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KAB Will Add Three to Its Hall of Fame

The Kansas Association of Broadcasters announces individual honors

Kansas Association of Broadcasters logoThe Kansas Association of Broadcasters will add three members to the Kansas Broadcasting Hall of Fame in October.

Don Free, Jack Oliver and Wyatt Thompson will join the hall. Their bios from KAB appear below.

They’ll be honored at KAB’s convention in October.

Also to be honored are Laura Capps of SummitMedia with the Mike Oatman Award for Broadcast Sales Excellence; Matt Althouse of Eagle Communications with the Rising Star Radio Award; and Lily Wu of KWCH(TV) with the Rising Star TV Award.

Hall of Fame bios (text from KAB):

Don Free headshot
Don Free

Don Free is a Topeka resident and has spent over 50 years in broadcasting. He joined the Air Force in 1964 and in 1967 while stationed at Forbes Air Base in Topeka, started working part time at WIBW-TV.  Following his discharge from the Air Force, he went full-time as their cameraman and directing news. Four years later, Don moved into engineering. In 1985, Don had the opportunity to engineer 15 radio games for the Royals Radio Network, the year they won the World Series. The next season, he was hired full time with the Royals and started his 32-year-long dream job. Don retired from the Royals following the 2017 season. Despite being retired, Don continues to engineer some radio games for visiting teams at Kauffman Stadium and works with the Kansas State Football Radio Network as an engineer. Don was inducted into the Shawnee County Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018 and received the Bob Fidler Award designated for a media member who helped promote the sport.

Jack Oliver — Since 1969, Jack has worked at numerous Wichita radio stations including KLEO (1969) (only a few overnights), then on to KGNO in Dodge City and then Back to Wichita at KAKE (1973-1979), and KKRD (1980-2004). Since 2004, Jack has been program director at KEYN (Audacy, Inc.).

Jack Oliver sitting in a radio studio
Jack Oliver

Previously, he was heard daily from 12-7 p.m. However, following the death of Don Hall in April of 2020, Jack moved from afternoons to host the KEYN morning show. Jack advises young radio broadcasters to “find a city that likes you and stay for a while.” Early in his broadcast career, Jack received a first-class radiotelephone operator’s license through the FCC. Jack is from Wynnewood, Oklahoma. He’s a 1968 graduate of South High School in Wichita and earned a master’s degree in Business Communications from Wichita State University. Jack is very active in Wichita’s Native American Community and served on the board of directors of the All-American Indian Center for ten years. Jack has also helped to raise millions of dollars for local charities.

Wyatt Thompson has been in the broadcasting industry for over 40 years. In 1976, he was working part-time for Kay Melia’s radio and television stations in Goodland, Kansas. Later, he was offered a full-time position at the Goodland stations. During this time, Wyatt learned production, news, sports, for both radio and television. During the next 10 years Wyatt made radio stops in Goodland,

Wyatt Thompson speaking at a podium
Wyatt Thompson

Abilene, Great Bend, and Arkansas City. From 1985 until 1989 Thompson worked for KAYS radio and television in Hays, Kansas. He was the play-by-play voice for Ft. Hays State. In 1989, Thompsons career took him to Fort Collins, Colorado, where he had his first Division 1 opportunity covering The Colorado State Rams. He hosted Countdown to Kickoff for the Denver Broncos as well as the “Zone Sports Insiders” show on KOA. In 2002, K-State announced Wyatt Thompson would be the new voice for K-State Athletics. In addition to play-by-play responsibilities for football, basketball, and selected K-State baseball games, he is the host for football and basketball coaches show on the K-State Radio Network. Additionally, Wyatt hosts weekly television shows for football and basketball throughout the state. Wyatt dedicates lots of time to his K-State community by appearing for gatherings, mentoring, appearances, and interviews. Wyatt enters his 21st year with his on-air partner Stan Weber for the 2022-23 sports season. Wyatt has received numerous broadcast awards during his career, including the KAB’s best play-by-play in 1982, the Oscar Stauffer Sportscaster of the Year in 1989 and the Hod Humiston Award for Sports Broadcasting in 2011. Since arriving at K- State, he has been recognized as the Kansas Sportscaster of the Year award six times.