Charles B. Persons

Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame

Charles B. Persons

2001 Charter Inductee

Charles B. Persons got a vacuum tube for his birthday in 1924. He used it to build a radio, and tuned in WEBC Duluth. Two years later, as soon as he had finished high school, he was working for WEBC. Thus began the career of a true pioneer, one of the most colorful characters in Minnesota radio and cable television. He spent 28 years at WEBC, eventually becoming chief engineer, and helping link WEBC with other Minnesota and Wisconsin stations into the Arrowhead Radio Network. He also pioneered FM broadcasting in the region, building experimental station W9XYH in the late 1930s. The station, which eventually became WEBC-FM, was claimed to be the first FM station west of Chicago. After helping develop radar technology in the Signal Corps during World War II, he returned to Duluth in 1945, and married his wife June, herself a member of the Hall of Fame. He helped build over a dozen radio stations, including WELY Ely and KVBR Brainerd, which he and June owned and operated, as well as cable television systems in Minnesota and Wisconsin. They retired in 1982, grew restless, bought back KVBR, and operated it for another eight years.

Charles Persons passed away, at the age of 89, on November 15, 1998.