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

The Emmett Till Memory Project

In 1955, Emmett Till — a black Chicago teenager visiting his relatives in Mississippi — was brutally murdered after reportedly whistling at a white woman. The 14-year-old was abducted, beaten, shot and dumped into the Tallahatchie River with a 75-pound cotton-gin fan tied with barbed wire around his neck.

University of Kansas professor Dave Tell wrote an article contradicting a 50-year-old version of the crime that had been spelled out in Look magazine. This eventually led him to start the Emmett Till Memory Project. Tell recently spoke with KMUW's Carla Eckels about the project and the 63-year-old murder case that helped spark the civil rights movement.

Sunday, August 26

Sunday on Soulsations, hear new music from Jonathan Butler. The South African guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, celebrates the music of Burt Bacharach with his upcoming release, Close to You.

Sunday, August 19

Sunday on a special edition of  Soulsations we remember the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. She passed away from pancreatic cancer on August 16, 2018, at her home in Detroit. Franklin was 76 years old. Hear Franklin's music and some reflections about the iconic singer from fans in the Wichita community.

Edgar B. Smith/

This year is the 60th anniversary of the first successful student-led sit-in of the modern civil rights movement. And it didn’t happen in the South, but rather in the heart of the Midwest: in Wichita.

Sunday, August 5

Sunday on Soulsations, dance music from Roy Moye III. The Wichita urban gospel artist has released a new line-dance tune called “Hallelujah Slide,” receiving more than 18 thousand views on Facebook. Moye gained wide exposure during his performance with rapper/actor Common at the Wichita Riverfest in 2017. He’s won a national singing competition and sang the national anthem at KC Royals and Chiefs games. Moye is working on a new project to be released this fall and is teaching his line-dance at events around Wichita, including St. Paul AME Church on August 8th.

Carla Eckels / KMUW

The Wichita Family Crisis Center has seen a steady rise in clients each month since the beginning of the year.

The emergency shelter, formally known as the YWCA Women’s Crisis Center, is seeing a number of women, children and even more men since the name change in 2016.

Tracey Gay, director of client services, says domestic violence is about power and control. She says the numbers may be climbing due to more awareness of the problem.

Last year, Gay says, nearly 1700 clients were served, with 310 housed at the shelter.

Real Men Real Heroes / Facebook

Real Men Real Heroes, a mentoring program for young men, will host its 10th annual awards banquet in Wichita on Thursday.

Actor Ernie Hudson may be best known for his role in the 1984 blockbuster movie Ghostbusters. Real Men Real Heroes co-founder Buddy Shannon says Hudson will share some of his life experiences at the banquet.

Sunday, July 29

Sunday on Soulsations, the soulful sounds of 70s and 80s R&B artist Evelyn "Champagne" King. The energetic singer was discovered at the early age of 14 when she accompanied her mother to her workplace at Philadelphia International Records. King was pushing a vacuum cleaner after hours and singing when producer T. Life overheard her and assured King he’d make her a star. King is known for such hits as "Love Come Down" and "Shame," which became one of the first records to be inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame.  King will be featured in Wichita’s 4th annual Grub & Groove festival on August 25th at the Capitol Federal Amphitheater in Andover.

Carla Eckels/KMUW

The Midwest Historical & Genealogical Society Research Library is located inside a 100-year-old white house near 12th and Main. It has more than 21,000 volumes of books, records, documents and photos. KMUW’s Carla Eckels spoke with society president Rex Riley and librarian Julia Langel about what the library has to offer — and what it’s looking for.

Sunday, July 22

Sunday on Soulsations, brand new sounds from legendary R&B band Change. The band was formed in Italy in the late 70s and heavily influenced by the group Chic. Change produced music in the 80s including the million seller funky tune, "A Lover’s Holiday" and "Paradise." The band’s debut album, The Glow of Love featured lead vocalist Luther Vandross. Change returns with original members Davide Romani and Mauro Malavasi, and new vocalist Tanya Michelle Smith. Hear their new single “Hit or Miss” from their forthcoming project Love 4 Love, scheduled to be released in September 2018.