Iowa State University
Rick Lewis, WOI Radio, (515) 294-9478
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- Live musical events, documentaries and a barbecue for an entire small town will highlight Iowa Week, WOI Radio's celebration of the state's sesquicentennial.

"We're crafting an immense audio portrait of Iowa in the summer of its 150th year," said Rick Lewis, WOI general manager. "We've never done anything on this scale in our 75 years on the air. We've planned programs about and from communities throughout the state, including live events -- some of them pretty spectacular."

Iowa Week specials will be broadcast on WOI AM 640 and WOI FM 90.1 Aug. 25-Sept. 2. Some of the state's best known broadcasters will participate.

Documentaries aired during Iowa Week will showcase multiple facets of Iowa life. Subjects include the history of Lincoln Highway, a cultural study of Iowa signs, county fairs, a day in the life of a county courthouse and the popcorn industry. Iowa businessman Ralph Green -- who was born when Iowa was just 53-years-old -- describes growing up in northwest Iowa at the beginning of the century.

The 9-day Iowa Week also will feature a roundtable discussion with business leaders on the state's economic outlook. The discussion will be broadcast live from the Embassy Club in Des Moines. Iowa Week will include the third installment of "The Voters of Madison County," WOI's on-going election year feature.

The Smithsonian's American Folklife Festival on the Iowa capitol grounds will kick off Iowa Week on Sunday, Aug. 25. The event will be broadcast live on WOI Radio, with longtime KCCI-TV personality Mary Brubaker as one of the hosts. Doug Brown, host of WOI's popular and long-running "Book Club," will do readings at several locations during the week and will appear on "Live from Prairie Lights" from Iowa City.

Live music will be a significant part of Iowa Week. WOI will broadcast live concerts by Iowa musical groups from various locations around the state, including the Des Moines Big Band one night in the WOI studios. Other groups and locations will be announced throughout the summer, Lewis said.

All of WOI's regular programming during Iowa Week will have a sesquicentennial spin, with guests examining Iowa's past, present and future, said Lewis. One scheduled guest, KIOA radio personality Dic Youngs, will talk about Iowa's ballrooms and dance halls in the rock and rolls years. Another, longtime WHO broadcaster and Iowa State University professor emeritus Jack Shelley, will talk about Iowa broadcasting during the war years. Both will be among those appearing with WOI's Don Forsling on "The Talk of Iowa."

Iowa Week will culminate with a barbecue and concert for an entire small town, said Lewis. The location of the barbecue will be revealed later in the summer, and this rural equivalent of a block party will be broadcast live via satellite.

During the course of the summer, WOI will feature Iowa trivia contests, drawings for Iowa-related prizes and other special programming leading up to Iowa Week.

WOI has purchased new equipment to make Iowa Week's live remote broadcasts possible. The new equipment will enable WOI to do more live events from around the state in the future, said Lewis. Iowa Week could become an annual event, said Lewis.