Local Media Leaders recognized by Huck Boyd National Institute

Gary Shorman and Bob Schmidt were honored on Thursday.

Gary Shorman and Bob Schmidt were honored on Thursday.

The Huck Boyd Community Media Leaders of the Year for Radio were recognized Thursday at Kansas State University.

The Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at K-State honors The Community Leaders of the Year from those who are featured on the weekly radio feature, “Kansas Profile,” produced by the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development.

This years Leaders of the Year for Radio are Bob Schmidt, Co-Founder of Eagle Communications and current Chairman, as well as Gary Shorman, Eagle Communications President and CEO.

Shorman said that being involved with the community is the driving initiative Eagle talks about every day. “We try to do that with our radio stations every day, whether it be with our slogan, our community connected, or whether it be with the groups that we’re involved in everyday.”

On being selected for the award, Shorman referred back to previous winners. “You have Bob Schmidt, who’s our chairman and one of the founders, of not only radio stations, cable companies and broadcast in the state, but Dolph Simons who worked in the Lawrence area. Just to be a part of that, its a real honor.”

Schmidt started out as a play-by-play announcer in 1949 on KAYS in Hays, Kan. He eventually would partner with Ross Beach to expand the business and later become the CEO and President of Eagle. The 100% employee owned company now consists of 28 radio stations across Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, as well as 30 cable systems in Kansas and Colorado.

Schmidt said that when he first got the call from the Huck Boyd Institute saying they selected him for the award, he didn’t really know what they wanted. “He said, well it will be very simple. We’ll just ask you a few questions and I’ll write up something, and I’ll send it by to see if you disagree or agree with the things I’ve said. The whole process took only about a half hour,” Schmidt added. “I was amazed. As Gary has said, it made us look a lot better than we probably are.”

The Institute also recognized the Huck Boyd Community Media Leader of the Year in Newspaper, Dolph Simons Jr., chairman and editor of the World Company, which publishes the Lawrence Journal-World and other newspapers.