Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame
Growing up on the family farm, Harley Flathers loved radio, and when polio struck him shortly after high school, he turned to broadcasting and began a career that lasted more than six decades.
After attending the American Institute of the Air in Minneapolis, he signed on at KAAA Red Wing (now KCUE) as sports director and farm director in 1953. Four years later he moved to KROC Rochester, working as an announcer and director of community affairs until 1968, when he moved to KNXR FM Rochester. He returned to KROC in 1971 and stayed there until moving to his sales, promotion, and consulting position at KWEB AM/KRCH FM/KMFX FM/KNFX AM Rochester in 1981. He broadcast the public affairs program "Harley's House" live from his home, and also hosted a television program for senior citizens.
Harley came to know and understand the community from a unique perspective. His innumerable remote broadcasts — from carpet showrooms to car dealerships, from grocery stores openings to the opening of Methodist Hospital, and from the Olmsted County Fair to the Country Breakfasts on the Farm — enabled him to meet vast numbers of citizens, business leaders, farmers, doctors, and Mayo Clinic visitors. He regularly fulfilled master of ceremonies duties for Rochester Symphony Orchestra concerts, July Fourth band concerts at Silver Lake Park, dairy princess and beauty pageants, Rochester's Summer Music Project, and Rochesterfest.
His many honors included the Rochester Exchange Club's Book of Golden Deeds Award. He was named Person of the Year by the Minnesota State Council for the Handicapped, and a Good Neighbor by WCCO Radio. A shining example of overcoming a disability through courage and dedication, he symbolized broadcasting's commitment and service to the community.
Harley Flathers died Monday, January 25, 2016, at the age of 84. Harley is survived by his wife, June; his children, Edward, of Minneapolis, Jeffrey (Chaoying Sun), of Monterey, Calif., Jane (Gary Nie), of Springfield, Mo., and Emily (Veronica Taylor), of Phoenix, Ariz.; and grandchildren, Kristina Flathers of New York, N.Y., and Ethan and Kirby Nie of Springfield, Mo.
A celebration of life is planned at Christ United Methodist Church in Rochester at 11 A.M. Friday, February 12, 2016.