CLASS OF 1989
Gene Huse was a publisher, pioneer radio station owner, engineer, mechanic, program innovator, and a strong advocate of truth in news.
Huse took over as publisher of the family-owned Norfolk Daily News in 1915. He was already experimenting in his basement radio lab building crystal sets, and soon, transmitters. He studied for an operator’s license and then was able to license Nebraska’s second radio station in 1922.
WJAG Norfolk signed on from a single room in the newspaper building before being moved to the Hotel Norfolk downtown several years later. The station and the Norfolk Daily News became important parts of the community and the region. Huse firmly believed radio would supplement his newspaper in providing news and information. Just weeks after signing on, he proudly claimed to be “the first Noon News broadcaster in the Midwest.” He also used the newspaper to promote programming on the radio station.
WJAG in the 1940s was a factor in allowing KFAB to move from Lincoln to Omaha and increase its power to 50 thousand watts. It involved a frequency exchange, a plan financed by CBS Radio for KFAB’s upgrade. The network paid WJAG for a new tower and building at a site three and a half miles west of town.
Huse is in the Nebraska Press Association Hall of Fame. He continued his community leadership through both print and broadcast until his death in 1961. WJAG stayed in the Huse family for nearly 80 years, until sold