CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) – KFVS Radio and Television Founder Oscar C. Hirsch has been inducted into the Missouri Broadcasters Hall of Fame Friday night at a special banquet and ceremony at the Lodge of the Four Seasons at Lake of the Ozarks.
Hirsch was inducted into the Hall of Fame “as a pioneer in broadcasting both radio and television in southeastern Missouri”.
The induction included a specially produced video presentation that chronicled Hirsch’s life and broadcasting career. The video featured the history of KFVS radio and television and included comments from Hirsch’s daughter and son, former employees, and archival footage.
Hirsch’s career highlights include:
- 1925 – Radio KFVS signed on the air from Hirsch’s living room in Cape Girardeau
- 1954 – KFVS-TV signs on the air from its television/radio studio on Broadway in Cape Girardeau
- 1960 – The new KFVS television transmission tower becomes the tallest man-made structure in the world
- 1964 – Hirsch Broadcasting Company establishes the Oscar C. Hirsch Foundation to benefit churches, schools, and nonprofit organizations
- 1967 – The 13-story Hirsch Tower is completed and becomes the first skyscraper in downtown Cape Girardeau
- 1990 – Oscar Hirsch receives the first Rush H. Limbaugh Sr. Award from the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce
Oscar C. Hirsch was born on February 23, 1896 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. At age 17, he joined First Presbyterian Church in Cape Girardeau, where he eventually served as a deacon and elder. He then entered the world of broadcasting.
A crowd of hundreds gathered at his home to witness the launch of KFVS-AM (now KZIM-AM) on July 22, 1925, even resulting in the street being closed to traffic. This first broadcast consisted of orchestral music, it lasted less than two hours and the signal reached a radius of about 300 to 400 miles.
Hirsch’s many honors include a 1979 Missouri House of Representatives resolution, an American Library Trustees Association award in 1982, and a Salvation Army Life Membership Award in 1983. He was also named Honorary Member of the Southeastern Missouri Hospital Board of Trustees and a Gold Award. Arrow Partner of the South-East Hospital Foundation’s “Million Dollar Club” patrons’ project.
In 1983, Cape Girardeau paid tribute to him by designating March 21 as Oscar Hirsch Day. Then, in 1990, he received one of the first-ever Rush H. Limbaugh Sr. Awards given by the city’s Chamber of Commerce “in recognition and appreciation for his immeasurable contributions and many years of sustained community service.”
During his lifetime, Oscar was a member of several radio and television organizations, including the National Association of Broadcasters, Radio Pioneers of the United States, Maximum Service Television, and he was named a life member of the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers.
He was also affiliated with Columbia Broadcasting System, board member of Emergency Broadcast System for Civil Defense in Missouri, president of Hirsch Broadcasting Company, Lead Belt Broadcasting Company and Cairo Broadcasting Company, treasurer of Hirsch Communications Engineering Corporation and Director of the Sikeston Community Broadcasting Corporation.
On August 17, 1992, Hirsch, known as one of America’s first true broadcast pioneers, died in Cape Girardeau at the age of 96.
Hirsch was inducted into the Missouri Broadcasters Hall of Fame along with four other people who influenced broadcasting in the state.
The MBA Hall of Fame was established to recognize broadcast leadership throughout Missouri. It recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the fields of radio and television broadcasting.
The Hall of Fame is open to individuals from all aspects of the broadcast industry, including ownership, management, news, engineering, production, sales, promotion, talent at broadcasting, programming, creative services, education or related professional fields. Once a person has been nominated, they are added to a rolling list for review by the selection committee each year.
Founded in 1948, the Missouri Association of Broadcasters now serves over 350 radio and television stations promoting the success and prosperity of Missouri broadcasters and the survival of the broadcasting industry.
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