Southern alumnus recognized at ceremony


Southern alumus Dave Koester received an award from Judy Stiles, General Manager of KGCS-TV at Southern. Stiles worked with Koester over 30 years ago in Tulsa.

Leaving your mark on a profession: that is what three people did who were honored April 7 at the Missouri Southern Regional Media Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame members have included local celebrities such as Bob Phillips and Dowe Quick. 

The Regional Media Hall of Fame honors professionals in the media from the region for their careers in broadcast and print.

The honorees for 2016 include: Jim Hamilton, David Koester and Larry Young. 

David Koester, who started his writing career for The Chart at then Missouri Southern State College was in attendance. 

“I started out always wanting to be a print journalist,” Koester said. “That’s the reason I worked on The Chart. I always felt I could be a writer. When I got to Missouri Southern, Mr. Massa was a big influence.”

During his junior year, Koester was a staff writer for The Chart and sports editor his senior year.

Also during his junior year, Koester started work at KODE-TV under the management of “the late, great” Bob Phillips. After a few weeks of working at KODE, he “fell in love with broadcast journalism.”

“I can’t say how instrumental Bob was in fueling my interest in the business,” Koester said. “He was such a character who taught me a lot of things.”

As Koester moved along in his career, he found himself working at KOTV in Tulsa for five years. During his tenure there, he supervised news crews, reports and journalists.  From Tulsa he moved on to Oklahoma City.

For KOCO in Oklahoma City, he was the assignment manager. 

During his time there, he earned an Emmy Award for his teams live news coverage of “McVeigh Moved,” following the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

“We had received word that McVeigh was going to be transferred to federal authorities,” Koester said. “They were supposed to take him to Tinker Air Force Base.”

On the way to Tinker Air Force Base, airspace became restricted, so the helicopter had to comply. However, ground reporters noted a diversion.

“Our chopper told us we had to leave because they closed the airspace,” Koester said. “One of the guys in the chopper said ‘they took a right on I-40’, so I told them to follow. Instead of going to Tinker, they went to El Reno Correctional Facility.”

Koester’s team was on the scene at El Reno broadcasting live while other TV crews were waiting at Tinker Air Force Base. As a result of this and coverage, the team received a Peabody Award.

Koester does recall his career being impactful.

“First of all, the bombing,” Koester said. “This was a rude awakening. This was not only a terrorist, but a domestic terrorist. It destroyed our innocence.”

Koester also has some advice for students looking to get involved in broadcast or reporting.

“The most important attribute a reporter has to have is persistence,” Koester said. “You have to be ambitious and persistent.”

Koester also says to get your foot in the door, because it will pay off in the long run.