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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

GLASS, Betty "Betty Thomas"

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Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald online
GLASS, Betty "Betty Thomas" (Dubuque, IA, Oct. 13, 1928--Dubuque, IA, Feb. 15, 2012). Glass became one of Dubuque's favorite RADIO call-in hosts with over twenty years of broadcast experience and thousands of "Cracker Barrel" programs. She began her radio career with her first husband, William Nankival, whom she helped with tasks in the studio. When it was discovered that he was going blind, Glass mastered the control board after work. Using special earphones, she read all news material to her husband who then learned to almost simultaneously repeat what he had heard.

After the death of her husband in 1966, Glass was asked to fill-in on KDTH's "Cracker Barrel" which had been started by her husband. Her previous broadcast experience had been on WDBQ with "Cook's Corner," a five-minute program that lasted five years. Glass was then one of very few women in Iowa to have their own radio program. In 1970 Glass published her own cookbook, The Betty Thomas Cookbook, which sold more than one hundred thousand copies. She married Theodore GLASS, employed with Iowa Engineering, in 1971.

In August 1985, Glass announced her retirement after nineteen years as host of the popular KDTH program. She would, it was announced, continue distributing her newsletter to an estimated 2,500 fans each month in twenty-one states.

On October 9, 1986, Glass announced she had ended her retirement and would return to the "Cracker Barrel" on October 16th with more household hints, recipes and advice. She eventually retired in 1998.

Cracker Barrel newsletter. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

In 2002 Betty was inducted into the Iowa Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.