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Sources: Steve Smethers, 785-532-5286,;
and Dave MacFarland, 785-537-1505,
News release prepared by: Emily Vietti, 785-532-2535,

Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010


MANHATTAN -- The Great Plains Radio History Symposium invites participants to learn more about the history of Midwestern radio and its programming.

The fifth annual symposium begins at 8 a.m. Friday, Oct. 22, in Room 212 at the K-State Student Union.

The panel discussion "Homemaking Programs: Radio's Recipe for Attracting Women Listeners" begins at 9 a.m. The panel includes Evelyn Birkby, historian and radio program host at KMA in Shenandoah, Iowa; Vernadell Yarrow, former radio program host from Clay Center; and Deanne Wright, professor emeritus, K-State Extension.

After the panel, papers on topics such as women in radio, collegiate sports radio, and specific stations and radio personalities will be presented. Presenters include Ralph Titus, K-State professor emeritus of extension communications, and individuals from several other universities, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Kansas, Wichita State University, Wartburg College and Oklahoma State University.

From 12:30-2 p.m. the symposium will break to honor Richard Ward Fatherley at a luncheon in the Landon Room at the Holiday Inn. Fatherley, who died in March 2010, was dedicated to preserving radio's legacy, said Steve Smethers, K-State associate professor of journalism and mass communications.

Fatherley was a radio voice talent and producer who was entranced by radio at an early age, said Dave MacFarland, K-State associate professor emeritus of electronic media. Fatherley was a proponent of the hugely successful Top-40 radio format, and he worked at two major Midwestern radio stations, both owned by the Storz family: WHB in Kansas City, Mo., and KXOK in St. Louis, Mo.

"He could walk into a room and windows would rattle," Smethers said. "His voice had such a booming, resonant sound. His voice was so prevalent in this area, most people would recognize it if they heard it."

Fatherley also was one of the originators of the Great Plains Radio History Symposium, along with Smethers and MacFarland. He used his vast connections to the radio business to help get the symposium off the ground.

"This is something that really is special to the Great Plains area," MacFarland said. "It never would've happened if Dick hadn't said, 'This history is being missed and going to waste.' He helped widen the appeal of the symposium and knew how to get people to come to the first couple iterations and present at them."

The symposium is sponsored by the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, the Huck Boyd Institute for Rural Development and the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media.

To attend both the conference and the luncheon, please register by Friday, Oct.15. The conference is $10; the luncheon costs an extra $15. If you wish to register only for the conference presentations, you may register in advance or at the door. Students will be admitted to any of the presentations at no charge. Register at: