Southern honors contributor, friends

Southern honors contributor, friends

Southern honors contributor, friends

Amye Buckley

From humble beginnings near Colby, Kan. Ruth Kolpin-Rubison pioneered a career in radio and television broadcasting.

“I was a dreamer,” Kolpin-Rubison said. “I’d sit around the stove dreaming about when I grew up all I would do. I was going to have beautiful luggage and travel on trains because trains were the way of transportation in those days.”

And she did.She traveled selling advertising for radio and television, eventually purchasing her own radio station in Carthage, Mo., in 1962. She was named a Cable TV Pioneer by the National Cable Television Association in 1989. She received the first ever Pioneer Broadcasters Award presented by the MSSU Department of Communication in 1997. The television studio at Missouri Southern bears her name.

When she was young she lived in northwest Kansas. The nearest town, Achilles, had a post office and a general store. Transportation to the nearest city 30 miles away was a Model-T. Kolpin-Rubison went to a one-room schoolhouse. She was a tomboy.

“I rode horses bareback and went to rodeos and tried my hand at riding steers,” she said. “Then I got to be about 13 or 14 and I became very prim and proper.”

She has designed hats and clothing, written scripts and restored the historic John Carter house in Carthage adding the carriage house where she now lives.

“I first wanted to be a newspaper reporter,” Kolpin-Rubison said.

She did freelance work then moved into the new, more exciting medium of radio taking a job as scriptwriter. When she arrived at her new job there was a change in plans, the script agent had quit and Kolpin-Rubison advanced right away. She sold advertising on radio and television in Dodge City, Kan. and saved up for her own station.

“I even sold the test pattern for the Dodge City television station,” Kolpin-Rubison said. “People watched test pattern even they were so eager for television, so I sold it to all the antenna dealers throughout the area.

“When I’d go to convention I’d be the only woman selling time for many, many states around.”

She met and married George Kolpin on the job. Her station was changing from an ABC to CBS affiliate and he was in charge of the transition. During her business trip he suggested dinner and dancing, and she discussed business. When she got home her secretaries told her he had been calling. Soon he was visiting her at the station.

“We met in May and married in October,” Kolpin-Rubison said.

The couple looked at many radio stations. Carthage was her pick, but another buyer already had an option. They decided to settle in New York instead.

Then Carthage called – the other buyer could not raise the money, was she still interested? She raced to redirect the moving vans from New York to Missouri. Her dream had come true.