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A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications

7th Annual Great Plains Radio History Symposium

Friday, October 12, 2012
Campus Holiday Inn, 17th and Anderson, Manhattan, Kansas

The 7th annual Great Plains Radio History Symposium was be held on Friday, October 12, at the Campus Holiday Inn, at 17th and Anderson Avenue in Manhattan. Topics presented were related to the evolution of radio broadcasting in the rural Midwest.

This year's Symposium featured two morning plenary sessions relating the golden days of radio programming: the era of baseball re-creations, as narrated by longtime sportscaster Tom Hedrick, and a special focus on the career of veteran announcer and programmer Bill Miller, whose on-air career spans six decades.

Is it live, or is it re-creation?

During radio's first three decades, re-creations of baseball games made "home and away" play-by-play coverage of minor and major league baseball possible, which was an important milestone in building early-day radio audiences. Full schedule coverage was difficult to achieve, given the travel, technical and cost restrictions of producing live-on-location broadcasts through the early 1950s. Sportscasters of this era were thus required to be audio production specialists and capable of narrating on-the-road games from their own studios, often using the sketchiest of details gleaned by telephone or telegraph from the road team's ballpark. To enhance the authenticity of these productions, announcers inserted sound effects and dramatized the plays to create the ambience of a live broadcast. Legendary broadcaster Tom Hedrick of Lawrence is one of the few living sports announcers who produced baseball re-creations and provided a plenary presentation about this lost art at the symposium.

It's Miller time!

Bill Miller, who hosts a syndicated radio show on 80-plus affiliates throughout the country, has been a key figure in the development of broadcasting in Kansas and surrounding states. He has twice been a member of the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Board of Directors and was an inaugural member of the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Bill presented a plenary talk on his long career, and the Richard Ward Fatherley Luncheon honored the regional affiliates of Miller's weekly program. The annual luncheon was presented in the memory of Dick Fatherley, a co-founder of the Symposium and a former program director for the Storz Broadcasting chain. The luncheon also honored Hutchinson broadcaster Cliff Shank by presenting the Huck Boyd Community Service in Journalism Award.

Schedule of events

8:00-9:00 a.m. REGISTRATION

9:00-10:15 a.m. "IS IT LIVE OR IS IT RE-CREATION?"
Tom Hedrick, Lawrence, Kansas

10:15-10:30 a.m. BREAK

10:30-11:45 a.m. "61 YEARS LATER: AND IT'S STILL MILLER TIME!"
Bill Miller, Olathe, Kansas

11:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m. BREAK

Welcome: Bill Miller Show Affiliates
Huck Boyd Community Service Award Presentation:
Cliff Shank, KSKU/KWHK/KNZS/KXKU, Hutchinson, Kansas

1:15-1:30 p.m. BREAK

2:00-2:30 p.m. "Calling the Blues: Kansas City's Walt Lochman"
Ryan Ellett, University of Kansas

2:30-3:00 p.m. "France Laux: From KVOO to CBS"
Frank Absher, St. Louis, Missouri

3:00-3:30 p.m. "It's a Bee-yoo-tee-ful Day!": Fifty Years of Chiefs Football on the Radio in Mid-America"
John McGuire, Oklahoma State University

3:30-3:45 p.m. BREAK

3:45-4:15 p.m. "Radio Silence: WJAG and the Transmitter Fire of Easter Weekend, 1965"
Mark Smith, Truman State University

4:15-4:45 p.m. "From the 'Happiest' Broadcasters: WHB 40 Star Survey"
Gregg D. Ottinger, Shawnee, Kansas

The Great Plains Radio History Symposium is sponsored annually by the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media and the K-State Center for Engagement and Community Development.