Bower Returns to KICD, NAFB

If you were confused when you read George Bower (KICD, Spencer, Iowa) is a new NAFB member, you’re not alone. He left broadcasting for 10 months, but now he’s back.

After eight years as the morning show host on KICD-AM in Spencer, Bower took over the station’s legendary farm department in 2015 when long-time Farm Director Dan Skelton retired from radio.

“My goal back then was to make farm information meaningful and entertaining for the non-farm audience,” Bower said. “It’s very heartening when listeners tell me ‘I never paid attention to the farm news before, but now I listen every day.’”

Bower served as the public-relations director at a local bank for 10 months, but he stayed in contact with his friends at KICD.

“They kept asking – jokingly – if I was ready to come back. One day I finally said, ‘Yes.’”

Bower returned October 25, 2019, in the newly created position of information director in charge of both farm and news programming.

“I’ve come full-circle,” he said. “My first job in 1985 was as a nighttime DJ, but I quickly elbowed my way into the news department where my real passion was.”

From there, he did news 10 years and the morning show at KUOO in Spirit Lake 12 years, and he went to KICD in 2007. He did the morning show for eight years, then went to farm in 2015.

Bower says General Manager Dave Putnam and Saga Communications is why he came back.

“This is the place to be,” Bower added. “Saga respects their employees. They respect the listener and give us the tools to create solid, local content. We’re lucky to have good broadcasters already on staff here in Spencer. They know what a story is and have the ability to deliver it on the air in a way that has an impact.”

KICD also remains committed to reporting live from the big events: Commodity Classic, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, World Pork Expo, Washington Watch, Trade Talk, and all Iowa commodity group meetings. Bower said the listeners notice.

“They constantly tell us, ‘You guys are everywhere,’ and furthermore say, ‘You make us feel like we’re there with you.’”

Bower has taken that “live” philosophy to the news department where he’s already instituted three major changes.

“First, we’re leaving the building more. If there’s a big story, we’re there, with a live report if possible.”

Second, Bower has stripped away the barrier between the farm and news departments.

“I consider us one team, and we are now helping each other get the big stories covered. Third, we are creating an experience for the listener.”

On his first day back, Bower asked the news and farm staff what their jobs were. “

They pretty much said, ‘reporters.’ I said, ‘You’re not wrong, but from now on I want you to think of yourselves as storytellers.’”

The rest of the information team at KICD AM/FM includes:  Farm Reporter Gina Cerrentano; News Reporters Corey Harguth and Matt McWilliams; and Sports Director Mark Magnuson.