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KSU Journalism School director to be inducted into Hall of Fame

A Hall of Fame career started with a letter of complaint to a local radio station.
Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 6:52 PM CDT|Updated: 15 hours ago
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - A Hall of Fame career started with a letter of complaint to a local radio station. As a teenager, Steve Smethers wrote a letter to the Iola radio station, KALN, to complain about the change in programming.

“I came home from school, I turned on the radio and I wasn’t hearing my Top 40 program anymore, and so, I wrote the complaint letter based on that.” Kansas State University, A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications director, Steve Smethers says.

Station manager, Welcome Stanton, was so impressed with Smethers’ writing, he invited Smethers to visit the radio station to read a couple scripts.

“He said…you know as soon as your voice deepens, we could use you around here. Honestly that’s how I got into radio, and I wasn’t planning on doing it.” Smethers says.

Smethers spent decades using his passion for community news to fuel his research to help Kansas communities find alternative ways to deliver news to the people in their area.

“I can’t imagine a life that has been more rewarding, than working with young people, or working with people in local communities.” Smethers says.

Joining Kansas State University’s A. Q. Miller School of Journalism in 2002, Smethers has seen numerous students make a name for themselves.

“I think it’s probably one of the great joys of our jobs is to be able to see where our graduates go.” Smethers says.

The Kansas Association of Broadcasters recently announced Smethers will be presented the Distinguished Service Award, as well as being inducted into the K.A.B. Hall of Fame in October.

“It’s very humbling, because this was something that was done by surprise, there was a combination of faculty and alumni who worked on this.” Smethers says.

Smethers will retire from K-State in May of 2022 and plans to become more involved in tourism in Kansas.

“It has been a remarkably charmed life; I don’t think I’d change a thing.” Smethers says.

You can also find Smethers volunteering as a narrator for the Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad in Abilene.

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