John Durkee’s Powerful Legacy at KWGS By General Manager Rich Fisher
Just over ten years ago, KWGS hit the jackpot.*
Due to budget cuts during the 1990s, the station had eliminated its local news service. When I became General Manager in 2000, one of my first goals was to restore a local news operation to the station. In 2008, we were finally able to revive a local news service. I knew it would be a long road to make KWGS a respected and trusted local news presence again.
That long road became considerably shorter becauseJohn Durkeedecided to join our station as News Director.
John gave us immediate credibility within the community, its newsmakers, and our listeners. And it has been a pleasure to watch him build a small but talented news department.
For years, we had known that KWGS listeners would turn to NPR for their national news, then turn to other sources for local information. In the space of just a few short years, that changed, profoundly. And in the course of those few years, the station has been recognized for its news coverage, with personal and departmental accolades from the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Society for Professional Journalists, and the Associated Press.
Those are gratifying, but what’s been most gratifying has been watching John approach every single day with a passion for making sure Tulsans are informed. John is a professional and valued colleague, a wise mentor for sage advice, and an inspiration in my own work. We will miss him greatly and will work hard to insure that this foundation he has helped build, will continue to grow.
*John Durkee retires from Public Radio Tulsa/The University of Tulsa on Friday, December 13, 2019.