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

Carla Eckels / KMUW

Students and community members braved the cold Wednesday night to participate in Wichita State’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Walk.

Staff from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion began the walk at the Red Bud trail south of campus followed by a program at WSU’s new Experiential Engineering building.

Sophomore Sarah Myose said she participated in the walk as an effort to become more involved in the community.

Sunday, January 21

Sunday on Soulsations we remember gospel music icon Edwin Hawkins. He died Monday at the age of 74. Hawkins is widely-known for his arrangement of the hymn “Oh Happy Day.” The song, recorded by the Edwin Hawkins Singers, became an international hit in 1969.

Carla Eckels / KMUW

Wichita State University is holding a final event Wednesday night to commemorate the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Sunday, January 14

Sunday on Soulsations new soul/funk music from Mr Jukes. 

Kansas House Rep. Gail Finney says she expects the state Legislature will beef up a law related to swatting after a recent incident in Wichita that left one man dead.

Sunday, December 31

We end the year with music from an artist considered one of the most exciting and critically acclaimed performers of our time. Hear an encore broadcast featuring tunes from jazz soul artist Al Jarreau. The 76-year-old 7 time Grammy-winner died on February 12, 2017.  We’ll also feature music from award winning gospel artist Tamela Mann who received her first Grammy this year at the age of 50.  

Carla Eckels / KMUW

Bernestine Williams really has a heart for children. As a financial literacy educator, she volunteers at Urban Preparatory Academy in Wichita teaching kindergarten to eighth-grade students the importance of learning about finances.

Sunday, December 24

Holiday sounds plus an encore broadcast of Christmas music and conversation from Wichita’s own Broadway star Karla Burns and baritone extraordinaire Earnest Alexander.

Wesley DeSpain Facebook

For the first time in decades, a new conductor will lead the orchestra at Friday's premiere of Ballet Wichita's "The New Nutcracker."

For 20 years Wesley DeSpain performed as a clarinetist in the production under longtime conductor Jay Decker. It was Decker who recommended DeSpain to Ballet Wichita.

During a recent rehearsal, DeSpain said the most exciting part is how all the various art forms come together to create a mesmerizing effect for the audience.

Carla Eckels / KMUW

Ballet Wichita’s annual performance of "The Nutcracker" premieres on Friday -- but it won’t be the same show you’ve seen in the past. It's "The New Nutcracker".  Guest Artistic Director Karen Brown and Director and Choreographer Sean McLeod are bringing some new moves to the holiday classic.