HAYS, KS -- It turns out that you can go home again.
Officials for Fort Hays State University and Eagle Radio announced in a joint news conference this morning on the FHSU campus that they have signed a three-year, renewable contract for broadcasting Tiger sports events. As part of the agreement, Steve Webster, long-time "Voice of the Tigers," has been named FHSU's sports information director. He replaces Jack Kuestermeyer, who departed recently to become assistant director of media services for the University of Nevada at Reno.
"It's great to be back with the Eagle family," said Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president. "After half a century with Eagle's KAYS Radio, we decided in July 1988 to sign a broadcast agreement with Radio Inc. We wanted to try some new things and our partnership with Radio Inc. proved to be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, the folks at Eagle had some ideas of their own, which included acquiring Radio Inc."
"I want to emphasize that even during the short time that Radio Inc. was our sports broadcasting partner, Fort Hays State University continued to have a great relationship with Eagle Radio," Hammond continued. "They never wavered in their support for the university, and we continued to look to them as a partner in community projects such as making the visit of 'A T. rex Named Sue' a huge success. Life is full of twists and turns. This chance to renew our sports broadcasting partnership with Eagle Radio is one of the best of those twists and turns."
The president said highlights of the new contract include:
· Eagle Radio Inc., which has 23 radio stations in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri, has exclusive broadcast rights for FHSU sports events;
· The sports events will be broadcast over MIX 103 KJLS-FM, over the Internet, and, if there are conflicts, over some other Eagle Radio stations.
· Broadcasts will include all football games, all men's and women's basketball games, four regular-season and all post-season baseball and softball games, and two regular-season and all post-season volleyball matches, and Eagle will have the right to broadcast additional volleyball, softball and baseball events within its discretion;
· Eagle will broadcast a pregame show for all contests and a post-game show for football and men's and women's basketball;
· The FHSU Athletic Association will receive eight minutes of airtime to use at its discretion during football games and men's basketball games;
· The one-hour Tiger Talk program will provide extended interviews on a weekly basis with FHSU coaches in the respective seasons;
· Eagle will maintain the Internet site, Tiger SportsPage (tigersports.net), which will offer licensed Tiger apparel and, soon, online purchases of Tiger sports tickets.
Gary Shorman, president/CEO of Eagle Radio, said, "We see Fort Hays State University as one of the most valuable assets in western Kansas. We're very pleased to continue our partnership with the university not only in sports but also in a wide range of community activities, such as the Sue exhibit at the Sternberg Museum. The winning attitude at Fort Hays State ties in perfectly with the winning attitude we have at Eagle Radio."
Tom Spicer, FHSU's athletic director, also expressed enthusiasm for the new contract. "We are entering into a new agreement that allows for positive growth in our sports information area," he said. "We appreciate Gary Shorman and all the Eagle Radio personnel for their efforts in maintaining the level of excellence we've become accustomed to and expect." Spicer said one example of the opportunity for growth was that he had selected graduate student Jason McCullough as an intern to assist the new SID, Steve Webster.
Webster has been the "Voice of the Tigers" for the past 13 years for both Eagle Radio and Radio Inc. Under the new contract, the FHSU Athletic Association will essentially act as an independent contractor to Eagle to provide "on-air talent" for an agreed upon fee. As that on-air talent, Webster will continue to serve as an announcer from 6 to 9 a.m. each Monday through Friday for Eagle, and he will be the play-by-play announcer for FHSU sports events.
"I am so excited about this fantastic opportunity," Webster said. "It's fitting that I will be providing services for both Fort Hays State and Eagle Radio because I have such close ties to both organizations. Many different people spent a lot of time on my behalf to make this happen. I would like to thank Gary Shorman, the person who hired me back in 1989 to replace Wyatt Thompson. Others who helped immensely in the process include Tom Spicer, Dr. Hammond, Mark Vail and Bruce Shubert, FHSU's vice president of administration and finance."
"This opportunity is perfect," Webster added. "Not only do I get to continue my broadcast career, I get to take on the new challenge of sports information director. A change like this usually means relocation to another city or state, but with this my family will continue to live in Hays, a community that we have learned to call home."
Webster is a 1983 graduate of Tabor College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in secondary physical education. His hometown is Pratt. He has19 years of experience in broadcasting in Pratt, Great Bend and Hays. Since 1989, he has broadcast 676 Fort Hays State sports events.
Webster has won 15 broadcasting awards from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, including four for sports play-by-play and six for sports broadcasting. He was named the 1992 "Sportscaster of the Year" by the Kansas High School Athletic Directors Association.
He and his wife, Deborah, have a 15-year-old daughter, Haley, a 12-year-old daughter, Stephanie, and a 6-year-old son, David.