The Challenge

Page 2, "The Challenge," from "In the Public Interest"

Page 2, "The Challenge"

In June of 1946, 14 cases of poliomyelitis were reported in the Twin Cities. Nothing very striking about that.

But early in July, health authorities declared that polio was epidemic in the state. Twin City hospitals were jammed, not only with local patients but with those from all corners of Minnesota. Drastic measures were necessary.

On July 30, city officials publicly urged parents to keep their children at home, away from the danger of crowds. Theaters, playgrounds, even churches were closed to youngsters. Newspapers and radio stations joined heartily in the campaign to keep children from centers of infection. 

KUOM Program Log, July 31, 1946

KUOM Program Log, July 31, 1946

But such urging wasn’t enough. In summer, children aren’t used to playing in their own backyards. Frantic parents pleaded for help in providing home activity and amusements for pent-up youngsters.

On the morning of July 31, a columnist in the Minneapolis Tribune - George Grim, himself a radio figure - proposed that radio might provide the answer, the means of keeping children happy at home. 

At 8:30 that same morning, KUOM rolled up its sleeves for the biggest public service effort in its quarter-century history. When its broadcast day opened, it was with the first of its special programs for children-at-home.

Newspaper Clipping, "An Idea Is Born to Fight Polio," from the I Like It Here column by George Grim

Newspaper Clipping, "An Idea Is Born to Fight Polio," from the I Like It Here column by George Grim

The Challenge