MBA Presents 223 MBA Awards and Hall of Fame

The Missouri Broadcasters Association presented its 2021 Awards on Saturday, August 7th at the Branson Hilton Convention Center. 

“In a very challenging year, local radio and television stations admirably served the citizens of our state with immediate, trusted local news, weather, sports and entertainment and we were happy to honor their achievements,” said Mark Gordon, Missouri Broadcasters Association President and CEO. 

Five broadcasters were formally inducted into the Missouri Broadcasters Hall of Fame sponsored by the Missouri Army National Guard. 

2020 Hall of Fame Inductees:

  • Jim Bohannon, from Lebanon, Missouri, was a former Missouri radio broadcaster in both the Lebanon and Springfield markets. After four years of service in the U.S. Army, Jim worked in radio in both Chicago and Washington D.C. Today, he is the host of the nationally syndicated “Jim Bohannon Show” on the Westwood One Radio Network.
  • Betsey Bruce was the first female TV journalist reporting hard news in St. Louis. She was a writer, reporter and anchor at KMOX-TV (now KMOV-TV) from 1970 to 1989, and at KTVI and KPLR from 1989 through 2016. Her 46 years in broadcasting made her one of St. Louis’ most respected and treasured TV journalists.
  • Don Hicks served as President/CEO of the MBA from April 1994 through December 2012 and President Emeritus in 2013. Don’s 19 years of leadership established the MBA as one of the top five Broadcast Associations in the United States.

2021 Hall of Fame Inductees:

  • Charles Earls has been a radio broadcaster for more than 60 years, owning multiple stations throughout that time. He also served as President of the Missouri Broadcasters Association in 1975-76.
  • John Rooney has served as the play-by-play announcer for radio broadcasts of the St. Louis Cardinals since 2006. Prior to that, he worked with the Chicago White Sox from 1988-2005.

More than two hundred awards were presented to radio and TV stations during the MBA Awards ceremony, including Station of the Year presentations to KTGB-FM/90.9 The Bridge and KSHB-TV, 41 Action News, both in Kansas City. Sponsors for the MBA banquet included Antennas Direct, Silver Dollar City and the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau. Lisa Rau, Director of Publicity and Public Relations for Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation and Silver Dollar City Attractions, served as emcee for the MBA Awards.

The MBA also honored three retired radio general managers: Gary Exline, Eagle Radio in St. Joseph; Ken Ball, Stayton Communications in Kansas City; and Carlos Fernandez, Quincy Media in Quincy, Illinois, with Lifetime Member Awards. Frank Absher, Executive Director of the St. Louis Media Foundation received the President’s Award for his work in preserving media history. 

Harry Gallagher, founder of Gallagher Consultants in Jefferson City, which merged with Lathrop GPM Consulting, received the Friend of the MBA award for his service as lobbyist and consultant for 20 years.

The Missouri Broadcasters Association also presented the 2021 Distinguished Broadcaster Award to Carla Leible, Market Manager for Zimmer Communications in Columbia, Jefferson City and Springfield. She served as the first female board chair for the MBA in 2017-18. St. Louis broadcaster John Kijowski of Hubbard Radio, was formally presented the 2020 Distinguished Broadcaster Award. 

For a complete list of 2021 MBA Award winners, go to