Carla Eckels

Director of Cultural Diversity, news & engagement | 'Soulsations' Music Host

Carla Eckels is Director of Cultural Diversity for news and engagement at KMUW.  She's been an award-winning announcer/news producer for KMUW 89.1FM, Wichita Public Radio for 21 years. Carla also produces a R&B and gospel show Soulsations, Sunday nights at 6 on KMUW.  She also hosted Joyful Sounds, a Sunday morning gospel radio show on Q92FM.  Prior to KMUW, she was the local host for NPR’s Morning Edition at WYSO public radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio and co-hosted a nationally syndicated Gospel Countdown Radio show in Cincinnati. Carla also was program director for KIBN, 90.7 The Inspirational Black Network in Wichita. 

In January 2018, she was honored with the Drum Major Award at Wichita State University's MLK Unity Walk.   In April 2016, WSU presented Carla with the exclusive honor of the Wayne Carlisle Distinguished Service Award, The Carlisle Award is presented to an unclassified professional who models the standard of extraordinary service exhibited by the late Wayne Carlisle.

Carla has reported on national news stories such as the Hesston Shootings, BTK serial killer case, Roeder trial, Greensburg tornadoes and the 1958 Dockum Drug Store sit-in for NPR.  The Dockum feature was the number one listened to story on KMUW’s website in 2007.

Aileen LeBlanc and Carla Eckels have been awarded a prestigious national 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for their news feature looking at the return of ant-abortion demonstrations to Wichita. Eckels is the recipient of two Edward R. Murrow regional awards for her reporting including a 2015 award for her story on Shockers Men's Basketball: A Candid Look. Carla also won a Public Service Announcement, 2nd place: “A Wichita Basketball Coach Overcomes Depression” in 2017 and a 1st place Kansas Association of Broadcasting award in 2015  for her story on Bipolar Disorder and 2nd place for DJ Personality Aircheck for Soulsations.  Carla has annually emceed the Wichita River Festival and Black Arts Festival gospel music segments.

From 2004 to 2007, Carla hosted the number one gospel radio show on KSJM 107.9 JAMZ. She is the recipient of the Best Disc Jockey award voted on by subscribers of The Community Voice Newspaper.

Carla is a graduate of Wichita State University with a degree in communications. Her greatest joy is her family. She is married to Wichita and WSU Football Hall-of-Famer, Reuben Eckels and they have two children.

Ways to Connect

A national program recently introduced in Wichita is helping people with serious mental illness get the support they need through the Sedgwick County Court system.

The Assisted Outpatient Treatment program helps people suffering from anosognosia, which impairs a person from perceiving his illness, such as bipolar or schizophrenia. Gerry Lichti coordinates community projects for NAMI Wichita, a local mental illness support group.

Lichti says clients have been issued a court order requiring them to follow a mental health treatment plan.

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Sunday, December 16

Hear a new holiday release by neo-soul and R&B artist, Sy Smith. The project is called Christmas in Syberspace, which Smith says is something to get you into the holiday spirit– but with a Syber-twist to it. We'll also hear traditional classics including “Oh Holy Night” from gospel singer and pianist Smokie Norful. Plus hear the latest edition of the new segment, That’s My Song.

A monument was unveiled last Friday at Kansas' Fort Leavenworth to honor the only black Women's Army Corps unit to deploy overseas during World War II.

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Sunday, December 9

Sunday on Soulsations, more Christmas music as we celebrate the season. R&B singer John Legend has released his first holiday album, A Legendary Christmas. Raphael Saadiq is the executive producer. The legendary Stevie Wonder plays harmonica on “What Christmas Means To Me,” a song Wonder recorded 51 years ago. Also noted jazz artist Esperanza Spalding is featured on “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”

Plus, another installment of That’s My Song from Soulsations listener Crystal Johnson Turner.

Sunday, December 2

Sunday on Soulsations, new Christmas music...featuring PJ Morton, CeCe Winans, and sounds from the new release Motown Gospel Christmas.

Today marks the premiere of “That's My Song,” where listeners share one of their personal favorite tunes. This week we'll hear from listener Trudy Martin, sharing one of her Christmas favorites. 


The Dennis Family is gearing up for its 35th annual Christmas concert in Wichita. The nine siblings provide holiday cheer every year through song and support of a local charity.

Sunday, November 25

It’s been four months since the iconic singer Aretha Franklin died (August 16, 2018) from pancreatic cancer in her hometown of Detroit. Fans from around the world have taken part in tributes and other projects to honor Aretha. A 1972 gospel concert film, Amazing Grace, has just been released featuring the Queen of Soul. Hear listeners in Wichita share their reflections and enjoy an entire hour of Aretha Franklin music on this encore edition of Soulsations with Carla Eckels, Sunday night at 6 on KMUW.

Sunday, November 18

Sunday on Soulsations, Wichita’s own singer/song writers and national recording artists, Rudy & Bob Love talk about their favorite song they’ve recorded by their band, Rudy Love & The Love Family. Hear the tune the two brothers co-wrote with Durell Berry saying, it’s their anthem coming up on Soulsations with Carla Eckels, Sunday at 6pm on KMUW.  

African-Americans Renewing Interest In Spirituals Ensemble (ARISE) is celebrating three decades of singing.

"This year we are celebrating 30 years of spirituals and storytelling and the life and legacy of the African American in this country," says Dr. Sharon Cranford, president of ARISE.

Sunday, November 11

Sunday on Soulsations - a bit of jazz.  We remember Grammy award-winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove, who died November 2, 2018 at the age of 49 in New York.  Mentored by Winton Marsalis, Hargrove was known for his traditional jazz as well as his work with D'Angelo, Common and Erykah Badu.  He also formed the group RH Factor that included an urban flavor of modern jazz, hip hop, R&B and gospel music.