King's spirit lives on at WQAD

WQAD-TV8, Moline, which at last report was still on the auction block along with the other TV stations owned by the New York Times, seems to be pressing ahead with new ventures as well as holding onto the traditions of a close-knit broadcast family.

The word that it is now also providing a signal for the recently organized My Network TV programs via WBQD-TV (Ch. 16 on Mediacom cable) is accompanied by an accounting that shows an award established in 1999 as a memorial to long-time anchor Jim King (real name James W. Ketz) had been faithfully bestowed every year since.

When King, best known for his “On the Road” series, died unexpectedly at 65, there was a public outpouring of tributes to his 35 years of work and Marion Meginnis, WQAD’s general manager, added to them when she announced the station’s trophy given annually to a top employee, would henceforth be known as the Jim King Award.

In the previous year, 1998, Anne Hughes, newsroom producer, had won the honor with King named co-recipient.

In 1999 Don Molander, an engineer, was chosen by members of the WQAD staff, managers and department heads for the newly named Jim King Award which also came to recognize the employee’s dedication to the nine “Rules of the Road” as outlined by The New York Times.

Those individuals selected to be honored have been given extra time off and airline tickets to places of their choice.

So far the Jim King Award winners have been:

2000 — Lisa Randazzo, now Mrs. Dave Short, marketing manager.

2001 — Jim Uskavitch, engineer.

2002 — Michael Gorman, Web site manager.

2003 — Bill Dobbelare, director.

2004 — Alan Baker, assignment editor.

2005 — Earl Thomas, engineer.

All inquiries as to the status of the proposed sale of the station should be directed to the New York Times, says Meginnis.

The spokesperson for that operation is Catherine Mathis, who’s asserted the stations on sale are all “well-managed, profitable businesses but that the Times wants to focus on its print and digital undertakings in the immediate future.”

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