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.

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Carla Eckels

Republican Mike Pompeo beat out both Democrat Robert Tillman and Libertarian candidate Thomas Jefferson.  Tillman who served the state for 24 years says he desired to continue serving Kansas as a United States Congressman, but now will look to other things.

"The whole world is open to me," says Tillman. "I still have a chance to decide what I'm going to do. I'm a retired Kansas Supreme Court Services officer, I retired in 2008 so I'll go back right into retirement and then I'll regroup."

Carla Eckels

Several voting sites throughout Sedgwick County were busy Tuesday.

A steady line of voters snaked throughout the hallway at the Bel Aire polling place just north of Wichita.

Supervising Judge Vickie Woodworth said the turnout has been tremendous with more than 500 people voting before noon.

"To me, it seems like there's a larger turnout this time than 4 years ago," said Woodworth. "I think that it's just a very important election and people want their views known."

Top Republicans say Tuesday's elections could cost them a few seats in the Kansas House and reduce the influence of the chamber's GOP conservatives.

Several Republicans Thursday said this year's redrawing of political district boundaries appears to have hurt the GOP in some places, especially in the Wichita area. And Governor Sam Brownback said he doesn't know how much power his fellow conservatives will have after Tuesday's voting.

Carla Eckels

A political forum was held at Wichita's Tabernacle Bible Church Sunday giving voters a chance to learn more about candidates before going to the polls.

Several candidates took part in a forum sponsored by 19 churches and organizations called The Voter Empowerment Committee. Democrat Gail Finney, an incumbent running for the 84th district responded to a question about corporate personhood, affordable health care, and student debt.

Finney says its, what she calls, "the 1 percenters" who benefit the most.

Carla Eckels / KMUW, File Photo

Some voters in Wichita are taking advantage of casting their ballots early during this election cycle, but so far there hasn't been as many advanced voters in person as in 2008.

On the first day of voting Wednesday, Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman says the number of early voters was a little more than 400, about half as many as on the first day of advanced voting during the 2008 Presidential Election.  However, Lehman says voting by mail has significantly increased.

Carla Eckels

Key political issues were on the minds of attendees at a League of Women Voters membership drive in downtown Wichita Saturday. Some candidates were invited to share what they see as priorities during this election season.

Seated at round tables with white linen tablecloths and steaming cups of coffee, League members and guests wait for three politicians take to the podium in Larkspur's banquet room. Kenya Cox is running for State Senate district 29. Cox says generating jobs is essential.

Carla Eckels

Broadway actor, recording artist and author Charles Holt is in Wichita this week, as part of the Centennial celebration of Gordon Park’s life.

Holt spoke at Wichita State and to public school students and will wrap up his visit at a book signing Thursday.

Carla Eckels

Music therapy is having a positive effect on some residents at Wichita's Larksfield Place. The older adults are showing signs of increased motivation and improved communication.

Meg Beck has spent nearly 30 years as a music therapist engaging adults and children with the use of music in hospitals, schools and senior facilities.

Inside the health care center at Larksfield Place, about 10 wheelchair-bound residents between the ages of 70 and 100 sit in a semi- circle. Some suffer from dementia and impaired vision.

Wichita City Council members heard a presentation on redistricting Tuesday during their scheduled workshop. The plan will revise the council district boundaries in the city.

Since August, the Commission of Electors made up of representatives from all six districts in Wichita and an appointee by Mayor Carl Brewer have worked on redistricting with information from the 2010 census.

The revised map includes a population of 60,000 to 67,000 people per district. Commission member Misty Bruckner told the council that the group looked at various growth patterns.

Jeff Slater / Flickr

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announced the formation of the Kansas Ecotourism Steering Committee Wednesday at Wichita’s Great Plains Nature Center.

Gov. Brownback says the 16-member steering committee will help guide ecotourism efforts as well as recommend objectives and marketing strategies to grow the industry in the state.

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Secretary Robin Jennison will spearhead the group.

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