Honoring ‘iconic’ Teen Hop series

As the world of streaming and binge-watching dominates the television industry, officials with Missouri Southern’s KGCS-TV are taking time to look to the past rather than the future. 

Members of Southern’s TV station plan to induct KODE’s program, Teen Hop, into the Media Hall of Fame. 

The ceremony for Teen Hop’s induction into KGCS’s Media Hall of Fame is set for 4 p.m., Tuesday, April 30 in the North End Zone Facility at Missouri Southern.

The show captivated area teens for 17 years by not only providing an entertaining program, but by inviting them to participate in the show. 

“It was kind of a Joplin version of American Bandstand,” said Judy Stiles, general manager of KGCS-TV. “They played popular music and local high schools would send teams and student representatives to have a dance competition.”

Teen Hop began in 1958. It continued until 1975. 

“I think it was a program that was kind of iconic,” Stiles said. “I know it impacted a lot of lives.” 

Stiles said that impact is the inspiration behind Teen Hop’s induction into KGCS’s Media Hall of Fame.

“Each year, we try to have a Regional Media Hall of Fame recipient,” Stiles said. “We honor individuals with significant careers, people who have really made a difference in media,” 

“This year, the feeling was that we’ve had some of these great stories that are not about just one person. This is a case of a TV station’s effort. There were a lot of people working on it and so, this year, we said, ‘Let’s honor a television program.’”

KGCS students and staff will host an awards ceremony to celebrate Teen Hop’s induction. People are invited to the ceremony, which will include a student-produced documentary showcasing interviews with past participants. Light refreshments will be served. 

“The video is going to be a lot of oral history and memories of Teen Hop,” Stiles said. 

Ashlea Zumwalt, senior mass communication and public relations major, was responsible for editing the documentary video.

“It’s been a long and daunting experience, especially since the show was so iconic,” Zumwalt said. “I’ve learned so much from the people we interviewed. They mentioned companies and products that no longer exist, but they remember them vividly. 

“They know so much about the history of Joplin and I hope this video brings some of that history back to life.”