(1936 – 2013)
Ray Rouse was born in Boone County and grew up on a farm near Centralia. He developed an interest in electronics and broadcasting at an early age. During his Junior and Senior years in high school he worked part time as a DJ at radio station KXEO in Mexico. Later he worked as an engineer at KOMU-TV and a DJ at KFRU in Columbia.
In the 60’s KRCG-TV, Jefferson City gave him the opportunity to become the host of “Showtime”, a 60 minute daily live program for kids. Other duties at KRCG-TV included writing commercials and doing live commercials because video tape was not available in those early days of TV.
After his time at KRCG-TV, he went to KMOS-TV, Sedalia as Station Manager which included various duties including News Director and part-time weathercaster. They had an excellent weathercaster but since he was also a teacher in Sedalia, Ray often did both news and weather using a map board on which he had to draw all the weather symbols because there were no computers at that time.
Several years later a group of investors without broadcast experience contacted him with an offer to help them build a new TV station in Springfield. He designed a new building to include a TV and radio station with a list of requirements for staff and complete technical plans. Once all the details had been worked out, he moved to Springfield. One of the investors was the General Manager and Ray was his assistant because he had a First Class license with the FCC. A typical day was to operate the transmitter and all control room equipment from sign-on until mid-morning, then do office work and do weather at 6 and 10 PM.
While in Springfield he decided to apply for a job as an engineer at the ABC Radio Network in New York to fill in for others during the vacation season. At the end of summer, they offered him a permanent position. During his 14 years at ABC, he traveled all over the U.S. and to several foreign countries to cover many news and sporting events. During his time at ABC Ray worked all of the Apollo launches in Florida and Space Shuttle landings in California. He also covered several political campaigns and traveled with President Reagan several times before and after he was elected. He also worked on many of the Monday night ABC football games to record radio shows for Frank Gifford and Howard Cosell and feed them back to New York for broadcast the following morning.
Ray’s life-long ambition was to own his own radio station so he decided to take another giant step and return to Missouri. It took several years to obtain the licenses from the FCC, purchase land and build the station. KZMO AM and FM California went on the air in July 1984. Ray later sold the stations when he decided to retire in 1994.
Ray was an active member or officer in many local and state organizations. For 18 years he served as the Chairman of the Missouri State Emergency Communications Committee until he retired from this FEMA appointment.
In 1994 the FCC and Missouri Broadcasters Association developed a pilot program to promote better compliance by broadcasters with FCC regulations. Originally called the “Mock Inspection Program” now the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program gives broadcasters the opportunity to identify areas of non-compliance with FCC regulations and correct them without the risk of fines. This program was so successful that it is now in all states. Ray was the first inspector in the U.S. He passed away on December 21, 2013.