K-State Research and Extension News
October 30, 2013
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Kansas Journalism Leaders Honored by Huck Boyd Institute and Center

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Dolph Simons, Jr. of the World Company in Lawrence and Bob Schmidt and Gary Shorman of Eagle Communications in Hays have been honored for outstanding work in community newspapers and radio, respectively.

Simons received the 2013 Huck Boyd Leader of the Year award in Community Newspapers and Schmidt and Shorman received the Huck Boyd Leader of the Year award in Community Radio. The Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development and the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media at Kansas State University made the selections and presented the awards on Oct. 24 in Manhattan.

“These journalists have demonstrated outstanding business leadership and commitment to their communities,” said Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd Institute.

Dolph Simons, Jr. is editor and chairman of the World Company which publishes the Lawrence Journal-World and other newspapers in northeast Kansas. His first job with the newspaper was as a carrier when he was a boy. Simons has grown the business to include papers in neighboring communities as well as serving as a print site for USA Today. He has led the business into innovative ventures with cable television and online publishing. His sons Dolph Simons III and Dan Simons have now joined him in the family business.

"I think Dolph's passion for the communities reached by his newspapers and their online news sites is remarkable," said Gloria Freeland, director of the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media. "Dolph and his family continue to explore new technologies, but their love for journalism and their communities is unchanging."

Bob Schmidt is chairman and retired CEO of Eagle Communications in Hays. He was a play-by-play announcer at KAYS radio before he partnered with visionary entrepreneur Ross Beach to create and develop what would become Eagle Communications, a leader in the broadcast and telecommunications industry. When Bob retired, he was succeeded by Gary Shorman, the current president and CEO. Through the years, Eagle Communications built or purchased 20 radio stations, four television stations, and 12 cable systems in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Texas.  The company also implemented an employee stock ownership program so it is now 100 percent employee-owned. 

“Through his pioneering leadership in developing radio, television, cable TV, telephone and internet services, Bob Schmidt has provided communication channels that have kept information and interpersonal communications flowing for thousands of people in the rural Midwestern states,” said Steve Smethers, associate director of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications at K-State.  

“Gary Shorman literally grew up in Kansas broadcasting and has always understood the importance of localism in community media,” Smethers said. “The motto of Eagle Communications is ‘Our communities connected.’ That’s a value that Gary has stood for throughout his career.”

The Huck Boyd Institute honors Leaders of the Year annually in several categories from among those featured on its weekly Kansas Profile radio program and column during the previous 12 months. Kansas Profile is distributed by the K-State Radio Network and K-State Research and Extension News to radio stations and newspapers state-wide and beyond. For more information, see Kansas Profiles.

The Huck Boyd Foundation of Phillipsburg, Kan. supports two projects at K-State: the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development in partnership with K-State Research and Extension and the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media in the A. Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Ron J. Wilson
K-State Research & Extension News

Ron Wilson - 785-532-7690 or rwilson@ksu.edu