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Remembering Paul Hedberg: Radio station founder, community advocate

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 11:25 PM CDT
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BLUE EARTH, Minn. (KEYC) — Paul Hedberg played the roles of a father, a husband, a radio station founder and a prominent community advocate.

But his career began early on in his life, as a radio personality.

“He just had a way of making things happen,” stated Larry Anderson, who was friends with Paul.

“I think he was a ham. He certainly never shied away from a microphone. He never shied away from wanting to be in charge,” said Mark Hedberg, Paul’s son.

The elder Hedberg was a champion of the city of Blue Earth. He started and owned KBEW Radio, and later advocated for a statue that today attracts visitors from all 50 states and beyond.

“This giant behind us — he went around in about 3 days and raised over $50,000 to build it because the interstate was coming through here, and he wanted to have a tourist stop to attract people,” recalled Tom Juba, who was friends with Paul.

Speaking of the interstate, the broadcaster turned community leader played an instrumental role in the location of Interstate 90, which was supposed to run five miles north of Blue Earth.

“Paul made this presentation before the commissioner and all the engineers who were there. The commissioner listened, he looked at the engineers, and he said, ‘move it.’ That was it, two words,” Anderson described.

Hedberg and his wife, Julie, relocated to Spirit Lake, Iowa, in the 1980s, where — if you can believe it — he started another radio station.

Friends and family remember his charisma, persistence and love for his communities.

They have no doubt Paul Hedberg’s legacy will live on.

“I think the two towns that he lived in, Blue Earth and Spirit Lake, they’ll remember him fondly because he did a lot,” Mark Hedberg said.

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