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Foster May


Foster May was an aggressive, controversial figure in Nebraska, considered a radio phenomenon at the time. He set the pattern for local radio news coverage during the 1930s and 40s, its formative period. Clearly a workaholic, he at one time handled all newscasts from 6 a.m. to midnight before the days of leased press wires.

The outgoing May started out as a traveling salesman and was with several newspapers including the Omaha Bee-News in the early 1930s. He got into radio by walking into the offices of Central States Broadcasting in Lincoln with a brash attitude soon becoming a one-man news staff for KFOR and KFAB in Lincoln.

He moved to WOW Omaha in 1935 where his noontime Man on the Street interview program was broadcast from downtown. The traditional introduction for his program was “Take it away, Foster May.”

May exhaustively chased news stories. He was known as the sort of fellow who “just happens to be there when news breaks.” He once interviewed a bank robber he accidentally came across while covering the manhunt.

Foster May at the height of his popularity made a bid for a US Senate seat in 1942. He ran an energetic campaign but lost the race. Afterward in 1944, May freelanced in radio news, went to Europe as a radio war correspondent for NBC, then to Los Angeles as a news supervisor for the American Broadcasting Company.

Foster May died in San Diego, California in 1952.

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