Ernest “Slim Jim” Iverson
Walk down any street in the Twin Cities on a summer afternoon in the days before air conditioning, and chances are you would hear Ernest “Slim Jim” Iverson on the radio through the open windows.
Famed and loved throughout the region for country music and Scandinavian songs like “Nikolina” and “The Drifting Vistling Snow,” he was born to Norwegian immigrants in North Dakota in 1903. Injured while working in the Texas oil fields in 1925, he turned to music, and was dubbed “Slim Jim” by his Wichita Falls, Texas, radio station for his lean, six-foot, four-inch frame. In 1927 he moved to WAAU Omaha, Nebraska, appearing as the “Master Troubadour” before becoming “Slim Jim” again at WRHM (now WWTC) Minneapolis/Saint Paul in 1932. Broadcasting with his brother Clarence (“The Vagabond Kid”), his noontime program was a favorite throughout the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s on several Twin Cities and regional stations, including WDGY, KSTP, WLOL, and KEYD. He also appeared on experimental WDGY telecasts in the 1930s, and hosted the hour-long “Slim Jim’s Westerners” on what is now KMSP TV Minneapolis/Saint Paul in the 1950s. His death, at the age of 55, in 1958 was mourned by legions of fans.