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Bob Lind, Published February 18 2014

Neighbors: Memories of 'Captain Jim' of radio, TV fame

“Captain Jim” still has fans out there.

That’s Captain Jim Rohn of area radio/TV fame.

Many people have written in with their memories of Jim’s children’s show in the 1950s-1960s on KXJB-TV, Fargo, where he also was a weather reporter.

He moved to Alexandria in 1972 to become the weatherman for KCMT-TV. He later did news and weather on a morning show for KIKV-FM Radio and phoned in weather reports for KB101-FM.

Now, as The Forum reported in January, Jim, at age 87, has retired and moved back to Fargo.

David Vagle, general manager of KIKV/KULO, Alexandria, writes Neighbors that “Jim worked for us on radio since 1990 and people to this day would call him Captain Jim.”

David says Jim moved back to Fargo to be near family.

Mike Hergert, Grand Forks, writes that he worked with Jim on KCMT-TV from 1982 to 1985.

Jim broke into broadcasting in 1946 at KSJB Radio in Jamestown, N.D., and got into programming for children with “Cousin Jim’s Fun Club.”

Marvin Walz, West Fargo, who grew up in Jamestown, still has the birthday postcard, dated Jan. 31, 1951, which Jim sent to Marvin on his 11th birthday.

One of those remembering Jim when he was with KXJB in Fargo is Mike Lochow, Fargo, who says Jim also emceed a dance show on Saturdays. “I remember our parents dropping my sister and me at the show in West Fargo, probably in 1961, while they shopped.

“I was a big fan of ‘American Bandstand’ (the popular national TV dance show) so at the time this was the big time for a freshman from a small town in North Dakota (Courtenay). The show had a few regulars, as did American Bandstand. I recall one named Terry asking me to dance on the show.”

Sharon Ferris, Moorhead, who as an adult met her future husband, Mike, when he was a cameraman for Jim’s show, notes that Jim had a full 67 years in TV and radio.

Mary Ann Scheffler, Barnesville, Minn., writes of when Jim hosted ‘Teen Quiz” on TV.

“Two of my classmates and I appeared on the program representing Rutland (N.D.) High School; we were matched against Ryder (N.D.) High School,” Mary Ann writes.

“Our contest tied so Jim invited the six of us from the two schools back the following week. Rutland was victorious and won a phonograph for our school as one of the prizes (Teen Quiz was sponsored by the Ottertail Power Co.).

“A fun twist to this story took place in the fall of 1963 when a fellow on the Ryder team, Harley Jones, and my classmate representing Rutland, John Sundlie, ended up rooming together at the State School (now College) of Science, Wahpeton.”

Sharon Maasjo, Fargo, writes she “was surprised that no one has mentioned Jim’s Saturday night “Polka Party” on which he was Oompa Jim dressed in shorts and lederhosen suspenders.

“And it was deja vu when we were treated to hearing that great voice when we tuned into the Alexandria radio station on the way to the Twin Cities this past summer.”

Finally, this note from Koly Speer, Ulen, Minn., who started the reminiscing about Jim with her initial question about his show: “Thank you so much for finding the information on the children’s show I asked about. I thank all the people who wrote in with their memories as well.

“To add to the memories, Captain Jim showed pictures drawn by kids. I drew a picture of our house with our two cats in front, and he showed it, and I was so happy.

“As evidence by the many people who wrote in, Captain Jim touched a lot of lives.”

He sure did, Koly.

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