It's Transition Time for Van. Here's a Note he Sent to His WHO Radio Staff
After the honor of nearly 30 years of being here at WHO, I have decided to retire from the administrative side of my duties as Program Director, while continuing to do the morning show. Joel and I have talked about this for a long time, and I’m honored the company wants me to continue doing mornings.
The company has asked me to be a part of picking a new program director, and you may soon see, or hear about, ads in trade magazines. There is no time line other than, when we find the best person, that person will be hired, but the search has begun.
In watching other retirements, I always thought it was a little hokey when the person talked about family and grandchildren. But with 5 grandkids now, and another one the way, I now get it.
I’d be happy to speak to any of you about any of this. As always, my door is open.
Author, Inventor, Teacher, Radio Personality
Van grew up in Adel, Iowa, just outside Des Moines. Being an only child, his parents reported he was an extremely creative and inventive child. Kindergarten through 12th grade he walked across the street to school every day. He attended Drake University in Des Moines where he received a B.A. in Radio TV journalism in 1973.
Radio has always been a passion for Van, spending a lot of time tuning and listening as a youngster. In 1971 Van got his first radio job at KDLS FM in Perry, Iowa, and after graduating from Drake, was named Program Director at the station. In 1974 he became the morning air personality at KWEN in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he stayed for a year before returning to Iowa.
In 1975 Van became an air personality at KRNT Radio in Des Moines, where he spent a total of 10 years, with a two year break in between when he worked for the American Lung Association of Iowa as Development and Public Relations Director.
In 1986 Van moved across town to host the morning show on 50 thousand watt WHO Radio. In 1987 he was also named Program Director. After joining the station, WHO's morning show quickly became the most listened to radio program in the state of Iowa.
In 1991 Van began hosting a daily television program on WHO TV. That local variety show aired for four years.
While continuing to work at WHO, in late 1991, Van and a business partner bought KLSN FM Radio in Jefferson, Iowa, which they owned for two years, then sold.
Under Van's leadership WHO Radio has won thirteen national Marconi awards from the National Association of Broadcasters, five of which were awarded to him personally as medium market personality.
In 2004, Van invented the DayTeller® timepiece, and the Van Harden Cheese Crust Pizza. In 2013, Van published his first book, Life in the Purple Wedge.
Van and his wife Denise have three grown children, five grandchildren and live in his childhood home in Iowa.