(1926 – 2010)
Bob Wormington was the Vice President & General Manager of KBMA/KSHB-TV from its inception in 1970 to 1993 when he retired. He also served as the General Manager of WDAF television in Kansas City from 1964-1968.
Bob was the very essence of a true Broadcast Pioneer. Born in 1926 in Dodge City, Kansas he graduated from Washburn University in Topeka with a Bachelor of Arts degree and in 1950 earned a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from KU. He was an aviation cadet in WWII with the U.S. Air Force and when the Korean War escalated he was recalled to duty and assigned to the photo production department. Upon his discharge in 1951 he returned to WDAF in the production department as producer-director until 1955, then program manager, then Assistant General Manager in 1958 and General Manager in 1964.
In 1968, he left to become president of Color Systems, Inc. a KC producer of television commercials. He became the first General Manager of KBMA a new independent station that signed on in 1970. It was the first automated station in the nation, using the resources of the parent company KBMA Assurance which was based in Kansas City. In the fall of 1974, the American Research Bureau rated KBMA as the #3 independent UHF-TV station in the country. His decision to counter program against “traditional” network programming was realized with the likes of; local kids programs, major local sports franchises and syndicated programming that appealed to the younger viewer.
Bob’s decision to buy a remote production van for live programming was instrumental in the station’s success. KBMA was the first station to produce and air a Big 8 Football package and he partnered with Paramount to develop a first run mini-series programming for independent stations.
Bob was a founding Board member of the Association of Independent Television Stations (lNTV) He was relentless in visiting Washington, D.C. to meet with Senators and Congressmen, pushing agendas for the development of broadcast television and was instrumental in moving the INTV office to Washington, D.C. While Bob was Chairman of the Board of INTV he maintained a dialog with AT&T in connection with their proposed long-line rates. They wanted to charge the independents almost double that of the networks. He managed to delay this move until satellite service was available. The increases didn’t happen and he saved independents and the rest of the broadcasting industry many millions of dollars.
Bob supported the broadcast industry by serving on numerous professional organization boards and his civic contributions were many.
Bob kept it fun and challenging with a focused vision of what the station would become as it grew. It became such an important part of the broadcast scene, not only in Kansas City but the country.