Local Radio Station provides a venue for a Career Start.
| 2017 Q3 | by Tim Robisch, General Manager KISS-FM, The Bull and KLWN New FM & 1320, photos by Steven Hertzog
Lawrence is the incubator for so many careers, leaders, innovators and trendsetters. Whether it’s on the court at Allen Fieldhouse or in the classrooms on the campus of the University of Kansas (KU), the impact of this influence is heard across the globe. Broadcasting is a significant contributor to that elite lineup.
In the world of journalism and broadcasting, northeast Kansas made its first marks on the map attributed to William Allen White, who made Lawrence a focal point for so many distinguished journalism careers attributed to the University of Kansas. Lawrence’s own “Hometown Stations” of 101.7 FM and 1320 KLWN, 105.9 KISS FM (and its predecessor Lazer 105), and 92.9 The Bull provided the valuable training and launch pad for many nationally recognized journalism and broadcasting careers.
Particularly in our area of convergence, where journalists must have multifaceted talents at the computer screen, on mobile platforms, behind the mic and in front of the camera, the required skill set has changed. One critical element remains the same: The ability and talent to connect with your constituents (audience, likes, network, viewers and readers) remains the same, while the method or medium has changed.
Many of the journalists and personalities we know have had humble beginnings in our area. Before we explore our Lawrence roots, consider legends and talents like Walter Cronkite, CBS Evening News, Carson Daly, The View and Today Show, NBC, Jimmy Kimmel, Late Night, ABC, all have radio roots that honed their skills and provided a platform propelling them to network television and the top of their game.
Lawrence and KLWN boast several hometown heroes who have established the ranks of the elite for broadcasting. Gary Bender and Kevin Harlan, nationally known for their play-by-play on CBS TV and Westwood One Radio, not just learned at KU but also received firsthand experience behind the mic. KLWN was one of the first stops on the career path of Bob Davis, who recently stepped back from the mic as Voice of the Jayhawks and had several years calling the Kansas City Radio Broadcasts. Brian Hanni is our most recent alum to leave KLWN and Lawrence, and hone is skills in Lubbock, Texas. He has now returned for his second year calling Jayhawk Broadcasts and providing KLWN and our sister station Big 12 updates.
While sports certainly has a high profile, Lawrence pride still shines brightly for other area
“alums” like Tom Hedrick, former voice of the Kansas City Chiefs, and Steve Doocy, now on Fox Television. Lazer FM produced Marty Wall, national voice-over talent and voice of Kansas City television’s 38 The Spot in addition to his work at Memorial Field as the stadium announcer for KU Football.
Speaking of Kansas City, the short drive down I-70 provided opportunity for two more KLWN and Lazer personalities: Scott Parks and Chris Merrill. Parks is still heard on Kansas City radio, and Merrill moved a few years back to the West Coast and has hosted talk radio shows in San Diego and Phoenix, and is now heard in Los Angeles on legendary talk station KFI-AM.
We have great civic and business pride in our role providing experience, training and exposure to the past generations of broadcasters who have moved on to bigger and better things, and welcome the opportunity to be here for the next generation.