Schmidt to Receive Broadcast Pioneer Award

Screen Shot 2013-03-13 at 7.50.31 AMBob Schmidt, long time President and CEO of Eagle Communications will be recognized with the Pioneer Award by the Broadcasters Foundation of America.
The award will be presented at the Foundation’s annual breakfast on April 10, during the National Association of Broadcaster’s Show in Las Vegas.  In addition to Schmidt, four other individuals with highly distinguished careers will also be honored for their contributions to the broadcast industry. They include Charles Osgood, CBS News; Skip Finley, Former executive with Inner City Broadcasting; David Kennedy, former President and CEO of Susquehanna Broadcasting; and Mike McKinnon of McKinnon Broadcasting.
Schmidt’s former leadership positions have included:
  • Past Chairman of the CBS Television Network Affiliates Association
  • Past Chairman of the National Associated Press Broadcasters Association
  • Past Chairman of the Kansas Association of Broadcasters
  • Past Chairman of Kansas State Chamber of Commerce
  • Past Chairman of the Political Action Council of Kansas
  • Community Leadership: Hays United Fund, Smoky Hill Country Club, Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development, and many others
Schmidt served in the Navy in the Philippines in WWII.  He then began a career in Radio while in college as a sportscaster.  Upon graduation from Fort Hays State University in 1950, he was appointed General Manager of KAYS Radio. He was elected Vice President and Director in 1952 of KAYS, Inc.  In 1989 he purchased control of the corporation and was elected President/CEO.  While leading the corporation, the company built or purchased 24 Radio and Television stations and 12 Cable Systems in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Texas.  The company currently owns and operates 28 “Award Winning” community radio stations and serves 30 communities with broadband service including internet, video, and voice service.  The company also offers wireless broadband service in many of the rural areas they serve.  Schmidt retired as President/CEO of Eagle Communications in 1998 and sold the majority interest in the company to its employees through a Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Nearly 300 Eagle Employee Owners continue to build the company and share in the value of ownership. Bob Schmidt maintains his office in Hays and supervises the management of Sweetwater Ranch near Hays, and is actively involved in numerous business projects including real estate, stocks/bonds, and oil and gas development.
Among the leadership award Schmidt has received:
  • “Distinguished Service Award” – Kansas Association of Broadcasters (1972)
  • “Kansas Broadcaster Hall of Fame” – Kansas Association of Broadcasters (2000)
  • “Broadcaster of the Year” – University of Kansas (1964)
  • “Outstanding Young Man of the Year Award” – Hays Chamber of Commerce (1956)
The Pioneer Awards are given annually in recognition of career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at large, and are named in honor of iconic broadcaster Ward L. Quaal.