History Nebraska Blog

A Modern "Mary Moore"

"Mary Moore" (Maude Werner), left, speaks with Pat McMahon. Courtesy of Roberta Nicholes.

The following is an excerpt from the Summer 2019 issue of Nebraska History MagazineHistory Nebraska's quarterly magazine that explores Nebraska's history and culture through original articles. This particular excerpt takes a look at a more modern version of the homemaker programs that were popular in the mid-20th century:

From 1992 to 2018, Cathy Blythe hosted Problems & Solutions on Lincoln’s KFOR and affiliate stations in the Midwest. She is a member of Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame and a two time Marconi Award winner from the National Association of Broadcasters. We asked her to provide a modern perspective on how a program similar to Mary Moore’s evolved in recent years:

Over the twenty-six years I hosted Problems & Solutions on KFOR and affiliate stations in the Midwest, one of the nicest compliments I could receive was when older listeners compared it to the “homemaker shows” of days gone by on radio stations in mid-America.

While a good number of topics covered on P & S were geared toward women, we had an impressive number of men who listened as well. If it wasn’t a topic that was directly aimed at them, they still strived to better understand the women in their lives. Cooking was a focus of Mary Moore on WJAG and other similar shows. Cookbook authors were always a popular favorite on my show and as the years went by, it evolved that many men were just as interested as women in recipes and cooking techniques. It was such a popular topic that we produced forty-two cookbooks and hint books with submissions from our listeners.

I wish I could have met the two Mary Moore hosts (Edith Hansen and Maude Werner) and some of the other notable female broadcasters listed in the article. I was fortunate to personally know Billie Oakley and also Hazel Stebbins (KFOR Women’s Director and show host from 1953 to the mid-1970s). Both Billie and Hazel were very popular and drew huge crowds whenever they appeared at a live event.

Our show aired from 1992 to 2018. It started as listeners helping listeners on air with small problems on KFOR-Lincoln. In 1996, we went to five days a week and added in guest experts to answer listener questions, and from there also added authors of books with timely topics to the mix. Our show also aired on affiliate stations in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.  

We had our own website pretty early on and were ahead of the curve in offering podcasts to our listeners, in addition to a Facebook page. I think we always had the just-right balance of being current and yet never losing sight that we are here to serve in the public interest, and that listeners of all ages—both men and women—appreciate having information they can use to make their lives better.

- Cathy Blythe

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