Jim & Virginia Collins of KFMO Radio


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By:  Joan Mabery
Published by THE LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, June 29, 1966.

          Jim and Virginia Collins came to Flat River in 1947 from Cape Girardeau to assume managership of Radio Station KFMO in Flat River. Upon their arrival, they found that the building for the station had not been completed; this necessitated their having to rent the dining room of the National Hotel and from there they broadcast their programs. The teletype machine was set up in the lobby.

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On July 1, 1947, they moved to their present location on St. Joe Drive. During their 19 years of being on the air, they have tried to bring to the public programs in which all types of people will be interested. Many program ideas have originated on the station and most of the features of their daily broadcasts have continued to stay popular with their audience. They have shown an interest in all things which have been good for the lead belt and all the territory they serve. Whenever called upon to give time over their Radio Station in promoting many enterprises which have been for the public good, they came through with flying colors. Many times they have raised money for families who have been burned out and for children and adults who need blood to save their life. This year they donated two hours and 15 minutes of radio time to help save the Red Cross Services in St. Francois County. Pledges of $1300.00 was made by the listening audience. When called upon to help Clifford Henderson, Bismarck, who after losing one eye due to cancer and was in danger of losing the other, they raised close to $3000.00 on the air enabling the child to be sent to Presbyterian Hospital in New York. The boy now has vision in one eye. Each Christmas through the facilities of KFMO, the Lions Club raises money for their Christmas tree on the chat dump.

In 1949 they began the first Miss KFMO contest which is held each year. Area merchants join in to make this contest a big success. Each year a civic club sponsors this contest and all proceeds goes to the club.

KFMO is on the air 17 hours daily serving St. Francois and more than five surrounding counties. In January of this year they went to 1,000 watts daytime. They are a member of the National Association Broadcasters Code which stipulates that the station belonging must follow a code of programming so that they do not have more than five commercials in fifteen minutes, nine in a half hour and 18 in an hour. This is done in order to protect the listener from monotonous commercials. KFMO is the only station between Cape Girardeau and St. Louis belonging to this code.

KFMO is now an official weather bureau station receiving weather news directly from St. Louis. It is in zone 10 covering the East Ozarks including Potosi, Flat River, Farmington, Fredericktown, Cape Girardeau and other towns in this vicinity. Weather information is given every fifteen minutes.

The Collins' have attended many meetings and have met famous and influential people. Among those they have met are David Susskin, Polly Bergen, Fred Freed, Senators Symington, Dirkson, and Long, Governors Hearnes and LeRoy Collins, former governor of Florida, Congressman Paul Jones, Charlotte Peters, Vince Wasilewski, President of National Association of Broadcasters, and Mr. and Mrs. Ira Avery, writers of "Secret Storm." This year they attended the President's conference of Broadcasters.

Mr. Collins is President of Missouri Broadcasters Association, a member of the Board of Directors of Chamber of Commerce, member of the Advisory Board for Radio and TV of Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri, member of Cerebral Palsy Board, member of the Board of Directors of Mineral Area Hospital, past president of Unicity Chamber of Commerce, past president of Community Concert Association, chairman of Lions Club, Elder in Presbyterian Church of Flat River, member of Desloge Masonic Lodge, and Past member of President Eisenhowers Safety Council. His hobby is gardening and he is also a bird lover.

Mrs. Collins taught in Cape Girardeau public schools and stepped into the radio business in 1925 at KFVS, Cape Girardeau, Missouri as a pianist. In 1931 she became program director of the station and remained there until 1947. During the war years, Virginia sold more than three quarters of a million dollars worth of bonds on the air at KFVS. In 1954, the Mayor of Flat River issued a proclamation that August 15th would be "Virginia Collins Day" for the many services performed for the people of the area served by KFMO. Virginia organized the KFMO Christmas Tree Club which operates one month prior to Christmas. This is an "on the air" program which collects toys for underprivileged children in four counties. She originated the Women's Chamber of Commerce of this area and was their first president. She is a member of Radio Pioneers of America, member of Cerebral Palsy Board, and a member of Presbyterian Church of Flat River. She made speaking tours for Broadcast Music, Inc. of New York City throughout the West and Northwest, speaking to Broadcasting groups in cities designated. She was named Woman of the Year by Business and Professional Women's Club in 1962 and in 1959 was the recipient of an award from the Everready Company for the longest continuous service to the radio industry. "We at KFMO try at all times to keep uppermost in our minds that the listener is the most important person in the world. For that reason we have made it a point to not only serve our listeners, but to put ourselves in their position," stated Mrs. Collins. Her hobby is playing the organ at home.

Mr. and Mrs. Collins have a son, James D. Collins, in government work at Rock Island, Illinois. Their three grandchildren are James Allen, 10, Kristi, 6, and Sherri Gardner, who is two.

Others employed at KFMO are Gib Collins, Chief engineer, Frank Erard, News Director, Bob Vines, Clarence Briley and David Leifer.

Mr. and Mrs. Collins reside at 912 E. Chestnut, Cantwell, Mo.

Published by the LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, Wed. June 29, 1966.

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Disc Jockey Doug Berry, Circa 1984


From Flat River 50th Anniversary
Publication, 1984

    KFMO Radio signed on for the first time August 8, 1947, at 250 watts with Mr. Oscar Hersch as owner and Mr. Jim Collins as General Manager.  Presently KFMO is owned by Greater Missouri Broadcasting Incorporated, Mr. Randall Boesen, Grand Island, Neb., President, and Mr. Larry Boesen, General Manager. KFMO broadcast on 1240 AM at 1000 watts.  Mornings are directed at informational programming and the afternoon is entertainment with Adult/Contemporary music.