KGCS will celebrate 35 years on air

Craig Blotter

KCGS will celebrate 35 years of operation during homecoming weekend. Starting with a social at 6:30 p.m., an event honoring this milestone will be held Saturday, Oct. 5 in Connor Ballroom.

The event is open to communications department alumni as well as current students and faculty, according to Judy Stiles, general manager at KCGS. Interested persons can register for the event at A registration fee of $20 will be charged.

Judy Stiles said that a reunion will be held every five years. The first was held for the 30th anniversary in 2014. A TV Outstanding Alumni Award will be presented as part of the program, with this year’s recipient being Cliff Erwin, she said. Other alumni present will be recognized, as well.

Erwin, who graduated in 2004, recalled memories of working with KCGS. He explained that KCGS would tape Southern Sports Sunday and edit it for broadcast Monday. One incident he remembered involved the director getting sick and him having to serve as both sports commentator and director. Erwin said that he has helped with KCGS for at least three years of his academic career at Missouri Southern.

According to his bio, Erwin has worked at KSN16 in Joplin, KY3 in Springfield and KMBC9 in Kansas City. He currently serves as broadcast studio manager for the University of Kansas Health System, while also freelancing for KMBC9.

Erwin said that students currently studying communications at Southern should take every opportunity they can get to try the different roles in various media. He emphasized the importance of learning from mistakes. Erwin went on to express gratitude to all the faculty and staff who made a difference in his life.

Recalling her 33 years at KCGS, Stiles reminisced about the early days producing in the TV studio, which was then in a shed between Plaster Hall and the Alumni Center. “Equipment was a lot bigger back then; you had to have muscles,” she said. Stiles said that starting in the 80s KCGS would take their equipment to Joplin City Hall to cover City Council meetings. She said KCGS was the source for council meetings.

Danny Thomas, general manager of KOAM, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the KCGS 35th Anniversary Reunion Dinner, according to Stiles. Gary Shaw, Mayor of Joplin will also be in attendance. “We always love the support of the broader community,” said Stiles.