Carrington Harrison co-hosts top-rated sports talk show in Kansas City

IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT

For Carrington Harrison, the appeal of radio is in its freedom and creativity.

“I like the free-flowing nature of radio,” he says. “I start – ed listening to sports talk as a kid. I liked the back and forth with the callers, and that you had a longer time frame to explain the point you were trying to make.”

Harrison, who attended Missouri Southern from 2006 to 2010 and completed his communication degree ear – lier this year, gained experience working for Zimmer Radio and operating the boards for broadcasts of university games.

Today, Harrison works for 610 Sports Radio as co-host of “The Drive” – the most popular sports talk show in Kansas City. He and Danny Parkins have spent the past four years crafting a show that is a combination of sports, current events and their own lives – a format that continued to build in popularity.

“We try to deliver the biggest things happening in Kansas City sports and sports in general,” he says. “The show was already trending in the right direction, but the Royals being good was a turning point. We did a good job of cornering that market before a lot of people realized how big the team was going to be, and tailored our program to satisfy that hole in the market.

“But we also try to show our personalities and appeal to people with who we are, while adjusting on the fly to what’s big.”

While proud of The Drive’s success, Harrison believes that giving back is an important obligation that comes along with it. “Our goal is to do more charity work,” he says. “The Kansas City Chiefs drafted a player who was on probation for domestic violence. We set up a GoFundMe account and raised $16,000 in a week. One-hundred percent of the money went to the Rose Brooks Center (a local domestic violence shelter).

“It’s the responsibility of anybody with this kind of plat – form to give back to the community.”

Fall 2016 Graduate Stories

Mary Alice Hadley, 1947’s ‘Pigskin Princess,’ recalls time at Joplin Junior College

Mary Alice Hadley demurs for a moment when asked about the two years she spent as a student at Joplin Junior College. As she begins thumbing through a copy of the college’s 1947 yearbook, however, the memories come flooding back.

Today, Hadley lives alone in a retirement village in Lee’s Summit, Mo. But 71 years ago, she was a Neosho High School graduate whose firm belief in the importance of a good education was as strong as it is today.

‘THAT’S WHAT IT TOOK’

It was the fall of 1945, and news of Japan’s surrender – bringing World War II to an end – had spread across the country.

“There were five of us girls who commuted to Joplin Junior College together,” says Hadley, who was then Mary Alice Dabbs. “They didn’t have dorms then, so you had to stay at home and commute or live in Joplin.

“One of the girls bought a used Studebaker and we commuted for two years in it. We nicknamed it ‘VJ,’ for Victory over Japan.”

The junior college had a great reputation in the region, Hadley says, and it was an easy decision to attend.

“I had never wanted to be a career woman, but I always felt it was just as important for a woman to have an education as it was for a man,” she says. “I felt that’s what it took in order to one day be a good mother.”

 

Established less than a decade earlier, the college at Fourth Street and Byers Avenue was seeing a major influx of students as servicemen returned from the military. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had signed the G.I. Bill, which allocated veterans up to $500 to cover tuition, books and fees.

In 1946, enrollment would hit more than 480 – a record for the young college. It was an exciting time, but Hadley says her primary focus was her studies. She was impressed with the faculty, who more than lived up to their reputation for excellence.

“I think back about Edna Drummond … she was the dean of women and taught biology,” she says. “She did more to influence me becoming a teacher than anyone else ever had. “Martha McCormick was teaching in the math department. It was always said that when a student transferred to the Missouri School of Mines (and Metallurgy, in Rolla), staff there always knew if they’d had Martha for a teacher (because of the quality of their mathematics knowledge).”

Hadley joined the Alpha Kappa Mu sorority – serving as its vice president in 1947 – as well as the Young Women’s Christian Association.

Socializing wasn’t high on her list of priorities, however. “We’d drive to school in the morning, go to class, have lunch and drive home around 3,” she says. Occasionally, she and her friends would eat lunch at the Connor Hotel (though it was a bit expensive, she says), and she enjoyed catching a movie in downtown Joplin.

But much of her free time was spent studying or with her boyfriend, Jack, who was a year behind her. In 1947, she was named “Pigskin Princess” in conjunction with Homecoming festivities. Hadley can’t recall who nominated her, but says it likely helped that a number of young men on the football team were from her home town and supported her coronation.

LESSONS PASSED ON

When she graduated from Joplin Junior College, Hadley transferred to the University of Missouri in Columbia to earn her degree in secondary education with a major in biology and a minor in geosciences and chemistry.

She applied for her first teaching position in Joplin, though lost out to a former classmate, Floyd Belk – who would later become the college’s vice president of academic affairs. “I really liked him,” says Hadley. “He was a fine person.”

She took a teaching job in Carthage instead, earning at the time a very respectable $200 per week. Her teaching career eventually lost out to her passion for motherhood. She and Jack were married in 1950 and had four children. He worked for Firestone and the family moved several times, though they always seemed to wind up back in Carthage.

Hadley would later work for 13 years in the accounting department at Bass Pro in Springfield. Having learned the value of a good education from their mother, all four of their children would attend Missouri Southern.

When her husband passed away, she moved to the Kansas City area to be closer to her children. Sitting at her kitchen table on a recent fall afternoon, Hadley says her time at Joplin Junior College may not have been exciting compared to others, but it remains very important to her.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it,” she says. “I wanted my parents to be proud of me. Education was very important to them and I tried to instill that in my children as they were growing up.”

Alumni Fall 2016 Graduate Stories

‘I was blessed’ – Esdra Lamy, ’00, shares path to Warner Bros.

There’s no straight line to success. It’s often the result of a bit of serendipity, focus and hard work.

Esdra Lamy, who serves as vice president for station sales for Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, originally came to Missouri Southern to play soccer.

“I needed to do a video interview for a summer camp coaching job, and I stumbled into Robin Douglas’ office. She asked me some questions on camera,” he said. “I checked out the TV station and I realized that’s what I wanted to do. I was hooked … I changed my major right away.”

“I had a strong passion for on-the-air stuff, but also the creative aspect,” he said. “The beautiful thing about working at KGCS is that I got involved in both ends of it.”

He was featured on programs such as “Southern Sports Sunday,” and was part of the push to get the station into the then-new Leggett & Platt Athletic Center to broadcast games. “We offered live sporting events locally produced by us, and the timing was impeccable,” he said. “The men’s basketball team had one of its best years ever.” Douglas, coordinator of Testing Services who taught Lamy’s television production class, remembers that Lamy would come to class smartly dressed when his classmates would typically wear jeans and T-shirts.

“To this day, I recall when I commented on why he was so dressed up, he said, ‘You have to dress for the job you want.’ I remember that clearly, and I had a deeper respect for him as he grew into the man he always knew he could be.”

After graduating from Missouri Southern in 2000, Lamy moved to Kansas City to enter the Target training program, but quickly realized he wasn’t where he wanted to be. After an interview process, he was hired as an account executive for Petry Media and moved to New York City. A position opened up with Petry’s television sales division several months later in Los Angeles and he made the move.

“When you come from an environment where you have to be proactive – like at Missouri Southern – it helped prepare me,” he said. “It happened because I raised my hand.”

Proactive was the name of the game when he “cold called” his way into an account executive position after seeing an ad in the trades.

“I started from the ground up (at Warner Bros.),” Lamy said. “Typically for those jobs you have to know somebody. I kept working my way up to more responsibilities and getting more experience in different territories.”

Fast forward a dozen years and Lamy has helped launch several first-run shows and shepherds the broadcast of programs such as “TMZ,” “Extra,” “People’s Court” and “Judge Mathes.” His division also handles the sales of sitcoms and off-network shows such as “Two and a Half Men,” “Person of Interest” and “Smallville.”

“Esdra is not only a success story in regards to what MSSU can offer, he is a success story in regards to what relationships between students and instructors can be if students are willing to listen, learn and grow,” said Douglas.

“I’ve worked with the best and most caring people, with big hearts and who love what they do,” he said.

Alumni Fall 2016 Graduate Stories