Kolpin gift to help KGCS-TV go digital

Signs go up on the newly named Ruth I. Kolpin studios. Kolpin is a long-time supporter of KGCS-TV.

Special to The Chart

Signs go up on the newly named Ruth I. Kolpin studios. Kolpin is a long-time supporter of KGCS-TV.

Becky Husky

One woman’s generosity has changed the future for KGCS-TV.

Thanks to a donation given by Ruth Kolpin-Rubison, Missouri Southern’s television station will be able to make the change to digital broadcasting.

“She’s been a very strong supporter of our communications program,” said Judy Stiles, KGCS General Manager. “Her generosity will help us prepare for the future. We are very grateful.”

Kolpin is one of Southwest Missouri’s pioneer broadcasters. During her 60-year career, her efforts initiated advancements still seen today in the area’s broadcasting service.

Before her success in broadcasting, Kolpin grew up on a ranch in Achilles, Kan. Intrigued by the tricks she saw at rodeo shows, she reinvented them for neighborhood kids.

It was this love for showmanship paired with a love for writing that took Kolpin into the early part of her career. She worked as a freelance writer, writing songs and greeting cards, before composing her own scripts and commercials for broadcasting companies.

“I remember typing out commercials on my typewriter in the backseat of a car,” Kolpin said.

Though she worked for three Kansas stations – KWGB, KGAR and KTVC-TV, Kolpin’s real dream was to own a radio station of her own. After saving $75 each week for 10 years, her dream took form.

With enough money put away, Kolpin scouted cities for a possible station to buy. It was on one of these trips, in May of 1961, that she met George Kolpin. They were married in October of that year, and together they continued the search.

“We traveled 55,000 miles looking for a station,” Kolpin said. “George wanted me to follow my dream.”

Their journey led them to Carthage. With a slow, stabilized buying market, its KDMO radio station was just what Kolpin wanted. Though not for sale at first, she received a call from owner John Daily at the last minute.

“I had prayed to come to Carthage, and my prayers were answered,” Kolpin said.

At KDMO, Kolpin oversaw the administrative, advertising, and financial departments. Then, in 1965, she initiated cable television in Southwest Missouri with the founding of Southwest Missouri Cable. It was one of the first companies in the nation to establish fiber optics lines. Seven years after founding Southwest Missouri Cable, Kolpin acquired a license to operate KRGK-FM as well.

“In life there are obstacles to everything,” Kolpin said. “But, I’ve learned more from those obstacles than when things were easy.”

To broadcasting students, Kolpin has four words of advice: hard work, perseverance, and faith.

“Sometimes people will be almost where they want to be and then they give up. But if they persevere and have the faith to go on, they’ll get where they want to go,” Kolpin said.

Kolpin sold her companies in 1999 to Cox Communication, but she still keeps busy with her property management company and charitable foundations such as Ruth I. Kolpin Enterprises.

“I’ve always believed in service above everything,” Kolpin said. “I’ve always liked to give. It makes me feel good to help someone over some type of hardship.”

From her rodeo trick days to her charitable giving, Kolpin has kept a steady pace.

“I could never be idle,” she said. “It would be hard for me to be idle.”

In honor of Kolpin, Southern’s broadcasting studios have been named the Ruth I. Kolpin Studios.