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Bob Lind, Published October 18 2010

Lind: A ‘resonant’ voice from radio’s past

Dave Henley was another popular local radio voice of the past.

Dave was with WDAY and KFGO in Fargo for years before joining KNOX, KRAD and KILO in Grand Forks. He died in 1979 at age 78.

Radio talk shows are big now, but they aren’t new. Dave teamed with the late Manny Marget on such a show, called “Dave and Manny,” for WDAY in 1929-30.

Roy Pedersen, former WDAY promotion manager, says Dave and Manny did song-and-patter shows and made hundreds of appearances throughout the Upper Midwest. Dave also hosted a “Man on the Street” show for WDAY in the early 1930s.

Roy, in a tribute to Dave he wrote years ago, said he was “a man with a precise delivery, a deliberate and resonant voice and a chuckle that smiled its way into your heart.”

Roy said Dave was “indispensable” to WDAY.

“Need encouragement? Go to Dave,” Roy said. “Need help with pronunciation? Go to Dave. Need interpretation? Go to Dave. Need a five until payday? Go to Dave.”

Dave once got Roy a job. Roy had left WDAY to enlist in the Army in 1941 but was rejected due to poor eyes. When he tried to return to the station, he had been replaced.

But Dave called the manager of KILO and gave him a pitch about Roy. Dave was so effective the station hired Roy for $125 a month, “a huge announcing salary in those days,” Roy says, even though he would have gladly worked for $75 a month because “I wasn’t quite as good as Dave had painted me out to be.”

Dave left WDAY in 1947 to help establish KFGO and was its program director before moving to Grand Forks.

His wife, Lenore Herbst, also worked at WDAY, serving as a pianist and singer.

And more voices

Jim Hetland of Pelican Rapids, Minn., writes of other WDAY personnel. Among them: His wife, Marilyn, who was the station’s radio traffic manager and national sales secretary for Bill Burn from the 1960s into the 1980s. Jim ran the controls for many of Bill’s news broadcasts.

Jim also speaks of former WDAY personalities Don Dresser, Earl Williams, Marv Bossart and Boyd Christensen.

And the late Bill Snyder, who, Jim says, was “a treasure chest of stories and information about the ‘old days’ of film, radio and TV. He never let me forget it was my father (Julius Hetland, WDAY’s technical engineer) who hired him at WDAY-TV in the early ’50s as film director.

“This was just before WDAY-TV went on the air and before network TV,” Jim writes, “so most programs were either film or live.”

There you have more memories of some of the local folks from the “grand old days” of radio-TV.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com