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Sunday, May 1, 2016

40-year radio host calls it a career

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

After 40 years behind the mic, a familiar voice in northwest Iowa broadcasting is calling it a career.

Randy Renshaw, a Storm Lake native, has signed off his last broadcast of the popular "KSCJ's Open Line With Randy Renshaw" talk show in front of a crowd of family and fans at Charlie's American Grill in Sioux City.

Renshaw grew up in Storm Lake as a fan of radio entertainment, and started working at KAYL part time the same year he graduated from Storm Lake High School in 1969. He played both reporter and deejay early on - "I was a little rock n roller," he says. After attending Iowa Central Community College and Buena Vista University, he made the job full-time. After several years at KAYL he was offered a job as news director for a station in Algona where he stayed for 11 years, then spent four years at KSCJ before getting his big break - as news director for a famous all-news station out of St. Louis, and later, a metro gig on the San Diego airwaves.

Later in his career he became homesick for his northwest Iowa roots and returned to the Sioux City station in 1993.

He has been news director ever since and has hosted thousands of his daily "Open Line" shows, rising at 2 a.m. every weekday to prepare for his show.

He said broadcasting remained fresh for him because, "It's different every day. There's not two days that were the same, ever. And that's why I enjoyed it so much."

He said he was always surprised by the creativity and passion of his callers expressing their ideas. The grief expressed on the air in the aftermath of the 9-11 tragedies stands as one of the most memorable times in his broadcasting career.

He was also known for his staunchly conservative politics, a trait he says he picked up from his father Jack and his uncle, partners in a plumbing business in Storm Lake known for their spirited debate of the issues.

A KCAU report noted that fans came from all over for Randy's last broadcast - including a blind listener from Sioux Falls who was able to tune in the show every day on a special radio.

"I have listened to Randy for 25 years, the kind good heart that he has and everything...it's just I need to be here because this is a time for me to show my appreciation," said Bob Riibe.

Fans said Renshaw's show always allowed them to speak their mind - and wasn't afraid to take on local government.

Renshaw has three children and three grandchildren to address in his retirement, and plans to exercise his passions for travel, boating and perhaps even take lessons in guitar and painting, but radio silence isn't likely, either. He plans to fill in as host of "Open Line" when needed.



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