A Twin Ports media icon that worked in the broadcasting field for more than 70 years is marking a milestone this week. Superior’s Lew Martin is turning 100 years old.
Lew Martin got his first gig in radio as a student in Superior working for WEBC Radio. He moved around and worked at stations in Eau Claire and St. Paul before coming back to the Twin Ports to join WDSM Radio when it went on the air for the first time. Martin recalled the early days of radio in Duluth and Superior during a recent interview on the Wisconsin Public Radio program Hear Me Out.
“In those days, you did almost everything. You did the news and you did the weather and you read the commercials. You had maybe a sports guy. He did the sports, but you did almost everything else….You were welcome everywhere,” Martin said. “There was only three stations in Duluth and Superior. You were invited to be up on the Range. You were an authority even though you are a kid.”
Martin met a lot of interesting figures in broadcasting, including Presidents Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. The Kennedy family visited Superior during the 1960 presidential primary.
“There was the mother, Rose. There was Mrs. Sargent Shriver and Mrs. Peter Lawford. They were both daughters of the Kennedys. Then, there was Bobby and Teddy and, of course, Jack and Jackie,” Martin said. “There was seven Kennedys in Superior. Someone out east must have decided what they should do. They started with the top of Wisconsin and spent a couple of days here.”
Martin said he feels good about turning 100 years old. He said his only wish is that he could move around a bit faster.
“I’ve been real lucky. All my friends, of course, are dead, but you make new ones,” Martin said. “It works out pretty good for you.”
Martin offers a few words of wisdom for those lucky enough to grow old.
“A person should just do their job,” he said.
He added, “Save their money. Being so old, I could easily run out of money.”
Martin retired from broadcasting at 66, but he served about 30 years on the Douglas County Board of Supervisors after his retirement. He was also a featured voice of the Wisconsin Public Radio old time radio drama Radio Superior. Martin said he still drives a car and gets around pretty well on his own. He enjoys spending time with his two sons, daughter and grandchildren in Duluth and Superior.