Get out of Cedar Rapids and don’t come back… for 20 years

Just before the big flood in 2008, I packed up from Cedar Rapids with my then-girlfriend, who I am now proud to call my wife. At the time I was working at KDAT, although it was not owned by Townsquare Media at the time. We landed in Illinois and things went pretty smoothly for almost twenty years, at least for the most part. It seemed like a solid deal and a place I could retire. As firm as a marshmallow, you know?

Spoiler Alert if you didn’t know yet that there was a vacancy at our company, you will know soon!

So you could say that life was golden. Then life threw us a curveball. My wife’s company went bankrupt and we wondered what to do next. Ever heard of Indeed? Well, yes, I did, and on a whim I decided to see what opportunities there were in the radio world. Imagine my surprise when I saw the legendary Bob James retire and his job open up. What?! Say it ain’t so, Bob. But alas, it was true.

When I lived here about twenty years ago, I lived above the bus station. Apparently that area was completely flooded during the flood. Even though downtown was a ghost town at the time, I saw potential. I loved walking or cycling everywhere. It’s been a bummer to see businesses closing left and right. McDonald’s, The Science Center – they were always on the edge. And I can tell you: that police helicopter was regularly seen in the sky. Sometimes it felt like it was so high up there that you wondered what chaos was unfolding down there. I think there’s a pavilion where the helicopter hung out. But seriously, what happened to it? Was it retired in the state?

98.1 KHAK logo

As I drove through downtown recently, it was heartening to see that it was not only alive, but thriving. There used to be not much construction, but now there is a lot of growth. And it suits you, Cedar Rapids.

It’s good to be back. Complete the circle, if you will. Sometimes you only realize what you have when it’s gone.

If you don’t know me from 20 years ago, let me introduce myself. I’m Brian Withrow, the new afternoon host of Brand Manager here on Khak. I like watching John Lithgow movies on repeat. I only eat Cheetos on Sundays, my cheat day, and I have a pet rodent named Lex Luther. Sometimes on Sunday afternoons Lex sits on my stomach eating Cheetos and we watch John Lithgow movies. See what I mean about being a loser for wanting to come full circle. What can I say, I am who I am. I can’t wait to meet you all. Feel free to send me a message and say hi, or get off my lawn, or go back to Illinois, or let’s have a Third Rock marathon. I can’t say I’d discuss the latter with you, but it’s nice to be asked when you’re new in town, you know?

Speaking of travel, what are the best places to stay in Iowa?

10 of the best Airbnbs to stay in Iowa City

Looking for a nice place to stay in Iowa City? Please! All 10 Airbnbs on this list are “superhosts,” they all have at least 30 reviews and they all have a rating of 4.97 stars or higher. Based on that information, here are 10 of the best places to stay in the Iowa City area:

Gallery credit: Courtlin

All the Best Burgers in Iowa winners since 2010

Every year the Iowa Beef Industry Council is hosting a contest to find out which restaurant has the tastiest burger in the state. Here are all the honorees still active as of January 2024:

Gallery credit: Courtlin