Broadcast Pioneers

The members of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association and the broadcasting faculty and students of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln established the Broadcast Pioneer Award to recognize those indivduals whose long term leadership has contributed to the high quality of Nebraska broadcasting and to the high quality of broadcast education.

Recipients are honored each year in April during the Annual J-Days celebration on the university campus.  

RECIPIENTS

2000 - RAY LOCKHART
Formerly of KOGA AM-FM/ KMCX, Ogallala, Nebraska (Prophet Systems/radio computers); Past NBA President/Chair of the NBA Board of Directors.  Two term member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Broadcasters; Member, NBA Hall of Fame; Leader in the integration of computer sytems (provided machines an software to use) as a part of NU academic coursework in broadcasting.

2000 - HAROLD SODERLUND
Former owner of Soderlund Company (station representative firm);  former owner of Radio Station KOOO,Omaha; Former Sales Manager of KFAB, Omaha; endowed the Soderlund Professsorship in broadcasting at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln;  through the NBA Foundation, helped fund the Soderlund Sales Seminars (satellite and videoconferencing )for continuing education for broadcast sales personnel; Member  Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.

2001 - DON MEIER
Executive Producer, The Wild Kingdom television series, sponsored by Mutual of Omaha.  Successful television producer/director in Chicago, Illinois with Zoo Parade, which was the basis for Wild Kingdom.  Provided scholarship opportunities for western Nebraska students to attend the university.  Member,  Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.

2002  GORDON CHARLES BUD PENZ
Former Owner, KWBE AM/FM, Beatrice, Nebraska.  Past NBA President/Chair NBA Board of Directors. Former member, Nebraska Educational Television Commission.  Instrumental in the discussions (with UNL Chancellor Young) which led to the independent status of (then) School of Journalism.  Member, NBA Hall of Fame.

2003 - RICHARD W. CHAPIN
Former President of Stuart Broadcasting (including stations KFOR AM and KFOR TV, Lincoln, Nebraska. Media Broker, Past Chair, Joint Boards of Directors, National Association of Broadcasters.  Twice NBA President and Chair NBA Board of Directors.  Frequent speaker in NU Broadcasting classes.  Established (Richard W. Chapin) scholarship fund for broadcasting majors.  Charter Member,  NBA Hall of Fame.

2004 - MAX BROWN
Founding General Manager of KRVN AM, Lexington, Nebraska.  Past member, NBA Board of Directors. Key advocate for agricultural information/content for braodcasting.  Worked to provide scholarship funding and to attract university students to ag broadcasting careers.  Member, NBA Hall of Fame.

2005 - ROBERT E. (BOB) THOMAS
Long time general manager of WJAG AM/KEXL FM, Norfolk, Nebraska.  Twice NBA President/Chair Board of Directors.  Son of Arthur Thomas (one of the NBA founders) and father of Robb Thomas, who also served as NBA President/Chair of the NBA Board of Directors.  Charter Member, NBA Hall of Fame.

2006  ROGER LARSON
Retired General Manager of Radio Station KFOR AM, and related FM station (KFOR-FM/KHKS/KFRX). Twice NBA President and Chair, NBA Board of Directors.  Former member Nebraska Educational Television Commission.  Established (Roger Larson) scholarship for broadcasting majors.  Mentor to many NU students who went on to successful broadcasting careers.

2007 - GARY FRIES
Fries has spent his entire professional life in radio as a salesperson, general manager, group head and network president.  He began his career at KFOR Radio, and retired in 2006 as head of the Radio Advertising Bureau, a position he held since 1991.  Fries has been listed in Radio Ink Magazine's To 40 Most Powerful People in RAdio every year since 1996 and was named Radio Executive of the year in 1993.  In 1994, he was roasted by the Bayliss Broadcast Foundation and inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame.  The Illinois Broadcasters Association bestowed its state honor on him in 1999, and in 2000 he received the Arkansas Broadcasters Pinnacle Award.

2008-ULYSSES CARLINI Sr.
Carlini began his television career in the production department at WEHT TV, Henderson, KY, in 1953.  His responsibilities included announcing, writing, sales and production.  He hosted his own kids program, "Peppo the Clown" in a live weekly hourlong program on Saturday morning.   In 1959, he moved to Evansville, IN at WTVW-TV as program director.  He continued to entertain kids with the creation of the "Fire Chief Andy."  In 1968 he assumed the position of vice-president/general manager of KNOP-TV, North Platte, NE, and later, KIIT-TV, a low power VHF station, which signed on in 1995.  He served the Nebraska Broadcasters Association as a board member in the 1970's and has a long history of being involved as a community leader in North Platte.  He became a member of the NBA Hall of Fame in 2005

2009- LARRY RICE
Larry Rice is owner and general manager of KBRB AM/FM in Ainsworth, NE.  The son of C.C. and Sylvia Rice, he grew up on a farm owned by his uncle and managed by his father near Pickering, MO.  Rice attended Northwest Missouri State in Maryville intending to become a high school coach.  His broadcast career started with a part-time announcing job at KNIM in Maryville in 1956.  It became full time and he received an offer from KFEQ-TV in St. Joseph, MO., to become the station's weatherman in 1959.  At the same time, he was a disc jockey at KFEQ radio and that led to another offer, this time with KBKC in Kansas City and KBRX in O'Neil, NE.   He became manager of KBRB in 1968.  Rice and his former boss at KNIM renunited to become partners in the ownwership and operation of KBRX for the next 10 years.  Ainsworth named Rice as its Businessman of the year and he received the governor's business achievement award.  He is past president of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association and was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1993.

2010- RON HULL
Ron Hull currently serves as a special advisor to the Nebraska Educational Telecommunication (NET) and is a professor emeritus of broadcasting at the J school.  He retired in 2003 as manager of KUON-TV and associate general manager of the Nebraska ETV Network.   Hull received a bachelor's degree at Dakota Wesleyan University,  a Master's from Syracuse University and his doctorate from UNL, and a Notable Alumnus Award from UNL in 1997.   After KUON-TV signed on in 1954, Ron began his career at KUON in 1955 as a producer and director.  He served as director of the program fund for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and also initiated "the American Experience" series.   He served as a special adviser to programming at the PBS, where he also served two terms on the board of directors.   Hull also worked for the U.S. Information Agency as a TV adviser to the South Vietnamese government.   He was elected chair of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission in Nebraska and the immediate past president of the Mari Sandoz Pioneer Memorial.  He is also a former board member of the John G. Neihardt Foundation.  In 2004, Hull was inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters' Association Hall of Fame.

2011- KEN J. ELKINS
Ken J. Elkins is a member of the Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) board of directors.   He joined the board in 1991 and served as its chairman from 2001 to 2004.  Elkins begain his broadcasting career at KETV, Omaha, as a camera operator.  He moved to Dubuque, Iowa, for an assistant chief engineer and general manager position with KDUB-TV.  In 1972 he returned to KETV where he served as operations manager, general sales manager, and general manager.  When Pulitzer Broadcasting Company bought KETV in 1976, Elkins retained his position as general manager.  He transferred to KSDK-TV, Pulitzer's flagship station in St. Louis, in 1980.  In 1984, he was named president and chief executive officer of Pulitzer Broadcasting and oversaw seven television and two radio stations.  Elkins  served as chairman of the NBC Television Affiliate Board of Directors, was a board member of the National Association of Broadcasters and member of the Television Board of Advertsing.  He is a past president (now Chairman) of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association and was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1990. 

2012- ERIC BROWN
Eric Brown began his broadcasting career in 1962 and retired in 2012 from full-time work after a 50-year career in radio and television.  A graduate of UNL J- School in 1967, he eared a master's degree from the University of Missouri (Columbia) in 1968 and a Ph.D. from Ohio University in 1975.  As a member of the journalism faculty at South Dakota State University, he was also the director of educational media and manager of KESD FM-TV.  In 1979, he became the general manager of KRVN AM/FM in Lexington, Nebraska when his father, Max Brown, retired.  Those stations are licensed to the Nebraska Rural Radio Association, the only farmer-rancher owned radio group in America.   He served two terms on the board of directors of the NBA, and was president and chair of the board in 1984.  He also served as a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Broadcasters representing Nebraska and Colorado.  He was inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2006.

2013-  JOHN C. MITCHELL
Born December 17, 1924 in Kearney, NE, John graduated cum laude from Kearney State College.  While attending school there, he worked part-time seven days a week for four years as an announcer for KGFW.   Following graduation, He went to Georgetown University School of law in Washington, DC., graduating with honors.  He bought KGFW in 1953.  He moved to Omaha in 1968 and later purchased KRCB in Council Bluffs and acquired additional broadcast properties through the years.  John served as chairman of the Buffalo County Democratic party, state chairman of the Nebraska Democratic Party and was elected as the first national president of the Association of Democratic State Chairmen.  In addition, he served on the original Nebraska Supreme Court Committee on Standardized Jury Instruction and on the Nebraska Supreme Court Committee on Practice and Procedure for 12 years.   He receved the Outstanding Alumnus award from Kearney State College, the Distinguished Service Award and served on the College Foundation Board.  He also served a term on the board of the Omaha Airport Authority.  He was inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 1996. 

2014 - JACK PAYNE  

Jack’s career spanned 47 years, starting in 1946 on WNAD (University of Oklahoma) before retiring in 1988 from Omaha’s KFAB.  Along his journey Jack worked for 17 years in the early days of TV, including time at WOW-TV just 18 months after TV came to Omaha.  Jack called Nebraska Cornhusker Football on WOW-AM from 1951-1967 and was on the Husker Football broadcast team at KFAB from 1970-1992.  He called Husker Basketball home games from 1951-1959 and boosted Creighton University Basketball by calling their games in the 1960’s.  Jack announced the Nebraska State High School Track & Field Championships from 1971-2000 and gained wide acclaim as the P.A. voice of the College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium for 37 years, from 1964-2000.   He became an early member of the Alpha Epsilon Rho broadcast fraternity in 1946 and among his many honors, Jack was inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 1995, is a three-time “Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year” winner, went into the Omaha Press Club’s “Journalists of Excellence” Hall of Fame in 2009 and received their foundation's "Career Achievement Award" in 2011.