Grigsby comes home to enter Hall


Andrew Pavlovic / The Chart

Joplin native Bill Grigsby shows off the crystal trophy that came with being inducted into the Regional Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Broadcasting icon Bill Grigsby came home this week to receive an honor and to offer a good dose of his sense of humor.

On Tuesday, Grigsby was presented with the Regional Media Hall of Fame Award at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. The award, which recognizes his impact on the field of broadcasting, was presented by the department of communication at MSSU.

Grigsby’s distinctive voice became a fixture to Kansas city Chiefs fans over  a 46-year career with the team from 1964-2009. Grigsby, however, doesn’t care much for the word “retire.”

“I retired from football because as you get older they start relegating you to different tasks,” he said. “And I was out doing interviews in the parking lot. I thought that the next damn thing is I’ll be parking cars.”

Judy Stiles, general manager of KGCS-TV, said Grigsby was a natural choice for the award.

“We believe that Bill Grigsby’s outstanding career — as well as the fact that he started in Joplin — more than qualifies him for this type of recognition,” she said.

Grigsby also was presented with proclamations from the city of Joplin and the Missouri House of Representatives. But the veteran broadcaster placed the credit for his career with his wife, Fran.

“Whatever success I have is due to her,” he said. “She let me alone and she’ll have a pipeline straight to heaven when she dies.

“Sixty-one years of living with me was pretty tough.”

Grigsby entertained the audience with a story from his days broadcasting Kansas City A’s games. It seemed A’s owner Charles O. Finley wanted Grigsby to do something that went against his ethics. Grigsby quit and still has a strong opinion of Finley. At a speaking engagement, a member of the audience asked how he felt when Finley died.

“As a matter of fact,” Grigsby answered, “I was driving through Gary, Ind., the other day and I would’ve stopped to pee on his grave, but the line was too long.”

Grigsby attended Joplin Junior College after serving in Army Air Corps intelligence during World War II. It was there that he met Fran. Grigsby said he has great memories of his days at JJC and he is pleased with what the school has become.

“I was so impressed by that University (MSSU),” he said. “Now I have always looked good. But Joplin Junior College was not exactly what the University is today.”

One story Grigsby told was of his enrollment in a beginning typing class at JJC. In the service, Grigsby said he could type 115 words per minute but he would type with two fingers in the class in order to fit in. Until the instructor gave a timed test and told Grigsby to do the best he could.

“I had about 20-some pages typed in five minutes,” he said. “All the kids stopped typing to watch me.

“When she came back I handed her the pages and she said ‘What is this?’ I said, ‘Well it was a speed test, wasn’t it?'”

Past Regional Hall of Fame Award recipients have included newscasters Bob James and Bob Phillips, radio executive Ron Petersen, Joplin Globe sports editor Wendell Redden, broadcast executive Danny Thomas and Dave Berry, vice president of Community Publishers.

The award presentation is funded through financial support from supporters including the Ruth I. Kolpin Foundation, the Eagle Picher corporation, The Missouri Broadcasters Association, and the Missouri Press Association.