KFMQ Radio (Lincoln, Neb.) [RG4094.AM]


RG4094.AM: KFMQ Radio (Lincoln, Neb.)

Records: ca. 1951-1969
Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb.: Radio station
Size: 2.5 cu.ft.; 5 boxes


Herbert William Burton, born in 1916, was raised and educated on the East Coast. Following a career in retail clothing sales, he moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, in the late 1940s and worked as a buyer of boys’ wear, first for Ben Simon & Sons and then for Wells & Frost. Always interested in classical music, in 1957 he began broadcasting over Lincoln station KLMS from a studio he built in his home. In 1958, he founded KFMQ, at the time Lincoln’s only FM Station. Burton’s success with KFMQ was measured by the fact that it was consistently in the top 20% of high-earning FM stations nationwide. Burton also produced special radio programs at KFMQ, including one on “Democracy in America” which was nominated for the Broadcasting Foundation of America’s prestigious Italia Prize.

Burton and KFMQ were often at the forefront of social change. His radio series on Nebraska’s mental hospitals in 1965 generated much public debate and became a catalyst for change. Burton himself was socially active: he was president of B’nai B’rith, a member of the local NAACP board, vice-president of the Lancaster County Mental Health Association, a member of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association and Governor Morrison’s Council For Nebraska’s Cultural Resources, and a candidate for the Unicameral in 1958. In 1964 he purchased and restructured radio station KNDR in Des Moines, Iowa, into KFMQ’s sister station, KFMG. He sold KFMG in 1965 and KFMQ in 1966, and opened a harpsichord manufacturing company in Lincoln. By the late 1960s he had left Nebraska for other opportunities. He and his wife, Edith, had two children, Charles and Elizabeth.


This collection is arranged in the following way:

Subgroup 1: KFMQ Radio, Lincoln, Nebraska, ca. 1951-1967
Series 1 – Correspondence, 1955-1967, n.d.
Series 2 – Administrative & Financial Records, ca. 1958-1965
Series 3 – Program records, ca. 1958-1965
Series 4 – Marketing & Publicity Records, ca. 1951-1964
Series 5 – FM Radio Industry Literature, ca. 1955-1961

Subgroup 2: KFMG/KNDR Radio, Des Moines, Iowa, ca. 1960-1966
Series 1 – Correspondence, 1960-1965, n.d.
Series 2 – Operating Records, ca. 1960-1966

Subgroup 3: Herbert Burton papers, ca. 1954-1969

The bulk of the materials in this collection relate to Herbert Burton’s establishment and operation of radio station KFMQ, Lincoln’s only FM or classical music station at the time. This was during a time when FM broadcasting was still in its infancy. The records reflect the operation of such a business, and yield much information on subjects on which Burton produced special radio programs, notably the Consumers Public Power District and Nebraska State mental hospitals.

The collection also contains records of Des Moines, Iowa, radio station KFMG, which Burton purchased in 1964, and some of Burton’s own personal papers which reflect his business sense and social activities. As Burton was the driving force behind KFMQ, however, the records of that station also do much to reflect his personality and interests.

See also RG4094.PH for photographs and RG4094.AU for audio recordings.


Subgroup 1: KFMQ Radio, Lincoln, Nebraska, ca. 1951-1967
Series 1 – Correspondence, 1955-1967, n.d.

Box 1

  1. Undated
  2. 1955-1957
  3. 1958
  4. 1959
  5. 1960
  6. 1961
  7. 1962
  8. 1963
  9. 1964
  10. 1965
  11. 1966-1967

Series 2 – Administrative & Financial Records, ca. 1958-1965

Box 2

  1. Financial reports, 1958-1966
  2. Invoices & agreements, ca. 1959-1965
  3. Equipment documentation, ca. 1958-1965
  4. Inventories
  5. Engineering data, 1965
  6. Personnel records, 1962-1965
  7. Procedures for staff
  8. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) documentation, 1958-1965
  9. Floor plan (See OB033)
  10. Contract for sale of KFMQ, 1965
  11. File on Leon Lishner recording

Series 3 – Program records, ca. 1958-1965

Box 2

  1. Program logs, 1958-1964
  2. Advertising copy
  3. Promotional copy
  4. Editorial copy
  5. Miscellaneous program copy

Box 3

  1. Miscellaneous program records
  2. Consumers Public Power District research file, ca. 1963
  3. Mental Health Facilities research file, ca. 1964-1965
  4. Mental Health Facilities correspondence, ca. 1965

Series 4 – Marketing & Publicity Records, ca. 1951-1964

Box 3

  1. Press releases, ca. 1960-1965
  2. Clippings, ca. 1958-1965
  3. Printed advertisements & promotions
  4. Sales records & client lists
  5. Miscellaneous marketing records, ca. 1951-1961

Series 5 – FM Radio Industry Literature, ca. 1955-1961

Box 4

  1. Literature, ca. 1955-1961
  2. Map of FM coverage, 1957 (see oversize)

Subgroup 2: KFMG/KNDR Radio, Des Moines, Iowa, ca. 1960-1966
Series 1 – Correspondence, 1960-1965, n.d.

Box 4

  1. Undated
  2. 1960-1961
  3. 1962
  4. 1963
  5. 1964
  6. 1965

Series 2 – Operating Records, ca. 1960-1966

Box 4

  1. Articles of incorporation, proposed corporate structure, ca. 1963
  2. General background
  3. Financial reports, ca. 1961-1964
  4. Stockholders data, ca. 1961
  5. Stock certificates, 1962
  6. Invoices & agreements, ca. 1960-1966
  7. Lease documents, ca. 1961-1965
  8. Equipment documentation, ca. 1961-1964
  9. Engineering data, ca. 1961-1964
  10. Personnel records, 1962
  11. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) documentation, ca. 1961-1965
  12. Floor plans
  13. Roof plans (see oversize)
  14. Programming schedules, 1961
  15. Program copy
  16. Marketing information
  17. Clippings, news releases, publicity

Subgroup 3: Herbert Burton papers, ca. 1954-1969

Box 5

  1. Correspondence, 1954, 1959-1966, n.d.
  2. Tax records, 1958-1965
  3. Financial statements, 1959-1963
  4. Biographical data
  5. Clippings & articles, ca. 1958-1969
  6. Legislative campaign material, 1960
  7. Court case: Burton vs. KFMQ, 1967
  8. B’nai B’rith, ca. 1955
  9. Lancaster County Association for Mental Health, ca. 1964-1966
  10. Nebraska Broadcasters Association, ca. 1961-1963
  11. Broadcasting Foundation of America – Italia prize, 1958
  12. Council for Nebraska’s Cultural Resources, 1961-1965

Subject headings:

Broadcasting Foundation of America
Burton, Herbert William, 1916-1972
B’nai B’rith (Lincoln, Neb.)
Consumers Public Power District (Neb.)
Council for Nebraska’s Cultural Resources
Health care
KFMG Radio (Des Moines, Iowa)
KFMQ Radio (Lincoln, Neb.)
KNDR Radio (Des Moines, Iowa)
Lancaster County Association for Mental Health (Lancaster County, Neb.)
Mental health
Nebraska Broadcasters Association
Political campaigns

Revised 10-04-2007 TMM

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