As part of this year’s Homecoming festivities, KGCS celebrated its 35th anniversary with a special dinner that honored the recipient of the Outstanding TV Alumni Award.

The recipient of the award, which was established in 2014, was Cliff Erwin.

Erwin, who graduated from Missouri Southern in 2004, is the broadcast studio manager for the University of Kansas Health System. He got his start in broadcasting as a freshman at MSSU.

“I started right away with KGCS,” he said. “That’s one of the great things about Missouri Southern … you can get right into the craft you want to do. I was able to pick up a camera and learn to tell a story in a different way than I did in high school, which was print.”

Erwin’s career included working for KSN in Joplin, and later KY3 in Springfield as the station’s first multimedia journalist – where he received a Missouri Broadcasters Award. His coverage at the health system, in conjunction with KCTV5 in Kansas City, earned him an Emmy in 2017.

His experience at KGCS included work in front of the camera and behind the scenes, which provided him the background that has allowed him to succeed in the field.

“As I look back from where I am now in my career, I was able to get a sense of every job,” he says. “It gives you an idea of what everyone around you is doing.

“One of my favorite memories is when, at the last minute, our director got sick during a Saturday night football game. I had to direct and provide color commentary at the same time. It was stressful, but fun. It was one of those situations, like, when are you ever going to do that again?”

During the dinner, which included video highlights from the station’s 35 years, Joplin Mayor Gary Shaw presented Erwin with a special proclamation celebrating his distinguished career.

“I was very honored,” said Erwin. “It’s unexpected … something you think might come at the end of your career.”