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February 10th, 2011

Steve Deace Is Leaving WHO Radio

By Craig Robinson

For four years, Steve Deace has been a commanding and controversial voice in central Iowa.  Multiple sources have told that Deace will be leaving the radio station to pursue other opportunities.

Deace’s afternoon drive-time show, “Deace In The Afternoon” has certainly made an impact on Iowa politics and how issues like abortion, gay marriage, the role of the courts are debated everywhere from coffee shops to the state capitol.  In addition to shaping the debate on moral issues, he also helped a number of staunch conservatives like Kent Sorenson, Kim Pearson, Glen Massie, and Tom Shaw get elected to the legislature.  Three of those four seats are located in the heart of WHO’s radio market.

To appreciate the impact Deace has had on the body politic in the Iowa, one only needs to look at the results of the 2008 presidential caucuses and the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary.  In both instances, Deace publicly backed candidates and used his radio show to promote them.  In the 2008 caucuses, Mike Huckabee dominated central Iowa from the Missouri to the Minnesota boarder.  Mitt Romney, who Deace attacked and mocked on a daily basis, only won counties on the eastern and western edges of the state, except for Dallas County, which he narrowly won.  Huckabee crushed Mitt Romney in the 2008 caucuses, and it’s safe to say that there was more behind his impressive Iowa victory than just Steve Deace, but Deace was certainly a factor.

In 2010, Deace’s candidate was Bob Vander Plaats.  While Vander Plaats failed to win his third attempt in the gubernatorial primary, he did earn an over 40 percent of the vote in the three-way contest.  Vander Plaats won the conservative counties in northwest Iowa where he is from, but, like Huckabee, he also did very well in central Iowa, likely because of Deace’s continuous support of his campaign and attacks on Terry Branstad.

In both of those campaigns, Deace never hesitated to use his show to defend his friends if and when they were being attacked.  During the last general election, Deace used his radio show to directly combat radio ads that attacked Kent Sorenson, who was in the midst of a nasty campaign for the State Senate.  Deace’s decision to basically air mock radio ads that had just aired attacking Sorenson were funny, but it had to cause an ethical problem with the radio station.

On his personal website Deace writes, “WHO is one of the best stations in the United States, and I feel truly honored and blessed to have been allowed to play at least some small part in that legacy.  Many industry professionals would consider WHO a destination job, and WHO has been very good to my family and invaluable to my growth both as a broadcaster and as a man. I hope my performance and work ethic repaid the investment WHO made in me and my family.”

He went on to add, ““No members of management at WHO pressured me or asked me to resign and no members of management at WHO ever has,” Deace said. “In fact, they urged me to reconsider. It seemed as if they were just as surprised by my decision as many in my audience will be. I am very grateful that General Manager Joel McCrea gave me the opportunity to broadcast at WHO and KXNO the last eight and a half years.”

In the past few weeks, Deace’s behavior has been odd.  Nothing caught my attention more than when he suddenly announced that he was going to run for Polk County GOP Chairman on Tuesday night, just hours before the vote was scheduled.  At the time, I wondered why a radio show host, who already has a 50,000-watt platform that he uses to advocate for his beliefs and the candidates he supports would want to deal with the responsibilities of leading a county political party?  That decision now makes a little more sense.

After loosing his bid to become Polk County GOP Chair, Deace went home and recorded a web video in which he states, “It [Running for Polk GOP Chair] also made be ponder, that perhaps the best way that I in the future can have the most impact is not necessarily do what I have been doing the last few years.”

He went on to say, “There have been people who have come to me with offers and promises and attempts to do other things, to have an impact beyond what I’m currently doing.  At the time, I dismissed those, but maybe I will not dismiss those anymore.  We will have more to say about this as the week progresses on Deace in the Afternoon”

No matter what the reason is, his departure will not only impact the upcoming caucuses, but also future elections.  I also think that, while Deace may no longer be on the radio, he will continue to be involved in Iowa politics.  On his Facebook page , Deace indicated that his next campaign might be for Republican National Committeeman or the State Senate.

It looks like we will have to stay tuned, even though after tomorrow there is nothing left to tune in to.


Van Harden just sent the following message. “We will have a special edition of Steve’s show tomorrow, and I will be on with him after 5:30 for an announcement.”

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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