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 has been an award-winning announcer and news producer for KMUW since 1996. Carla also produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations that airs Sundays at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. She annually emcees Gospelfest at the Wichita River Festival and was voted Best Disc Jockey by subscribers of The Community Voice. Prior to coming to KMUW, Carla was the local host for NPR’s Morning Edition at WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and co-hosted a nationally syndicated gospel radio show in Cincinnati. Carla was also program director for KIBN, the Inspirational Black Network in Wichita, hosted the Joyful Sounds gospel show on Q92-FM and produced the number one gospel radio show on KSJM 107.9 JAMZ from 2004 to 2007.

In November 2020, Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame for her work in broadcast/journalism.


Carla has reported on national news stories for NPR, such as the Hesston shootings, BTK serial killer case, Scott Roeder trial, Greensburg tornado and the 1958 Dockum Drug Store sit-in. In October 2018, she received the Sonny Slater Award for Service to Station and Community from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters. In January 2018, Carla was honored with the Drum Major Award at Wichita State University's MLK Unity Walk. Several of her news stories have been recognized with first place awards from the KAB, including the 2018 special program ‘Hope For The Future’: The Dockum Sit-In, Sixty Years On and the 2018 sports feature Hot Towels, Tapered Cuts: Local Barbershop Welcomes NCAA Tournament. She received the prestigious National Edward R. Murrow Award in 2017 for her work on the story Then And Now: The Summer Of Justice and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Newman Basketball Coach And Wife Recount His Struggle With Depression—And His Return To ‘Normal’. In April 2016, Wichita State University presented Carla with the Wayne Carlisle Distinguished Service Award in April 2016. The Carlisle Award is presented to a WSU professional who models the standard of extraordinary service exhibited by the late Wayne Carlisle.

Ways to Connect

Sunday, May 9

Gospel great Kirk Franklin has a timely new remix of “Can You Feel It” by The Jacksons featuring Tamela Mann. We’re also celebrating the birthday of musical genius Stevie Wonder, who turns 71 on May 13. Hear several of his classic tunes and an interview with his childhood friend Margaret Terry from Detroit. Plus, Soulsations listener Terry Atwater from Wichita shares his DoubleTake pick: “At Your Best (You Are Love)” by the ever soulful Isley Brothers and covered by the talented Aaliyah.

Courtesy of the artist

Sunday, May 2

Get ready for some irresistible music this week on Soulsations. Hear new sounds from Ariel J., a jazzy tune from Rachelle Ferrell, classics from Michael Jackson and The Natural Four, and uplifting gospel from New Direction. We’ll also hear from singer/songwriter/pianist Victoria Theodore about what it’s like to audition for a coveted spot in Stevie Wonder’s band. Plus, listener Jordan Kirtley brings us this week’s DoubleTake featuring the engaging groove “Take Me To The River” by the soulful Al Green with a live cover version by the innovative band Talking Heads.

Carla Eckels / KMUW

Sunday, April 25

Gospel giant Yolanda Adams speaks with Soulsations host Carla Eckels about co-writing the infectious, uplifting song “Already Alright”. We’ll also hear a new single by EEDB, Tony Tuklan and Tito Jackson of legendary Jackson Five fame. Plus, Google recently celebrated the birthday of Luther Vandross with a Google Doodle. We’ll join in the celebration by sharing his engaging music, including a DoubleTake of his tune “Don’t You Know That” with a cover by Rahsaan Patterson. Also hear classics from Diana Ross and The Supremes, Roberta Flack, The Bar-Kays, Slave, and The Pointer Sisters remind us “Yes We Can Can.” 

Here's part of Carla Eckels' conversation with Yolanda Adams:

 Sunday, April 18

Nine-time Grammy-nominated R&B and gospel singer Kelly Price recently signed with Motown Gospel. She poured her heart and soul into her second gospel project Grace after the loss of her grandfather early in the 2020 pandemic and the sudden passing of her mother at the end of the year. Hear brand new music from that release, which is becoming one of Price’s most inspirational and moving projects to date. Also this week on Soulsations, it’s the soulful sounds of Kem and Charlie Wilson and The Brand New Heavies.  Plus, this week’s DoubleTake features the legendary Al Jarreau with “Roof Garden” followed by a version from Chris Walker who served as Al Jarreau’s musical director, co-vocalist and bassist for more than twenty years. 

Carla Eckels / KMUW

This story was updated April 14  

The NoMar Theater in Wichita's North End has a new owner.

Sunday, April 11

Earth, Wind & Fire and The Isley Brothers were recently featured in the webcast series Verzuz. It’s an incredibly popular friendly music “battle” on social media created by producers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz. Coming up on Soulsations, we’ll share hits from the two legendary bands. Plus, a new two-stepping tune from The Isley Brothers featuring Snoop Dogg, classics from Chaka Khan and The Bar-Kays, and an engaging ballad from Shelea. We’ll also “Get Up For The Downstroke” with a funky DoubleTake from Parliament and jazz band BWB.

Here's the official music video for "Friends and Family" by The Isley Brothers featuring Ronald Isley and Snoop Dogg:

Courtesy Karew Entertainment

Sunday, April 4

It's an hour of uplifting gospel music this Sunday during Easter weekend. Hear inspirational tunes from CeCe Winans, Walter Hawkins, The Clark Sisters, The Whispers, Rev. Milton Brunson with the Thompson Community Singers, and Wichita's own Shekinah Gospel Singers. L'Tanya Moore shares how she came to record the Easter song "He Decided to Die'' and Dorinda Clark-Cole talks about co-writing "He Can" from The Clark Sisters' latest album The Return. Plus, this week's DoubleTake features the classic "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power" by the godfather of contemporary gospel music Andrae Crouch and covered by Smokie Norful featuring the 12th District AME Church Choir.

Carla Eckels / KMUW

Black Kansans have received the COVID-19 vaccine at about half the rate of white Kansans.

Now, as the vaccine rollout continues, there’s been a growing effort to close that gap.

Sunday, March 21

This week on Soulsations, hear R&B classics from The Commodores, The BlackByrds and Patrice Rushen. We’ll share a new tune by gospel trailblazers Jonathan McReynolds and Mali Music, who just picked up a Grammy. Also, we’re sending out an SOS from the sensational S.O.S. Band; legendary lead singer Mary Davis is leaving the group — with the band’s full support — to continue recovering from an illness. We’ll share signature sounds from the “Groovin” band and pass along how you can audition to become their new lead vocalist. Plus, this week’s DoubleTake features the 1977 ballad “How Deep is Your Love” by the legendary Bee Gees, and an updated version by PJ Morton. 

Sunday, March 14

Hear brand new music by H.E.R. from the movie soundtrack of Judas and the Black Messiah. Also classics from Sade, Marvin Gaye and Skyy. Gospel icon Dorinda Clark Cole stresses the importance of staying healthy during the pandemic and shares a technique she uses to keep her voice in tip top shape. Plus this week’s DoubleTake features the 1980 song “Back Together Again” by legends Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. We'll hear the original and a cover by British R&B and jazz singer Tony Momrelle and Chante Chann.