Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Richard W. Lee


This thesis follows Verl Thomson's 65 years in broadcasting in a generally chronological order. The significant contributions Thomson has made to the broadcast industry, especially in South Dakota, are examined. He pioneered in programming techniques and believes he developed the first radio station (in 1948) with completely recorded and pre-recorded programming, except for live news reporting. He was among the first to take broadcasts out of the studio for "man on the street" and "service club" interviews, to cover breaking stories from the scene and to broadcast from movie theatres and the screen. His earliest innovation was in 1924 when he played records on phone request, which was the earliest form of a disc jockey. There are no detailed accounts of Verl Thomson's life although he has been the subject of various feature stories in magazine publications and newspapers and was included in a videotape produced by University of South Dakota student Kim Jacobs titled "Broadcasting on the Prairie: South .Dakota's Radio and Television Pioneers." Radio and television segments also have dealt with Thomson 's contributions to the broadcasting industry as well as his work with it. Research for this paper was collected through a series of personal interviews with Thomson from 1981 to 1987. It also included extensive interviews with Thomson 's contemporaries. This thesis is an attempt to provide readers with a better understanding of how this radio broadcasting pioneer has influenced broadcasting in South Dakota.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Thomas, Verl, 1906 -- Biography

Broadcasters -- South Dakota -- Biology



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University