Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

A La Crosse broadcaster who was inducted into the WBA Hall of Fame with his father has died.

Mike Kearns was part of a father-son team that was the Voice of WKTY radio when it signed on the air in 1948. His father, Charlie hosted WKTY’s morning show, “The Lead Balloon” from the day it signed on the air in 1948 and upon his death in 1981 when Mike took over the show.

Charlie was also the station’s first Sports Director and Mike assumed the position in 1981. Together, they delivered play-by-play on over 1,200 football games and 6,000 basketball in their over 68 years behind the WKTY microphone.

On the Mid-West Family La Crosse website, General Manager Brian Jackson wrote, “Mike Kearns was an amazing broadcaster, co-worker and friend. Since I heard the news of his passing, I can’t stop thinking about all the fun times I was lucky enough to be a part of.”

Kearns attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Brown Institute, learned the radio craft and the art of sportscasting from his father, and was on the air at WKTY for 44 years. He retired in 2016.

Charlie and Mike Kearns were inducted into the WBA Hall of Fame in 2009.

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