beginnings were humble - Oscar W. Hirsch's living room, the location of KFVS Radio's first broadcast.

It was more than 90 years ago but it seems like Almost Yesterday that KFVS Radio first went on the air.

It was the evening of June 22, 1925. Hundreds of citizens of Cape Girardeau gathered in front of the house at 318 South Frederick Street. The street was closed to traffic and the crowd gathered on the sidewalks and the yard and the living room of the Oscar W. Hirsch home. The windows were open and individuals pushed forward to both see and hear this historic event. Peg Meyers' Melody Kings was encircled by a curious audience.

At precisely seven o'clock, the orchestra came alive with the first sounds of music broadcast from Cape Girardeau. Just moments after the conclusion of the first number, the telephone rang and a Mr. Danenmueller in Kelso said, "Keep it up. She's comin' in fine." From that time on, advertising for the Melody Kings promoted themselves as KFVS artists. The historic broadcast lasted less than two hours. From this evening on, here in the Hirsch living room, KFVS Radio eventually moved to the Marquette Hotel.

KFVS was the only commercial radio station in Cape Girardeau for 27 years and developed a wide following. In a 1981 concert in Cape Girardeau, country/western singer Johnny Cash remembered that as a youngster he regularly listened to KFVS Radio from right here in Cape Girardeau. For Johnny Cash and generations of residents of the heartland, June 22, 1925 seems like Almost Yesterday.

Frank Nickell is a retired history professor at Southeast Missouri State University.
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