YANKTON, S.D. (KELO) — He’s been the voice of WNAX for nearly five decades. But now 70 year old Jerry Oster has made the decision to retire.
“570 WNAX News I’m Jerry Oster….”
It’s the familiar voice radio listeners of WNAX have grown accustomed to hearing almost every morning.
After nearly five decades of broadcasting, Jerry Oster is going to retire next month.
“Because it’s time, it’ll be 49 years in radio when I get to June 1st it’s probably enough,” Oster said.
But why not stick it out one more year and make it an even 50? Oster says it’s pretty simple.
“Time to spend time with my wife, who is also retiring and do stuff we want to do on our own time,” Oster said.
WNAX in Yankton has a lot of history of its own.
The radio station, that goes by ‘Your Big Friend in the Midwest’ has a coverage area of five states and is celebrating 100 years of broadcasting.
Oster is the third news director the station has ever had.
“I’ve been here since I was 23, so spent most of my life here and it’s been good, it’s been as you know an interesting business to be in; a lot of interesting stories and a lot of interesting people and great listeners is the reason I’ve stayed so long,” Oster said.
In his 49 years of broadcasting the news, Oster has covered some of the state’s biggest stories.
“Probably one of the worst and memorable and unfortunately was the George Mickelson plane crash that affected all of us terribly, emotional story to cover,” Oster said.
He also talks about covering the Sioux City plane crash.
“In fact we had a guy on his way to Chicago to watch the Cubs and he calls me from Sioux City I said go to the airport, so we had one of the first out of state reporters inside the airport and he grabbed the pay phone there and he was on with us most of that afternoon,” Oster said.
As far as his legacy, Oster says he kind of models it after former SDSU football coach John Stigelmeier.
“I’ve known him since he started coaching before he was head coach, he talked about his MAD book, Make A Difference, and that’s what I’ve tried to live up to and what he has done and it’s worked pretty well for him so if you can make a difference and at the end of your day or end of your career I think that’s a pretty good legacy that’s what I’d like to think,” Oster said.
Oster says the radio business has changed a lot over the years.
“The technical changes going from records to tape to digital, I mean we haven’t put a CD or tape or record on the air for 25 years probably it’s all digital the editing part of it is wonderful, I’d never go back to tape,” Oster said.
The one thing he says that hasn’t changed over the years are the loyal listeners, who often refer to Oster as the voice of WNAX.
“I hear that and I appreciate that and just trying to do something for them make a difference for somebody brighten their day and tell people you’re ok, the sun’s going to come up and it’s going to be ok I hear from listeners a lot and I appreciate that over the years,” Oster said.
Listeners who have been loyal to a newsman who will deliver his last newscasts in a few weeks when he’ll turn off his mic and set his headphones down one last time.
Oster’s last day will be June 1st. The radio station is going to be throwing him a farewell and celebration party on that day.