William B. Quarton was born in Algona, the son of an Iowa district court judge. He died on Sunday, August 19, 2007, at age 104.

Quarton’s success is legendary. He spent one year at the University of Iowa. In the early 1920s, he traveled to Washington, D.C. and was a member of the civil service for four years. Then, he moved to New York City, where he joined General Electric. Quarton was with the firm during the last three years of Thomas Edison’s life.

In 1931, his brother Sumner called and asked that Quarton come to Cedar Rapids to manage station KWCR. The Cowles family acquired WMT (which was then located in Waterloo) and returned the station to its original city of license, Cedar Rapids. KWCR became WMT with Quarton continuing as manager (In a complex transaction, the license for KWCR was moved to Des Moines where it become the second Cowles station in the capital city. KSO, the first Cowles station was moved to the KWCR frequency, and KRNT signed on in the mid-1930s to the original KSO frequency.).

Under Quarton’s leadership, the reputation of WMT increased. WMT became a leader in news and farm programming in the eastern part of the state. The WMT signal, 5,000 watts at 600 MHZ, blanketed eastern Iowa and western Illinois.