Indiana RadioWatch: August 3, 2017

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In November, the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Richard M. Fairbanks Hall of Fame will induct their 2017 class: Sportscaster Joe McConnell, WRTV-TV reporter Jack Rinehart, Radio personality Ken Speck, and TV videographer Steve Starnes.

Mr. Rinehart was a senior reporter at WRTV-TV in Indianapolis, where he worked for more than 40 years. Mr. Rinehart grew up in South Bend and began his broadcasting career in Peoria, Illinois. Mr. Rinehart joined WRTV-TV on November 10, 1975 and retired in 2016.

Mr. McConnell grew up in Goodland (40 miles northwest of Lafayette) and became a distinguished sportscaster including Super Bowls, NBA, MLB, Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, Indiana State University, University of Notre Dame and Purdue University. Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels named Joe McConnell a Sagamore of the Wabash when Mr. McConnell retired from Purdue in 2009.

Mr. Speck worked on-air and was Music Director for then-WIRE (1430am, Indianapolis) from 1970 until 1985. Mr. Speck began his broadcasting career in Canton/Akron, Ohio (then-WCNS), before stops in Detroit, Michigan (then-WCAR), back to Akron (then-WSLR), Indianapolis (WIRE), and Seattle, Washington (then-KRPM). After broadcasting, Mr. Speck owned a real estate company.

Mr. Starnes worked as a photographer for WTHR-TV in Indianapolis. At 19, Mr. Starnes began his broadcasting career at WGEM-TV in Quincy, Illinois. After a decade at WGEM-TV, Mr. Starnes moved to Indianapolis and retired in 2009.

The 2017 Hall of Fame class will be formally inducted on Friday, November 3, during an awards luncheon in conjunction with the annual Indiana Broadcasters Conference and Spectrum Awards.


After over two years, Heartland Media's FOX Affiliate/WFFT-TV (Channel 55, Fort Wayne) anchor/reporter/producer Jasmyn Durham exits and joins WEYI-TV and WSMH-TV in the Flint, Michigan market. Also, Petar Hood joins the WFFT-TV news and sports reporting teams. Mr. Hood graduated from Ball State University and most recently served as Sports Director at NewsLink Indiana.

In 1975, Chris Claus began his broadcasting career at WOWO (1190am, Fort Wayne). He rose through the broadcasting ranks, with stops in San Diego, California, Los Angeles, California and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2007, he became VP/GM for the Entercom cluster in New Orleans, Louisiana, where his wisdom and talents helped the cluster after Hurricane Katrina, during Hurricane Gustav, and through the Deepwater Horizon spill. Mr. Claus will retire from Entercom on August 31.


Sinclair's CBS affiliate WSBT-TV (Channel 22, South Bend) evening anchor Rick Schutt exits. Mr. Schutt also anchored the 10pm news on WSBT's .2 "FOX Michiana". Mr. Schutt worked across town as a sports anchor for Quincy Media's WSJV-TV (Channel 28, Elkhart) from 1996 until 2007. He then worked for five years at WICD-TV in the Champaign/Urbana, Illinois market. Mr. Schutt returned to South Bend and joined WSBT-TV in 2012. Here's his on-air goodbye. Mr. Schutt will soon join Elkhart-based RV manufacturer Thor Industries in a newly created director of community engagement role.

The FCC grants Talking Stick Communications' application to move W259BJ, the FM translator for their News/WRSW (1480am, Warsaw) from downtown Warsaw to the tower of sister Classic Hits (107.3fm, Warsaw). This move will also increase W259BJ's power from 170 watts to 250 watts. WRSW-FM's tower sits on the west side of Winona Lake (the lake, not the city).


Where Are They Now? Former WEHT-TV news producer Jason Pumo recently left the News Director chair at WJTV-TV in Jackson, Mississippi.

That's all for this issue. Thank you for your continued support.

Blaine Thompson
Indiana RadioWatch

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