August 31, 2021
Smethers wins KAB Distinguished Services Award, enters Kansas Broadcasting Hall of Fame
The director of K-State's A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications in the College of Arts and Sciences has been named by the Kansas Association of Broadcasters as the 2021 Distinguished Service Award winner. J. Steven Smethers will receive the award at the KAB's annual convention Oct. 3 in Wichita, where he will also be inducted into the Kansas Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
Smethers is a former Kansas broadcaster. He began his career while in high school in 1968 at the local radio station in Iola, where he was hired as a part-time reporter and announcer. His career took him to several stations in Kansas, most notably as the owner and general manager of KQNK radio in Norton from 1978-1983. He is an alumnus of K-State, having earned his bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications in 1976 and his master's in 1985. While on campus, Smethers worked at student station KSDB-FM and at extension station KKSU.
He is a past member of the Kansas Association of Broadcasters board of directors, and he is currently chair of the KAB Foundation, an organization that awards scholarships annually to students at Kansas colleges and universities.
During his time in graduate school at K-State, Smethers began teaching classes in radio and television, and based on that experience, he decided to leave radio and enter academia. He taught at Northwest Missouri State University from 1985 to 1988, and then at the University of Missouri when he entered the doctoral program in 1988. From 1992 to 2002, Smethers was on the faculty of the School of Journalism and Broadcasting at Oklahoma State University where he directed the department's graduate program.
Smethers joined the faculty of the A.Q. Miller School in 2002, and over the past 20 years, he has served as the head of the radio-television sequence, the associate director of graduate studies, and as the associate director of undergraduate studies before being named director of the program in 2019.
During his time at K-State, Smethers has conducted research in community journalism and emerging media technologies. He coordinated the Great Plains Radio History Symposium from 2006-2014.
Smethers will officially retire from K-State in June 2022.