The administrator of the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting collection credits Ronald Reagan’s radio days in Iowa for being the springboard into politics and fame. Wartburg College professor Jeff Stein says “Dutch” Reagan’s days broadcasting University of Iowa football and ticker-tape re-creations of Chicago Cubs games prepared him to be the nation’s “Great Communicator”.Stein says Reagan crafted his political legacy by perfecting his delivery in speeches, including when he asked then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, one which Reagan’s advisors told him could trigger nuclear war. Stein said it didn’t matter whether the policy was right, it was a symbol that we had a leader who was in charge. He says whether or not you agreed with Reagan, he knew what he wanted to do, and how to convey the message to all of us.Stein says Reagan knew how to present himself at press events to try to show he was the common man serving his country. Stein recalls Reagan’s trip to a farm in eastern Iowa in 1984 which helped sell his policies to Iowans. He says the cameras were set up to show the backdrop. Reagan walked through the buffet line and was shown eating so we could see he was a regular guy. For an overview on Reagan’s Iowa broadcasting days, you can visit the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting collection’s website at “www.wartburg.edu/ca/stein/reagan.htm”.
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