The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

January 27, 2014

Jeffrey Skibbe, columnist: Klassix Society supports MSSU's fine arts radio

JOPLIN, Mo. — Recently the Klassix Society/Friends of KXMS Radio presented its 14th annual Fine Arts Radio International Award. The latest honoree was born in 1953 and uses 21st century satellite technology to energize an art form that began at the end of the 16th century.

You could honestly call this New Yorker’s idea a global success.

What is the Klassix Society? The word “Klassix” was early-on coined from the call-letters chosen by Missouri Southern for its fine arts radio station, KXMS. “Klassix Missouri Southern” was how a board member of the Missouri Southern State College Board of Regents ceremoniously christened the new radio service in April 1986.

Three years later, the word went out that an external “Friends of KXMS” organization would be a desirable adjunct for promoting and supporting Southern’s new community service.

Ever since early 1990, many area residents have come forward from all walks of life to enthusiastically invest their time and personal expertise in the Klassix Society/Friends of KXMS.

Through the decades, 88.7 KXMS/Fine Arts Radio International has mirrored a number of Southern’s academic pursuits: the international mission, the study of music, poetry and literature.

Few university radio stations across the nation have done as much with the drama, poetry and songs of the canon of William Shakespeare. As resources become available, new offerings provide a showcase for the creativity of Missouri Southern State University employees, aided by the production skills of MSSU students. KXMS is indeed a platform for support of the fine arts both on and off the campus of MSSU

For the past 23 years, “Southern Serenade” has been a daily local production, highlighting new releases and anniversaries of musicians and arts events. The topical cross-connections feature of the series (5 p.m., Monday through Friday) makes the program unlike any produced in the larger universe of fine arts radio. Locally produced broadcasts of Southern sports events, world music and even music humor also have populated the KXMS schedule since 1986.    

Besides support and promotion of KXMS Radio, the Klassix Society proclaims its support for music education by engaging in projects such as student scholarships, national radio producer contests for music education series, support for the concertmaster’s chair of the Southern Symphony Orchestra and the Karl Haas Prize for Music Education, named for Dr. Karl Haas, host and producer of the four-decade long radio series, “Adventures in Good Music.”

 Each year, the manager of KXMS Radio and the board of the Klassix Society together review potential Karl Haas-like recipients, noting their exceptional use of the broadcast medium for music education. The annual KXMS Food & Wine Tasting has been a productive fundraising vehicle of the Klassix Society, bringing station supporters together on many an evening of good food, drink and discussion. The listener feedback alone has been invaluable.

So in late 2013, the Klassix Society  presented the Karl Haas Prize for Music Education in the storied precincts of the Metropolitan Opera house. The 2013 honoree is Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera (www.metoperafamily.org).

Gelb’s technical innovations, including “Live in HD” beamed to local movie theaters all over the globe (including Joplin’s Northstar Stadium 14), bring first-rate musical experiences to listeners/viewers in exciting new ways.

The station has been Joplin’s source for the Metropolitan Opera International Radio broadcasts since the 1980s.

The Klassix Society, an external friends’ organization in support of Southern’s radio service, invites you to join them in the enjoyment and the advancement of Fine Arts Radio International at 88.7 FM. To join the Klassix Society in support of 88.7 KXMS, contact us at kxms@mssu.edu or call 417-625-9678.

Jeffrey D. Skibbe is the general manager of KXMS Radio.

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