‘Chamber Chat’ informs public on local programs, services

Missouri Southern is helping to educate the community about the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Chamber Chat” is a joint effort between Southern’s television station, KGCS, and the Chamber.

The half-hour long, quarterly program airs the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 6 p.m. and in various other “floater spots” for a minimum of six times every quarter on channel 57.

Judy Stiles, general manager of KGCS, said the goal of the program is to educate the community about the function of the Chamber.

“They do a wide variety of things and this allows us to let the community know a little bit about what the Chamber does,” Stiles said.

Stiles thinks “Chamber Chat” allows the College to go beyond the role of simply educating the students, to giving something back to the community.

“One of the things we want to do and always have done is serve beyond the campus community to the community at large as much as possible,” she said.

Kim Lester, Chamber director of operations, echoes Stiles in the Chamber’s view of the program’s goals.

“Our goal was to promote a better awareness of who your Chamber is and what we do,” Lester said. “Our members know who we are, but, a lot of the time, the general public has no idea what a chamber of commerce does.”

The Chamber wants to educate its members as well as the public on the value of the Chamber.

“Our purpose in this is two fold — to help the public understand what the Chamber of Commerce is and what they can call on us for, and remind our members of all of the services, value and benefits of their Chamber membership,” Lester said.

“Chamber Chat” first aired in January 2001 as part of the continued wave of government educational programs, including “Inside Joplin” and Joplin R-8’s broadcast.

“Chamber Chat” is usually hosted by either Lester or Rob O’Brian, Chamber president. The show is recorded in Southern’s television studio located on the first floor of Webster Hall.

The half-hour program is usually broken into two segments with a short break in between.

It is set up in an interview format with a host and two to four guest speakers.

The topics for discussion are selected by the Chamber as three or four new topics of interest or concern affecting the Joplin community.

“We like to try and cover every area of concern during the shows, like economic development, education, community beautification and small business resources,” Lester said.

One of the quarter’s shows focused half of the time on the Chamber’s Trek Program, which sends volunteers to help tutor children in reading, and half of the time on its Adopt-a-Park Program.

The Chamber is reaching out to the community, and Southern is glad to be of service.

“It’s a teamwork effort, and we’re glad the Chamber is part of the team,” Stiles said.