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K-State Today

April 8, 2022

Smethers to be honored with retirement reception April 21

Submitted by Seth Burdick

Steven Smethers, director of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, will be honored at a retirement reception on Thursday, April 21, in the Dole Hall lobby. The reception will be a come-and-go event from 4-6 p.m., with remarks beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Smethers has a rich history with Kansas State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications in 1975 and his master’s in 1985. Since becoming a faculty member in 2002, Smethers has served in a variety of capacities: KSDB-FM adviser, head of the radio-TV sequence, associate director of undergraduate studies, associate director of graduate studies and associate director before being named director. He successfully steered the school through its last accreditation process in fall 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smethers has been connected with the Kansas broadcasting industry since he was a youngster and has a deep commitment to preserving the legacy of that industry and to training future generations who will love and respect that industry as much as he does.

Smethers was inducted into the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in October 2021.

He owned a radio station in Norton from 1978-1983 and that experience, along with others, led him to a research agenda that is grounded in community media and engagement. His doctoral dissertation in 1991 chronicled the art of re-creating baseball game broadcasts for radio and serves as the first book to adequately cover the purpose of the practice and its impact on establishing radio’s tradition of sports broadcasting. He received his doctorate from the University of Missouri in 1992.

That year, he joined the faculty in the School of Journalism and Broadcasting at Oklahoma State University, where he spent 10 years teaching broadcasting classes. He also served as the director of the department’s graduate program.

Smethers conducted research designed to help Kansas communities explore alternative media delivery sources for relaying community news. His community journalism research interests have also included regional histories of local broadcasting, and how rural radio stations reflect the lifestyles of the people they served. His research has been published in such journals as the Newspaper Research Journal, Journal of Radio Studies, American Journalism, the Online Journal of Rural Research and Policy and Grassroots Editor. He has also presented many of his research papers at conferences sponsored by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, the National Newspaper Association, the Broadcast Education Association and others. From 2006-2014, Smethers coordinated the Great Plains Radio History Symposium, which highlighted the legacy of broadcasting in Kansas and adjoining rural Midwestern states.

He will retire from K-State at the end of June.