Radio station KMA out of Shenandoah, Iowa has an interesting history which
saw many country music stars come and go over the years. Before the Cornbelt
Jamboree show, there was the KMA Country School, which began back in 1928,
was discontinued for a while, then came back in the late 1940s.
The Cornbelt Jamboree was a live Saturday night show that originated
from the City Auditorium in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The show ran for 90
minutes. KMA would broadcast the show "live" from 9:30pm to 10:00pm,
while the auditorium audience was treated to a 60 minute show prior
to the broadcast portion.
The KMA Guide of December 1946 tells us that the show had a variety
of entertainment for the audience, including "...comedy, music, song,
and down-to-earth entertainment that pleases old and young alike."
Some of the cast member names that might sound familiar to music fans
include Ike Everly, father of Phil and Don, the Everly Brothers. In fact,
Donnie was a part of the cast photo you see here from 1946. Zeke Williams
another long time performer of that era was also there. Comedy was done
by a fellow by the name of Elmer Axelbender who's real name was Fred Warren.
The emcees for the 90 minute gathering of entertainment were Lou Black
and Steve Wooden, each entertainers in their own right, too. During the
show, each performer had their own feature segment.
Today's music fans might be amazed at the admission charges for the show.
KMA charged 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children to attend
the Cornbelt Jamboree shows.
However, it appears that the show had a very short run over KMA as the KMA
Guides show it in their programming lists in November and December 1946,
but by January 1947, the time slot was being taken over by the WFIL Hayloft
Hoedown that was out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The West Sisters
Hartwell (Harpo) Richardson