Persons was a pioneer broadcaster
Earlier this month, the Brainerd area lost a longtime community proponent and one of the state’s broadcasting pioneers — June Persons.
Persons, along with her husband, Charlie, started and owned KVBR radio for many years. The small AM station on Laurel Street offered an ambitious lineup of local programming while retaining an endearing “ma and pa” atmosphere.
In addition to her managerial duties June Persons was an enthusiastic on-air presence with her popular “Frills and Fancies” program. Over the years she interviewed everyone from Crow Wing County 4-H speaking contest winners to celebrities such as President Ronald Reagan, Ginger Rogers and Art Linkletter.
Persons began her broadcasting career in 1941 in Duluth, acting in a locally produced daily situation comedy called “The Woman I Love.” It was there she met her husband, Charlie. Together they built WELY radio in Ely in 1954. In 1964 they built KVBR, selling it in 1982 but buying it back in 1986. The two broadcasters retired in 1994. Both are members of the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
When she wasn’t at the radio station June Persons was active in the Heartland Symphony, Zonta Club, League of Women Voters, Nisswa Garden Club and American Women in Television.
The Persons’ broadcast days were a far cry from the restrictive cookie cutter formats found in many markets today. What came through the airwaves was their personality and their love for the Brainerd lakes area. She was a powerful presence who will be missed in this community.