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August 14, 2003

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) _ Dietrich ``Dee″ Dirks, Sioux City broadcasting pioneer and founder of television station KTIV and radio stations KWSL and KMNS, died Tuesday. He was 101.

Dirks, who was born and raised in Nebraska, began his broadcasting career in Lincoln after he graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1924. He worked as sports director and later general manager at KFAB radio, where he broadcast Nebraska football games.

On July 12, 1937, the FCC granted a construction permit to the Sioux City Broadcasting Co., which was owned 50/50 by Dirks and the Sioux City Tribune. Station KTRI later became KWSL.

Dirks was general manager when the station went on the air on July 12, 1938. He became president of KTRI a year later. In 1949, he sold his 50 percent interest to the Tribune and formed the KCOM Broadcasting Co. with three other men, which started station KCOM, which later became KMNS.

In 1953, KCOM Broadcasting Co. and Perkins Brothers Co. received a television license for KTIV. The station went on the air in October 1954 and Dirks became KTIV’s manager. He remained manager and president until he retired in 1968.

He is survived by his son and daughter; three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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