Springfield, MO

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Senior producer, chief announcer, KSMU, 901 S. National Ave., Springfield. KSMU is a noncommercial (public) radio station with studios and offices at Southwest Missouri State University. The station's format includes National Public Radio news magazines with local and regional reports and public affairs programs; classical, jazz, bluegrass, blues and world music; and public radio programs such as "A Prairie Home Companion," "Car Talk" and "Whad'Ya Know." KSMU was on air in May of 1974 with 5,800 watts and a 205-foot tower. In the mid-1980s, the station increased power to 40,000 watts and added a 441-foot tower. KSMU serves southwest and south central Missouri and northwest and north central Arkansas at 91.1 FM in Springfield, 90.5 FM in Branson, 88.5 FM in Mountain Grove and 101.7 FM in West Plains. In February of 1980, while attending SMSU with help from the G.I. Bill, Smith began his career with KSMU as a student announcer. In July of 1982 he was named chief announcer and given a full-time job. His duties include training and scheduling KSMU student announcers, producing news and public affairs programs and a host of classical and bluegrass music programs, and serving as the morning edition news anchor on Friday mornings. Smith is a member of the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Age: 44. Will be 45 Dec. 11.

No. of years in Springfield area: Has been in Springfield since 1979; was born in Colorado and also lived in Wyoming and South Dakota before moving to Salem, Mo., in 1968.

Education: Graduated from Salem High School. Attended Mineral Area College in Flat River and SMSU.

Early career: In 1969, his first job was as a busboy at a Salem restaurant. He also made a few dollars on the side "playing trombone and singing in a 'Blood, Sweat & Tears' type band," Smith said. In the summer months from 1970 through 1973, he worked 1,500 feet below ground as a lead miner. "In my junior and senior years of high school, at night, I would hang out at KSMO, the local AM radio station. There, I would learn the basics of what would later be my career," Smith said. His first paid position in radio was as a nighttime announcer at KETU FM in Salem. In early 1974, he was named news director at KSMO AM. Early in 1975, he joined the Navy and volunteered for submarine duty, serving on board the nuclear submarine USS Queenfish. "Those early work experiences taught me well, the value of hard work and the development of the work ethic. Working at a young age at a small-town radio station, I learned what radio really means to listeners," Smith said. "Something as simple as a 30-second weather forecast tells parents how to dress their young kids for school. From reports on cattle prices to local city council meetings, radio broadcasters can have a lot of influence on the way listeners conduct their lives. Learning how listeners use radio has been invaluable," Smith said. He went to work for KSMU in 1980.

Current projects: The most important project right now is the moving of the offices of KSMU into the new Public Affairs Classroom Building. Right now, Smith and a few other staffers are still in the former KSMU headquarters at Grand and National; they expect to move into the new building soon, Smith said.

Management philosophy: "Communicate in plain language. When training an employee, create 'real world' problems and situations to be addressed. When possible, be an advocate for the employee."

Spare-time pursuits: Spending time with family, including visits to his father in Salem, and working on his 100-year-old farmhouse on five acres outside Fair Grove. He also likes to float on the Current River and listen to live acoustic music around the area.

Family data: Married to Janet Hicks, a public health investigator with Springfield/Greene County Health Department. Has a stepdaughter, Amy, who is 14 and attends Fair Grove High. The family has four cats and two dogs.

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