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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

Carpenter, James D. (Anderson, IN, Jan. 2, 1902--Miami, FL, Apr. 29, 1962). In March 1936, Carpenter resigned his position as sales manager of the Radio Transcription Company of America to become as associate of Walter E. KLAUER as general manager of WKBB in Dubuque. Active in the programming of the station, he announced sports, play-by-play broadcasts for fun, and hosted the program "Music for Reading" sponsored by INTERSTATE POWER COMPANY, Monday through Friday, for years.

Carpenter was instrumental in bringing to Dubuque its first frequency-modulation (FM) station. On March 15, 1952, WKBB, among the oldest call letters in the Midwest, were changed to WDBQ. WKBB, originally licensed in Joliet, Illinois in the mid-1920s had been moved to Dubuque in 1933. A companion FM station had been constructed in 1947 and assigned the call letters WDBQ. With the same operating schedule, eighteen hours daily, the two staation were identified as WKBB-WDBQ. The two stations on March 15th became WDBQ and WDBQ-FM. (1)

Carpenter served in many community organizations including the boards of directors of the YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (Y.M.C.A.), Dubuque Safety Council and was chairman of the Dubuque Chest and the UNIVERSITY OF DUBUQUE drive. In 1945 he was the county chairman of the Victory War Loan Drive. (2) He was elected president of the Dubuque County chapter of the American Red Cross in 1946. (3) Carpenter had a long history of service to the Kiwanis Club beginning with his election as president of the local club in 1943. (4) In 1948, Carpenter was elected governor of the Illinois-Eastern Iowa District of the Kiwanis Club. (5) At the end of that year, Carpenter was awarded the "Doctor of Kiwanis," an honorary degree for the "inspiration and guidance he had given Kiwanis clubs. (6)



1. "WKBB Changes Letters to WDBQ on Saturday," Telegraph-Herald, March 13, 1952, p. 3

1. "Good Start in Victory Drive," Telegraph-Herald, November 8, 1945, p. 5

2. "Harney Named Chapter Head," Telegraph-Herald, January 30, 1947, p. 20

3. "Install New Kiwanis Head," Telegraph-Herald, January 5, 1943, p. 19

4. "Kiwanis Holds Meeting for Ex-Governors," Telegraph-Herald, July 27, 1953, p. 7

5. "Kiwanis Honor to Carpenter," Telegraph-Herald, November 23, 1948, p. 7