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Loving Memory of Kirk
WIBW 13 TV - AM - FM
Welcome to Topeka, Kansas.

WIBW 13 actually refers to two separate stations with intertwined histories: WIBW-TV, the television station, and WIBW radio (originally WIBW-AM). Here's a breakdown of their history:

WIBW-TV (Channel 13):

Pioneer Days (1953):  WIBW-TV signed on the air in November 1953, making it the third television station in Kansas and the first in Topeka. Back then, it was owned by the family of Senator Arthur Capper. Interestingly, it initially carried programming from all four major networks of the time: CBS, NBC, ABC, and the now-defunct DuMont Television Network.

WIBW-TV aired a DuMont network broadcast of an NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns. This would have been in November 1953, the station's launch date.

A CBS Mainstay (1950s-Present):  Despite carrying programs from other networks, WIBW-TV has always had a strong affiliation with CBS. Over time, it gradually transitioned to become a primary CBS affiliate, offering its viewers the network's popular programs.

Challenges and Growth (2000s-Present):  The station faced a significant hurdle in 2012 when a fire damaged its original facilities [Wikipedia WIBW-TV]. However, WIBW-TV persevered and continues to broadcast today. Currently, it's owned by Gray Television, a leading broadcasting group in the United States.

Providing an exhaustive list of all notable alumni who have worked at WIBW 13 may be challenging due to the station's long history. Here are a few of the  individuals who have made significant contributions to journalism, broadcasting, and related fields:

Elmer Gunderson: Veteran broadcast engineer Elmer Gunderson, the station’s longest-tenured employee, started in November 1955, just two years after the station officially went on the air. He died of cancer on May 19 2013. He was 81 years old and worked until April 2013, when his health declined. He would have celebrated 58 years on the job as the station celebrated its 60th anniversary. (Another WIBW'er reliably informed me that Kirk and Elmer had great respect for each other.)

Bill Curtis: In the 1960s, Kurtis embarked on a path toward becoming a lawyer. However, a temporary assignment at WIBW-TV in Topeka, Kansas, covering a devastating tornado outbreak, altered his trajectory. His compelling reporting caught attention, propelling him into a career as an on-air news reporter, ultimately leading to his success as a news anchor in Chicago. Renowned for his resonant voice, Kurtis later anchored The CBS Morning News in New York City during the early 1980s, where his passion for investigative in-depth reports and documentaries flourished. Upon his return to Chicago, alongside resuming anchor duties, he established Kurtis Productions, marking a new chapter in his multifaceted career.

Gordon Jump: Jump's initial foray into the broadcasting realm commenced at WIBW-TV in Topeka, where he explored various roles including writing, producing, and directing. Notably, he assumed the persona of WIB the Clown, the central figure in the station's educational children's program. Concurrently, Jump also delivered weather reports on the channel, occasionally encountering challenges in promptly removing his clown makeup before going on air. After working in television on many different series, in 1978 he landed his signature role of Arthur "Big Guy" Carlson on the situation comedy WKRP in Cincinnati, portraying a bumbling radio station manager. You'll be pleased to know that he credited his character after an executive at WQXI. Not WIBW!

Dave Boucher: Former sports director at WIBW 13, known for his coverage of local sports events and athletes in the Topeka area.

Mark Elliott: Former meteorologist at WIBW 13 who went on to work for The Weather Channel, known for his expertise in weather forecasting and severe weather coverage.

Melissa Brunner: Former news anchor and reporter at WIBW 13, known for her journalistic work and community involvement in Topeka.

Deb Farris: Former anchor and reporter at WIBW 13, known for her contributions to local news coverage and investigative reporting.

Ralph Hipp: Longtime news anchor and reporter at WIBW 13, known for his dedication to journalism and community engagement in the Topeka area.

Walt Bodine: Although primarily known for his work in radio broadcasting, Walt Bodine began his career at WIBW 13 before transitioning to radio and becoming a prominent figure in Kansas City media.

Terry Nichols: Former journalist at WIBW 13 who later gained notoriety for his involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

Jill Docking: While not primarily known for her work at WIBW 13, Jill Docking, a former news anchor, later became a prominent political figure in Kansas, running for various political offices.

Kenny Cook: Former meteorologist at WIBW 13, known for his expertise in weather forecasting and his contributions to the community.

Donna Pitman: A former news anchor and reporter at WIBW 13, known for her journalistic work and community involvement.

WIBW Radio (AM):

A much older station, signing on in 1925 [Wikipedia WIBW.

Went through various ownership changes and frequency adjustments in its early years.
Owned by Capper Publishing Company for a period, alongside WIBW-TV and the Topeka Daily Capital.
Currently owned by Alpha Media.

Additional Notes:

WIBW-FM, a sister station, signed on in 1961 and has had various format changes throughout its history.

While WIBW-TV and WIBW radio share some history, they are currently owned by separate companies.
If you'd like to delve deeper, you can search for:

Wikipedia articles on WIBW-TV and WIBW radio for a more detailed timeline.  Link to Wikipedia Article WIBW-TV.
Route56 article on WIBW history for insights into the early years of WIBW radio. Link to Wikipedia Article WIBW-AM

Kirk doing what he loved to do, directing a show, live, at a video switcher.
Taken at the Captn's Lounge Studio, Longmont, CO. (Photograph by - Aldo Johnson.)

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