Carmel, Ind. – July 31, 2017 – Four Hoosier broadcasting legends are being inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Richard M. Fairbanks Hall of Fame this November. The Indiana Broadcasters Association today announced the 2017 class which includes sportscaster Joe McConnell, TV reporter Jack Rinehart, radio personality Ken Speck, and TV videographer Steve Starnes.
“This distinguished group of broadcasters represents the best our industry has to offer, not just for Indiana, but nationally. Joe, Jack, Ken, and Steve join more than 170 other broadcasters in the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Richard M. Fairbanks Hall of Fame and we are looking forward to recognizing their careers in the fall at IBA’s annual conference,” said IBA Executive Director Dave Arland.
TV Reporter Jack Rinehart
For more than 40 years, Jack Rinehart worked as a senior reporter at WRTV in Indianapolis. During his four decades on-air, Jack broke thousands of stories, covered hundreds of exclusives, and established himself as one of the most trusted reporters in the market.
His career highlights include an Emmy Award, Associated Press awards, a CASPER Award, and he was named a “Sagamore of the Wabash,” by Indiana Governor Robert Orr.
Jack was born and grew up in South Bend, Indiana. He graduated from Bradley University in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in Speech. While still in college, Jack started working as a reporter at WRAU-TV (now known as WHOI) in Peoria, Illinois. He later became an Investigative Reporter and Weekend Anchor at WRAU before coming to WRTV on November 10, 1975.
Sportscaster Joe McConnell
There are few major sporting events that Goodland, Indiana native Joe McConnell didn’t cover in his 40-year career.
Not only did he call three Super Bowls, the NBA Championship series, the NBA All-Star Game and American League Championship Series, but he was the voice of multiple professional and college teams that include the hometown Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, and college athletics at Indiana State, Notre Dame and Purdue.
A graduate of Franklin College, Joe is five-time winner of the AP/UPI Sportscaster of the Year Award and has been named Sportscaster of the Year in both Indiana (2000) and Illinois (1981). Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels named Joe McConnell a “Sagamore of the Wabash” upon his retirement from Purdue in 2009.
Radio Personality Ken Speck
Ken Speck served as an on-air personality at WIRE Radio in Indianapolis from 1970 to 1985 before moving WKPM in Seattle where he helped take the station from number 42 in the market to number one within five months.
During Ken’s time at WIRE, the station received numerous Station of the Year awards. Arbitron ranked Ken number one in his time slot for years.
Ken’s radio work began in Ohio in 1955 at Kent State University’s WKSU and then WAND, WCMW and WCNS. His early years included working at WCAR in Detroit and as program director at WSLR in Akron. There, his station was ranked number one in Billboard Magazine’s radio response rating.
Ken’s tireless charity and fundraising work for many groups resulted in numerous awards including the CASPER Award from the Central Indiana Community Service Council.
Videographer Steve Starnes
For more than 30 years, Steve Starnes worked as a photographer for WTHR in Indianapolis. One of his crowning achievements came in 1982 when he worked on a documentary about the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana. The program earned a myriad of national and international awards, including a national Emmy award.
Steve began his career at the age of 19 at WGEM, the NBC affiliate in his hometown of Quincy, Illinois. He spent ten years there but moved on to WTHR when a reporter from Quincy submitted a resume tape, and the news director asked, “Who’s your photographer? Have him call me.” The reporter didn’t get the job, but Steve did.
Steve’s career behind the cameras took him all over the world, traveling from Afghanistan and Albania to Africa before he retired in 2009.
The 2017 Hall of Fame class will be formally inducted on Friday, November 3rd during an awards luncheon in conjunction with the annual Indiana Broadcasters Conference and “Best in Media” Spectrum Awards. Tickets for the annual event will go on sale in September.