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Dishong inducted into the Golden Circle

July 24, 2018

DENVER — Now retired from 52 years in the television industry, Jerry Dishong was surprised to learn his peers had recognized him for his years of service.

During the Heartland Emmy Awards ceremony on July 14, Dishong was inducted into the Golden Circle for 50-plus years in the television business. The ceremony was held at the “Wings over the Rockies” Museum in Aurora, Colorado.

The Heartland Chapter was founded in 1986 as part of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

“The Golden Circle isn’t an award per se, but a society of honor,” Dishong said. “Members are television professionals and pioneers that are unique for the length of service to the industry and their pursuit of excellence.”

He said it’s a rare occurrence that a person spends more than 50 years in the business, let alone at one television station.

“Just counting the Noon Review I did at KDUH, that’s 10,400 shows,” he said. “I like to say my audience and I got married together, raised our families together, buried our parents together and grew old together. That makes for a pretty tight bond.”

When Dishong started his career, there were few television choices in the area. He remembers signing on at the beginning of the broadcast day, reading the farm markets and news cut-ins. One of the early morning shows for the kids was “Captain Kangaroo” on CBS. And over his career, KDUH was on all three major networks.

“It made for a lot of long hours when at times I was the only person keeping us on the air,” he said.

One incident happened when he was snowed in for four days at the station’s transmitter site and he never missed a news block. Setting up the camera, he’d read the news and then break for commercials. Running off screen, he’d play commercials while setting up the camera for the weather report.

He also remembers the time the station had to reroute its signal via cable after their 2,000-foot tower collapsed.

It’s been a long run and an exciting career, but Dishong still thinks it’s the people who have made the trip worthwhile.

One woman wrote she had grown up listening to him. Later in life, she got married and moved from the area. But several years later the couple moved back and she said once she heard Dishong’s voice, she knew she was home.

“Getting letters like that, it makes me appreciate the bond I was able to build with my viewers over 50 years,” he said. “That’s because it’s a rarity to see a person stay with one station for a long period of time. So my mantra has always been to be kind to the viewers. That’s the best thing I could possibly do and it’s paid me back many times over.”

Dishong said he wasn’t aware of the Golden Circle until he was notified about the recognition. But he suspects that Scott Miller, the current news director at what is now KNEP, had some part in making the Heartland Chapter aware of his service.

“Given Jerry’s commitment and service to the Panhandle for so many years, it was appropriate for him to be recognized,” Miller said.

The Golden Circle isn’t Dishong’s first recognition. A few years ago he was inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

“I never sought out honors and awards and I never really kept track of them,” he said. “At the awards banquet, I reminded everyone that I’m living proof if you live long enough, you’re going to win something.”

He said the recognition was a good swan song. Now he can go for the early bird special at Golden Corral.

In addition to recognizing Dishong, the Heartland Chapter Board of Governors presented Emmy statuettes in more than 100 categories from more than 450 nominees.

KUSA-TV director Lawrence Gibbs, son of Larry and Nita Gibbs of Gering, received his eighth Emmy award for directing in the Best Newscast division for “Tanker Fire on I-25.”

jpurvis@starherald.com

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