During the late 1960's and/or early 1970's, KMEG aired a locally produced kids' show called "Klarence the Klown," hosted by Bill Bass. At some point, Bill left to do other things; and, KMEG was left without a children's show.
Dave Webber, a sportscaster from Omaha, moved to Sioux City in 1973 to cover sports for KMEG. It was during this time that KMEG's need for a new kids' show host provided Dave with an opportunity. He wanted to create the kind of kids' TV that he had remembered watching while growing up in the north Chicago suburb of Evanston. And thus, "Pops" was born.
The character of Pops was a custodian of the "Bijou Theatre." Dave dressed for the part by donning a hat, gray wig, mustache, and wire-rim eye glasses. And, he spoke in a low, husky voice, thus completing the disguise. Although the "Bijou Theatre" had been long since closed, kids would still come the by the stage door each day after school; and, Pops would invite them in to watch "Little Rascals" and "Laurel and Hardy" movies. Three or four of the "Laurel and Hardy" shows were full length and would be shown over several days or on special holiday evening shows.
Features on the "Pops" show included both the daily reading of viewer mail contests. One week, when the theme park, "Great America," opened up in Gurney, Illinois; Warner Brothers sent characters in costume to appear on Pops' show. Sylvester, Tweety, and Yosemite Sam were on the show for an entire week! Warner Brothers also gave the show dozens of character plush dolls, which were given away in a contest at around Christmas time. Thousands of entries were received.
Also, Dave recalled that the show's biggest splash on KMEG came during the national opening of the movie, "Hawmps," a film about camels in the cavelry in the Old West. On a Saturday morning, Dave appeared live at one of the Sioux City movie theaters for the film's debut. He was in costume as Pops and gave away movie-related prizes to a packed house of kids and their parents.
In addition to the "Pops" show, Dave Webber also hosted a family and kids movie on Saturday nights. The set consisted of a livingroom setting with an overstuffed leather chair. And, the program's gimmick was finding unique ways to have Dave to enter the set. As Dave recalled, he once jumped into the chair from the top of a ladder that was off camera.
In 1977, Dave Webber decided to return to doing TV in Omaha, Nebraska. So, Dave Madsen joined the show as a new sidekick, a clown with no name. The winner of a contest eventually named the clown "Bingo." And, Pops and Bingo did the show together for a time. When Dave Webber finally left for Omaha, viewers were told that Pops had left to go on a "vacation," a vacation which seemed to last forever. And after a time, once Bingo was firmly established as the new host, the show was renamed "Bingo's Big Top."
Today, Dave Webber is a sportscaster, working for WOWT-TV channel 6 in Omaha, Nebraska. As a popular TV personality in the region, Dave is also in great demand as a public speaker.
KMEG: the One For You.
The main source material came from Dave Webber's recollections, which he was kind enough to share with Brian Hass for the purpose of including them in this web page.
Other source material for this web page came from Dave Webber's 2000 biography at the WOWT web site as well as Brian Hass' own personal memories from having watched Pops' show back in the 1970's.
Dave recalled that the "Pops" show lasted three years during the time he was at KMEG.
Years ago, when KMEG used the "One Four You" (One Four U) slogan, the logo depicted the channel number, 14, inside a letter "U." Thus, the slogan had a double meaning, indicating the station's number as well as the fact that the station was on the UHF broadcast band.