Friday, November 29, 2013

WI Radio: WCFW's Jerry Thomas Ends 60 Year Career

After more than 60 years on the air a familiar voice in the Chippewa Valley will sign off for the last time this weekend, according to

In a tiny studio in Chippewa Falls, Jerry Thomas finishes up his shift with a quick check of the temperature. His station, WCFW 105.7 FM, is like walking through a time machine to the golden age of radio. Reel to reel tape machines, record players and vintage microphones fill every corner. It's a fitting scene for a man who's been on the radio for six decades.

After the Air Force, Thomas used the GI bill to go to Brown College for broadcasting in 1952. He bounced around stations in Eau Claire and Menomonie but he's been at WCFW ever since: 23 years, in all.

In that time, Thomas says technology has improved greatly. He says the greatest advancement for him was moving from the reel to reel tape machine to cassettes. “Boy, that was the biggest help to me. You're always getting tape set up – and that was the old seven and a half inch, it'd take forever. So, when that cassette come out I thought, ‘Wow, that is really a handy thing to have, geez! It's all cued up and ready go to.”

At 82, Thomas says he'll spend more time with hobbies, riding his bike and cross country skiing.

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