The Communications Industry
Newspaper, magazine, telephone, radio, television, Internet and videoconferencing enterprises have all played a role in keeping Iowans informed. Newspapers were early forms of communication as most small and large towns in the state had at least one paper. They were the main sources of information about national and international news, local politics and gossip. Newspapers such as the Des Moines Register, Cedar Rapids Gazette and Quad-City Times have earned awards for their reporting, editorials and even cartoons.
Wallaces’ Farmer began publication in 1895 Des Moines and remains a major farm magazine. Meredith Publishing Company, a world-renowned company, had its beginnings in Iowa in 1902. The company publishes many popular magazines distributed all over the United States.
By 1900 rural free delivery provided daily mail delivery to farms. About the same time, telephone exchanges owned by local entrepreneurs began to appear in Iowa communities and many families had telephones installed. By the 1920s, most Iowans owned radios, and locally owned or operated radio stations began to appear on the business scene.
The state universities started radio stations WOI, KUNI and WSUI. In the 1950s, the first Iowa television station began broadcasting. In 1967 a statewide public television station was created. In the 1990s a statewide fiber optic network, the first of its kind in the nation, linked every county and most school districts in the state. Cable television, satellite television and Internet provider companies are some of the more recent contributors to Iowa's information and communication network.