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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

K-95 ... a new beginning

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bob Eckman and Lynn Hobbs
THAYER -- Lynn Hobbs answered the phone, "Ozark Advertising Network," at the K-Kountry 95 studio Jan. 4, just like she had done for many years. Her face showed that she immediately knew she had made a mistake.

"It hard to change old ways," Hobbs said.

Ozark Advertising Network is now E-Communications owned and operated by Hobbs, her husband Bill, and long-time business associate Bob Eckman and his wife Rebecca.

"The official transfer is pending Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval and should happen in three to four months," Eckman said.

Both Eckman and Hobbs have been employed by Ozark Advertising Network for many years. Tom Marhefka, Ozark Advertising Network CEO said the move is bitter-sweet. "It is bitter-sweet that we will lose Bob and Lynn, but it's a great opportunity for them and I'm delighted with the change in ownership," Marhefka said.

Ozark Advertising Network was formed in 1953 by Robert Neathery. His daughter Shawn and her husband Tom have had complete ownership of the station since 1985.

Hobbs began her career at K-95 in 1975. Her husband Bill, a retired state trooper, was transferred to the Oregon County area and the couple moved to Thayer. "I started working here as a bookkeeper, secretary and traffic director, Hobbs said explaining a traffic director programs daily logs.

Eckman was first employed at K-Kountry part-time while going to high school at Thayer his junior and senior years. He continued working on the weekends and during the summer at the station while attending college and decided to make it his career.

There are several other long-time employees at the station including Peggy Underwood who has served as receptionist since May 1976. Mike Crase joined the K-Kountry team in 1981 as an announcer. He is now the program director at the station. Mike Robertson has worked at the radio station since 1991 and is the K-95 news director.

"Recently banks and radio stations are being bought-up by the big guys. We were in a situation where there was a total of eight radio stations owned and operated by the same company. Now we will have two locally owned stations," Eckman said.

"Elation pretty much sums up my feelings on being a part of two locally owned radio stations. My family gave me a lot of support toward my decision concerning Bob's proposal to become partners," Hobbs said. The Hobb's have a daughter, Jennifer, who is going to school to get her teaching degree.

"This is a great, refreshing challenge. A dream come true. I feel like the good Lord led me in the right direction. This is going to be a great asset to our community and a great way to serve the community. I'm so proud Lynn made the decision to join us," Eckman said.

Eckman said his family, especially his wife Rebecca showed a great amount of support in his decision. The Eckman's have four children, Timothy, Andrew, Jacob and Emily.

The new owners said personnel at the station will remain the same. They said they would try to focus more on local, Oregon County, Mammoth Spring news but would still be doing some regional news broadcasting.

"We appreciate the opportunity to be involved with K-95 and KALM and we want to thank Tom and Shawn Marhefka and the Neathery family for the opportunity afforded us, and we are excited about the change," Hobbs and Eckman said.

"We will continue to serve the public as we have in the past. Our programming will remain unchanged for now, however, future changes for KALM 1290 are being considered," he said.

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