Carla Eckels

Director of Cultural Diversity, news & engagement | 'Soulsations' Music Host

Carla Eckels is Director of Cultural Diversity for news and engagement at KMUW.  She's been an award-winning announcer/news producer for KMUW 89.1FM, Wichita Public Radio for 21 years. Carla also produces a R&B and gospel show Soulsations, Sunday nights at 6 on KMUW.  She also hosted Joyful Sounds, a Sunday morning gospel radio show on Q92FM.  Prior to KMUW, she was the local host for NPR’s Morning Edition at WYSO public radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio and co-hosted a nationally syndicated Gospel Countdown Radio show in Cincinnati. Carla also was program director for KIBN, 90.7 The Inspirational Black Network in Wichita. 

In January 2018, she was honored with the Drum Major Award at Wichita State University's MLK Unity Walk.   In April 2016, WSU presented Carla with the exclusive honor of the Wayne Carlisle Distinguished Service Award, The Carlisle Award is presented to an unclassified professional who models the standard of extraordinary service exhibited by the late Wayne Carlisle.

Carla has reported on national news stories such as the Hesston Shootings, BTK serial killer case, Roeder trial, Greensburg tornadoes and the 1958 Dockum Drug Store sit-in for NPR.  The Dockum feature was the number one listened to story on KMUW’s website in 2007.

Aileen LeBlanc and Carla Eckels have been awarded a prestigious national 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for their news feature looking at the return of ant-abortion demonstrations to Wichita. Eckels is the recipient of two Edward R. Murrow regional awards for her reporting including a 2015 award for her story on Shockers Men's Basketball: A Candid Look. Carla also won a Public Service Announcement, 2nd place: “A Wichita Basketball Coach Overcomes Depression” in 2017 and a 1st place Kansas Association of Broadcasting award in 2015  for her story on Bipolar Disorder and 2nd place for DJ Personality Aircheck for Soulsations.  Carla has annually emceed the Wichita River Festival and Black Arts Festival gospel music segments.

From 2004 to 2007, Carla hosted the number one gospel radio show on KSJM 107.9 JAMZ. She is the recipient of the Best Disc Jockey award voted on by subscribers of The Community Voice Newspaper.

Carla is a graduate of Wichita State University with a degree in communications. Her greatest joy is her family. She is married to Wichita and WSU Football Hall-of-Famer, Reuben Eckels and they have two children.

Ways to Connect

Sunday, March 4

Sunday on Soulsations, the soulful sounds of contemporary gospel artist Anita Wilson. The Grammy nominee’s latest release is Sunday Songs. After participating in back up singing for Donald Lawrence & Company, Wilson stepped out on her own as a solo artist in 2011.  She’s known for several engaging songs including the heartfelt ballad “Speechless.” Wilson will be part of the Arise! Gospel Celebration taking place in Wichita at St. Mark UMC on Sunday March 10th. The concert will also  feature Zacardi Cortez and Wichita’s own Natalie Rolfe & Friends.

Album Cover Art

Sunday, February 25

Sunday on Soulsations, inspirational sounds from contemporary gospel artist Jermaine Dolly. For years Dolly has been a back up vocalist for gospel great, Tye Tribett. The Philadelphia native is pursing a solo career with his 2017 debut release, The Dolly Express. 

Take 6 / Facebook

For nearly 35 years, the members of Take 6 have been captivating audiences around the world with their vocal talent.

The group is one of the most celebrated vocal groups in history with 10 Grammy wins, 10 Dove Gospel Music Awards, a Soul Train Award, Jazz Honors and more. The sextet has collaborated with such artists as Stevie Wonder, Al Jarreau, Ella Fitzgerald, The Manhattan Transfer and KD Lang.

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The 7th annual Art That Touches Your Heart event takes place Friday and Saturday on the Wichita State University campus. The event highlights black art and culture in Wichita and from around the globe.

 Sunday, February 18

Sunday on Soulsations we remember Dennis Edwards, a lead singer for the Temptations. The 74-year-old Motown Great, known for his gritty electric vocals, died February 1st. A memorial service will be held in Detroit on Saturday, February 17th. Hear Temptations music on Soulsations Sunday night at 6 on KMUW.

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The Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Wichita State University will be holding a Lunar New Year celebration on campus this Thursday.

Quang Nguyen, the marketing specialist for WSU's Office of Diversity and Inclusion, says several Asian cultures use feasts and festivities to celebrate the Lunar New Year, as well as bring in luck for the upcoming year.

“A few days before, we generally clean up the house," Nguyen says, "that way we can push away the old spirits and welcome the new spirits into the house.”

Sunday, February 4

Sunday on Soulsations singer/songwriter, producer PJ Morton.  He’s a keyboardist for the band Maroon 5.  He also has gospel roots, singing and producing music with his father Bishop Paul S. Morton.  The New Orleans native’s debut solo release, Gumbo, garnered him 2018 Grammy nominations for Best R&B album and for best R&B song "First Began." 

PJ Morton’s take on hip-hop, R&B, urban music…

"I just think it's very important music. It's music that we feel very deeply, and I think people are in need of connection right now. We want to fill each other right now because the world is a bit crazy. And I think it's music that goes straight to the heart. I think that's why it's called Soul music at the root of it, because it gets straight to your soul. And that's whether we're partying or we're saying something serious. I think anytime we do that, it comes from a real place, and I think that's needed today."

PJ Morton on NPR’s All Things Considered — interview aired January 28, 2018

Carla Eckels / KMUW

Advocates are pushing for Kansas lawmakers to establish a task force to develop and implement a state Alzheimer’s plan.

Kansas is the only state in the country that does not have a strategy to deal with the progressive disease.

Medicaid costs to care for the 53,000 Kansans living with Alzheimer's is $420 million a year. That number is expected to increase 30 percent by 2025.

Carla Eckels / KMUW

Roughly 2500 skaters are in Wichita this week to take part in the largest U.S. Figure Skating competition of its kind.

Among the teams competing in the Midwestern and Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships are the Rose City Crystals, from Pasadena, California.

The team, made up of 27 female skaters, arrived in Wichita at 4 a.m. on Wednesday hoping to see snow. It’s the first time they’ve traveled outside of California.

Sunday, January 28

Sunday on Soulsations, we remember legendary South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela. He passed away in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at the age of 78.  The trumpeter's global hit "Grazing In The Grass" was released 50 years ago. Masekela produced more than 40 albums. He is known for his song that’s considered the anti-apartheid anthem, "Bring Home Nelson Mandela," recorded in 1986. Masekela returned to South Africa after Mandela’s release in 1990.

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