A legendary northeast Iowa radio broadcaster has died. Dick Petrik who spent his entire 41-year career at KOEL AM in Oelwein, died Wednesday evening after a long illness.
Petrik took the job as KOEL’s first news director in April of 1952, nearly two years after the station went on the air. Petrik helped build KOEL into one of the best small-market radio stations in the country. He held the record for longest tenure of any news director in the nation.
In 1972, he was the first recipient of the Jack Shelley award, the highest honor given annually by the Iowa Broacast News Association for outstanding contributions to professional broadcast journalism in Iowa. The IBNA later named another award in Petrik’s honor. The “Dick Petrik outstanding student award” is given annually to a college student whose work shows outstanding potential for a career in electronic media journalism.
Petrik retired from KOEL in 1992, but stayed with the station part-time another year. Petrik, whowas 76, is survived by his wife and five children.