Hayes Through The Haze: A KMUW Retrospective
Many KMUW milestones have come and gone since the beginning of Wichita Public Radio on April 26, 1949. This summer you helped us celebrate the station's 65th birthday at our 7th Fill Your Mug event at the Eaton Venue.
After some prodding from my colleagues, they got me remembering KMUW's 30th Diamond Jubilee birthday in April of 1979. Our six-member staff, along with our student staff, and many listeners celebrated the day at Towne East Square on the elevated stage they had at that time in the very center of the relatively new mall. Some of our programming originated from the stage, but most emanated from the KMUW studios back at WSU at 17th and Fairmount.
In those days, most of KMUW's programming was locally produced. NPR certainly did not have the large selection of offerings they now have. All Things Considered was carried on KMUW, Monday through Friday. Morning Edition was still two years away.
We invited John Stevenson, host of Parkay Productions Matinee, to come and produce his show live from the stage at Towne East. This was before the days of the Satellite. Matinee was a two-hour classical show that we purchased and received the tapes on 10-in reels each week and then had to mail them on to the next station. It was the age of "bicycling" programming tapes.
John Stevenson's fans turned out to greet him and to enjoy the performace of the Monet Trio. During the day we were joined by 90 Rose Hill second graders on a field trip. In the evening, music was provided by the Continental Ambassadors Drum and Bugle Corps and the WSU Jazz Quintet. And, Pee Wee the clown added a necessary touch to any celebration...balloons!
Concluding and highlighting the day was a party hosted by the WSU Alumni Association. Approximately 200 listeners enjoyed good food and drink and sang "Happy Birthday" to KMUW. Thus, ended the first 30 years of KMUW.
The next 35 years greatly changed the sound and look of KMUW. We became a full-power station in 1987. Today we are a 24/7 station whose signal reaches beyond a 60-mile radius. Our news department produces prize-winning local news and expanded features, and our music hosts produce local music programming which is picked up and played across the U.S.
This story originally appeared in the 2014 KMUW Annual Report.
Pat Hayes was KMUW's Membership Director and served the radio station loyally for 38 years. She is greatly missed.