KMUW's Director of Cultural Diversity for News and Engagement, Carla Eckels, is able to add another descriptor to her title: Trailblazer.
For more than a decade, The Kansas African American Museum (TKAAM) has honored pioneers who helped shape the Kansas African American experience through an exhibit titled, “Trailblazers.” Now, TKAAM recognizes the perseverance and achievements of these leaders at its dazzling annual fundraiser, A Tribute to Trailblazers. Each year this event proudly inducts a new class of great Americans into an esteemed “Hall of Fame.”
This year Carla Eckels is among the honorees, along with Junetta Everett, Sam Ford, Hattie McDaniel and Dr. Sharla Smith.
Honorees will be recognized at a nationwide watch party November 14 at 7:00 p.m. CT. The celebration will broadcast on the CW channel 33 and will also be live streamed on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. The production will be rebroadcast locally on KWCH12 at 10:30 p.m. CT.
Carla Eckels is Director of Cultural Diversity for News and Engagement at KMUW. She has been an award-winning announcer and news producer for KMUW since 1996. Carla also produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations that airs Sundays at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. She annually emcees Gospelfest at the Wichita River Festival and was voted Best Disc Jockey by subscribers of The Community Voice. Prior to coming to KMUW, Carla was the local host for NPR’s Morning Edition at WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and co-hosted a nationally syndicated gospel radio show in Cincinnati. Carla was also program director for KIBN, the Inspirational Black Network in Wichita, hosted the Joyful Sounds gospel show on Q92-FM and produced the number one gospel radio show on KSJM 107.9 JAMZ from 2004 to 2007.
Carla has reported on national news stories for NPR, such as the Hesston shootings, BTK serial killer case, Scott Roeder trial, Greensburg tornado and the 1958 Dockum Drug Store sit-in. In October 2018, she received the Sonny Slater Award for Service to Station and Community from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters. In January 2018, Carla was honored with the Drum Major Award at Wichita State University's MLK Unity Walk. Several of her news stories have been recognized with first place awards from the KAB, including the 2018 special program ‘Hope For The Future’: The Dockum Sit-In, Sixty Years On and the 2018 sports feature Hot Towels, Tapered Cuts: Local Barbershop Welcomes NCAA Tournament. She received the prestigious National Edward R. Murrow Award in 2017 for her work on the story Then And Now: The Summer Of Justice and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Newman Basketball Coach And Wife Recount His Struggle With Depression—And His Return To ‘Normal’. In April 2016, Wichita State University presented Carla with the Wayne Carlisle Distinguished Service Award in April 2016. The Carlisle Award is presented to a WSU professional who models the standard of extraordinary service exhibited by the late Wayne Carlisle.