20th Anniversary KGCS-LP

Kathleen Cunningham

CORRECTION: Richard Massa, former communication department head, founded MSTV, not Clark, as the story reports. Caristi did not arrive until 1988. Clark managed the station until then. Also, in a quote from Judy Stiles it was mentioned the Miracle Network runs from 5:30 to 10 p.m. During that time, locally-produced shows are actually aired and America One programming runs throughout the rest of the day. The Chart apologizes for any confusion.

KGCS, the Missouri Southern television station is celebrated their 20th anniversary this past September.

The station began on Sept. 1, 1984. Back then it was available only with cable and is now available without cable as analog broadcast channel 57.

In the beginning, the Learning Channel was on during the day and campus programming was on during the evenings.

Dr. Robert Clark, professor of communications, founded the station and has been with it ever since. Originally, the equipment was installed in a building near the Learning Center, however, the station is currently located on the first floor of Webster Hall.

“Students were learning to do interviews,” Clark said.

“On Saturday night was the history of Southern, which then was Missouri Southern State Junior College, then it became Missouri Southern State College, and then in August of 2003, Missouri Southern State University.”

The manager for the first three years was Dominic Caristi.

Then Judy Stiles was hired in 1986 as Community Service Director then later became station manager.

“It is operated by students the whole time, all the work is done by students,” Clark said.

Earlier, this was not so.

“The only help I had was Tim Dry when the station was called MSTV, then Judy Stiles,” Clark said. “And after the radio station was started, we hired an engineer.”

Stiles is also the host of the NewsMakers program, a local program which is student produced.

“The opportunity for students to get hands-on experience is the most important thing,” she said.

The experience also helps students after they graduate.

“All local stations have recent graduates working as producers, Philip Cross at KOAM, Maggie Phillips at KSN and Terry Cunningham at KODE,” Stiles said.

Southern students working at the station said the experience they received working at the station helped prepare them to work at a local TV station doing their internships.

“This is my second semester working at KGCS, I’m a station manager, and I live to come work at the station,” said Darren Gibbs, senior mass communications major.

Gibbs said the time he puts in is worthwhile.

“I spend three to five hours working here,” he said. “It has been the best experience for me. I started at KSN two weeks ago. The experience on and behind the camera, editing and directing and producing gave me good experience for the KSN internship.”

He said he hopes to make a good impression on anchors, sports people and the producers.

The students and Stiles agreed working at the station gives valuable hands-on experience for working with another station as a career or even starting out at an internship.

Ashley Caffey, senior mass communications major, is senior production manager at KGCS-TV.

“[The station] definitely gave me a lot of hands-on experience, putting on shows, script writing, camera application, direction and production,” she said.

Caffey also had an internship at Fox News in Washington, D.C. during the summer and said the station is currently looking for more help because the managers are graduating in May.

The programming also sets the station apart.

“From 5:30 p.m to 10 p.m, the Miracle Network programming is on,” Stiles said. “In the late evenings, programming runs on an automated switch. Special programs are St. Louis Cardinals baseball games, which have helped build an identity for the station. Joplin City Council meetings are live and Joplin R-8 School Board. Taped Meetings of Southern Board of Governors run on Sunday evenings. Southern Sports Sunday, Southern home football games and basketball home games and hoping to do volleyball.”

Programming includes the topics for those with international and sports interests, those taking a Southern instructional television course and those with an interest in the classic arts.