BEATRICE, Neb. - If you’ve ever tuned your radio dial to 94.7 FM or 1450 AM in southeast Nebraska, you’ve likely heard the comforting tones of KWBE.

Now, the public can learn more about the radio station, set to celebrate its 74th birthday on Monday, as a new exhibit is up and running at the Gage County Historical Society.

Dave Niedfeldt serves as the station's Program Director and has hosted the morning show since the late 1980’s. He says the station is honored by the display, as people from the area can learn more about its history.

“I think it means a whole lot,” Niedfeldt said. “KWBE has a big history here in this community.”

Niedfeldt had the idea of an exhibit for over a year, but ironically, Cassandra Dean, Executive Director for the museum, had plans for an exhibit herself, after an influx of KWBE artifacts made their way to the museum.

“Last year, we had a few extra KWBE donations come through and I thought, since have all these new artifacts, let’s just put together an exhibit,” Dean said.

And so, the work began.

Niedfeldt and station staff began gathering additional pieces to bring to the exhibit, including coffee cups, photos of tower installation, art sketches from a 20th anniversary drawing contest put on by the station, and even the first weather radar. KWBE was the first station in Nebraska to use a weather radar system, back in 1958.

“That was a groundbreaking thing for KWBE,” Niedfeldt said. “I talked to Cassandra, mentioned we had the old weather radar system, she asked if we could add that to the display, and this past week, we were able to move it here.”

The exhibit also features dedications to past station personas such as Bud Pentz and Mel Mains and can even take visitors back in time, with original sound effects.

Dean says the exhibit was a nice addition for the museum, whose history dates back to the 1800’s. Now, they have artifacts, more modern than they would have had before.

“We don’t really have much history beyond the 1950’s-1980’s,” Dean said. “I thought the KWBE radio exhibit portrays the whole new era of history we would like to display at the museum.”

KWBE first went on air in 1949, and have since spent their days playing classic music, informing the public of severe weather, distributing farm/agriculture reports, covering breaking news, and broadcasting live sports. Niedfeldt says the station is proud of its history, as it seems that everyone in the Beatrice/Gage County area, as their own KWBE story.

“You know, they’ll talk about the floods that took place over the years, we were always there, letting people know the bridge is open, bridge is closed, the Beatrice tornado, people remember we were there to give information on the cleanup process and damage assessment,” Niedfeldt said. “Everyone has a story.. Look at the MUDECAS basketball tournament… Who was there calling all the games? KWBE.”

The exhibit is open now and will be on display for a little over two years.