In a reversal of the historic development of two major advances in communication, Missouri Southern received first a television station and, after that, a radio station in the 1983-92 period. It was the beginning of a major advance for the institution.
The Communications Department, created in 1980 and provided an outstanding example of growth and academic enrichment. Communications, encompassing the areas of foreign language, journalism and speech, found in broadcasting, which was a logical extension of the latter two areas, a field that could prepare students for immediate job opportunities in radio and television.
The initial entry into broadcasting involved the installation in 1984 of a television studio at a cost of $150,000. Its programs were carried on channel 18 to 8,600 homes in Joplin, Webb City and Carterville that had cable connections. Programming consisted of student productions and a learning channel that featured commercial television courses.
A major expansion came two years later when KOZK, a Springfield public television station, established a Joplin satellite, KOZJ. Though principally a station for the public television network, the Communications Department was allotted approximately seven hours of programming time each week, which greatly expanded the range of Missouri Southern Television( MSTV) for part of its productions.
The department’s next step in television programming was the establishment of its own broadcasting station in 1988. Licensed by the Federal Communications Commission as station K57DR, its low power gave it a range of little more than the city limits of Joplin, but it extended MSTV coverage to homes without cable connections, thereby reaching approximately 20,800 homes.
Radio station KXMS rounded out the Communication Department’s curriculum in broadcasting. Established in 1986, with Dr. Robert Clark as general manager, KXMS aired classical music on a 24-hour-per-day schedule. Students did the programming except for an occasional satellite pickup of an opera broadcast or other special event. In 1988, the antenna was raised and power increased to give the station more general range.
Many improvements have taken place in the years since the development of the television and radio stations on the Missouri Southern campus. Today television station KGCS, headed by General Manager Judy Stiles and radio station 88.7KXMS, overseen by General Manager Jeffrey Skibbe, provide diverse programming to the Missouri Southern campus and the larger local and regional community. Both stations add diversity and depth to electronic media in the Joplin area.
Renner, G.K. In Pursuit of Excellence: Missouri Southern State College, 1937-1992