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Springfield broadcasting ‘icon’ Kenneth Meyer dies at 94

Kenneth E. Meyer is shown in an official Missouri State University portrait.
Kevin White/Missouri State University
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Kenneth E. Meyer is shown in an official Missouri State University portrait. The prominent Springfield, Mo. broadcaster died July 17, 2022 at age 94.

Springfield radio and TV businessman Kenneth E. Meyer died July 17 at age 94. He was hailed as an “icon” by Missouri State University President Clif Smart.

For decades, Springfield-area radio stations owned by Ken Meyer were the way listeners in the Ozarks heard about the St. Louis Cardinals, Missouri State Bears, Missouri Tigers and many other sports teams.

The Mount Vernon native graduated from Missouri State University in 1950. By the early ‘60s, he went on to start a radio and TV empire under the Meyer Communications banner.

A prosperous businessperson, Meyer and his wife Jane made major contributions to institutions like Missouri State University, Southwest Baptist University and CoxHealth.

meyer_center.jpg
CoxHealth
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In the early 2000s, Kenneth E. Meyer and his wife, Jane Meyer, helped fund CoxHealth's Meyer Center for Wellness and Rehabilitation.

Brent Dunn is executive director of Missouri State’s philanthropic foundation. He says Meyer cared a lot about many causes.

“He was a great philanthropist for the entire region,” Dunn told KSMU. ”He truly cared about the impact of all these institutions he made gifts towards. But obviously athletics was a big love.”

Industry types say Meyer had a massive influence. For many years, Don Louzader, who now manages news and operations at Zimmer Midwest Communications, worked for a radio station that competed with Meyer Communications. He said Meyer was a formidable rival.

"This is a guy who started in the business so young, ran successful radio stations — not just here in Springfield, but in other parts of the state,” Louzader said.

Meyer is credited with being first to broadcast Missouri State women’s basketball. In 2007, state lawmakers gave Meyer the Outstanding Missourian Award. He also brought the first UHF television station to town.

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs and investigations.