KEWI-AM 690 — a Benton station dedicated to preserving old time radio
It goes without saying that’s changed over the years. There are a few radio stations across the country that still broadcast those shows to the benefit of people who grew up listening to them and new fans.
We’ve got one of those stations here in Benton — Landers Broadcasting’s KEWI-AM 690. That station broadcasts episodes of either Lum and Abner or Amos and Andy following the local 7 a.m. news broadcasts.
KEWI also broadcasts an hour of various OTR programs at 11 a.m. KEWI’s Jim Landers said he took over the station 16 years ago and has been mixing OTR shows into format since then. He’s collected boxes of the programs and keeps purchasing them for his audience, which has been more than receptive to tuning in to classic radio shows regularly.
Landers said the shows are, of course, popular with people who grew up listening to them during the genre’s heyday from the 1920s through the 1950s, but those episodes have also attracted a younger audience.
“It appeals to them,” Landers said. “They’ve never heard anything like this. The Green Hornet and Dagwood and Blondie are new to them.”
Landers said the decision to broadcast old time radio shows is all part of his station’s “block programming” format. Listeners can hear everything from the likes to Frank Sinatra to old time rock and roll on the station — the goal is to offer as many listeners as possible something they’ll enjoy.
The station does something else rare these days — local people pick the programming. That’s novel in an area where corporate conglomerates play similar formats on stations they own throughout the country.
“We get calls from people all over … saying ‘please don’t change this. This is hometown radio. This is what we like.”
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.