CLASS OF 1984
During his varied career, Arden E. Swisher was a musician, newspaper columnist, and broadcaster. He was responsible for the syndication of “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” TV series while vice president of advertising at the company, a job that brought him face-to-face with such celebrities as Lawrence Welk and Johnny Carson.
A trumpet player who formed his own band while at the University of South Dakota, Swisher soon wrote music and toured with the Tommy Tucker Orchestra. Tired of touring he settled down in Rapid City becoming a columnist for the newspaper.
He entered radio in about 1940, spending 10 years with Cowles Broadcasting, much of it at WNAX Yankton, South Dakota. From there he joined KOIL Omaha in 1950 as sales manager, working his way up to general manager by the time the station was sold to the Nebraska Rural Radio Association in 1952.
The following year he went to KMTV channel 3 as sales manager. There he promoted color telecasting which brought KMTV national recognition. Swisher also helped push national spot television into a competitive position as a primary advertising medium in the 1950s and devised the coded rate card, which became a standard. Additionally, he developed one of the first color-TV rate cards.
Swisher was the National Association of Broadcasters president in 1961 and 1962. He was a National Association of Broadcasters committee member and served two terms on the Television Bureau of Advertising national board of directors.
His next stop was Mutual of Omaha as vice president of advertising. In 1971 with his broadcast acumen, he was responsible for placing “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” into syndication on more than 220 television stations in the U.S. and Canada.
Mr. Swisher passed away in 2003.