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© 2023 Joe Snelson

Thoughts and Comments from KYFC-TV Alumni

Joe Snelson - KYFC-TV’s first Chief Engineer

I was in Israel traveling on a bus. I struck up a conversation with Art Katz, founder of Ben Israel. I had seen one of Art’s programs on the station where I worked in Los Angeles. I asked him if he was going to produce more programs. He said, “Yes, at the new station going on in Kansas City.” Originally being from Kansas City this sparked my interest. I contacted Andy Willoughby the new station manager to see if they might be looking for a Chief Engineer. They were, I applied and, as they say, the rest is history. I am thankful to have worked with Dr. Al, David Lewis, Andy Willoughby and countless others in getting Kansas City’s first Christian television station on the air. And I thank God for my sweet wife who I met at KCYFC and was a graduate Christ Unlimited Bible Institute.

Roger Topping - KYFC-TV Chief Engineer

I accepted Jesus as Savior in my early 20s so I really didn't have any interaction with KCYFC growing up. After I was saved, I came to KYFC to see if I could use my engineering skills for the ministry. I came on board as a staff engineer / operator under Joe Snelson. When he moved on in his career, I was named Chief. I was there from about 1980 until 1984.  I too met my wife at KYFC while she was attending CUBI. Many couples met through CUBI; The inside joke was that it was "Christ Unlimited Bridal Institute". A lot of good people got their start in broadcasting at KYFC. I'm amazed at how many have had long and productive careers as a result.

Andrew Bales - KYFC-TV Director

KYFC-TV was owned by Kansas City Youth For Christ. One of the many outreach programs of the ministry was the weekly Saturday night rally. This was held in their large auditorium at 47th & Rainbow, in Westwood, KS, at 7:00 pm. They had quite a variety of entertainment, geared primarily towards youth. The evening always completed with a gospel message, including an invitation to come forward to talk with a counselor and pray for salvation. As TV-50 came on-air, the Saturday night rally became prime television programming as the big studio cameras were put on a freight elevator and moved from the studio to the auditorium. My parents had been involved in YFC bible clubs when they were in high school, in the 1950's, and I also had received salvation after a showing of the film, "A Thief in the Night" when I was about 7 years old. When I was about 13 years of age a neighborhood friend invited me to go with him to a Saturday night rally. This is the first time I had ever seen TV cameras up close. I was sitting at a vantage point, in the auditorium, where I could see a video monitor off to the side of the stage. I could see on it what was happening right in front of me on the stage. I could see the red tally lights on the cameras change and how that corresponded to what was on the video monitor. I was fascinated and hooked. Often at the end of the rally they would announce that you could come up to the viewing / green room to get a view of the studio and technical center. Of course, I wanted to check that out and became more intrigued after doing so. Some weeks or months later another announcement was made, at the end of the rally, that TV-50 was in need of volunteers interested in learning to run studio TV cameras. If a person was interested they were to come down to the stage and speak with station General Manager, David Lewis. I went down and asked David if there was an age requirement. He said that there wasn't and for me to come the next Saturday afternoon, before the rally and watch a videotaped camera course. It was an introduction of what a TV camera was and the parts of the camera such as the lens, the viewfinder, the camera head, the locks and friction controls. Also, where the zoom handle was and how it worked. Where the focus control was and how to focus, how to frame a shot and what terminology the director would use, such as... "Pan left. No, your other left!" :) What tilt up and down were as well as headroom and how to do all at the same time. Soon I was standing behind a Philips LDK-25 studio camera, giving ulcers to the director in the control room, as I began what has turned into a career in broadcast television. That was nearly 44 years ago. That video camera course was taught by Joe Snelson, the author of this website. :) I went on to become a master control operator as well as a director, editor and audio engineer. Later I spent some years involved in freelance video and film production as a grip,  location audio engineer and camera. About 12 years after taking that video camera course, I had applied for work at KCTV5, the CBS affiliate in Kansas City. I had called and came by the station a number of times checking to see if they were hiring. They weren't but a year or so later they had a studio cameraman that had quit and they had an immediate need for someone to fill in. KCTV5's Chief Engineer remembered me dropping by and calling. He called a mutual friend of us both (D.W. Haskin) to ask him if he thought I could handle a studio camera for a newscast at TV5. D.W. gave me a great recommendation and I was hired on to fill in for two weeks! The KCTV5 Chief Engineer was none other than, Joe Snelson. Yes, the one who I first learned how to run a TV camera from, by watching his video course, just hired me to run a TV camera for KCTV5 News! That two weeks has parlayed into nearly 32 years where I continue to work as a newscast director. I still run a studio camera but not just one, but 6 at a time along with directing, switching, running audio, video control, graphics and video playback. I am so very  grateful God has been watching over me and feel so blessed by KCYFC, KYFC-TV50, David Lewis, Joe Snelson and a host of other amazing people who believed in me and help provide me an amazing career and a good means by which I was able to raise my children. God IS good!!

David “D.W.” Haskin - KYFC-TV Chief Engineer

My first wife on one warm evening after dinner dragged me to a Youth for Christ Saturday Night Rally. She attended their rallies when she was growing up. I accepted Jesus as my savior that Saturday. On the following Monday I checked to see how to volunteer in the TV station. In college my studies were in Electrical Engineering, so it seemed like a good fit. The TV staff welcomed me on as a volunteer camera operator. A short time later I found myself unemployed, the station hired me on staff. I ended up working in all areas in broadcast engineering and Master Control. I also did special effects for the Telethons. I learned pyrotechnics while doing stage productions in College many years earlier. KYFC-TV had a fire one Saturday night in 1987 just before the Saturday Night Rally in the auditorium. We all worked around the clock to get back on the air that Saturday night. We had to install all the new equipment at the studio. That’s when we changed from 2” tape machines to 1” machines.

In the early 80’s KCYFC purchased a Convent in Kansas City, Missouri it was called The Lighthouse. One year we did a Live Broadcast from The Lighthouse. I setup a microwave feed from the Missouri location to the studios in Westwood, KS. It was a Lighthouse Telethon with live talent at both locations. It was the only time we did a live remote event. I worked for KYFC-TV for 16 years. When I left Kansas City and moved back to Colorado Springs, I worked for KOAA-TV as their Transmitter Engineer. I was told I was their best engineer and I owed it all to my time at KYFC-TV, Al Metsker, Dave Lewis, Joe Snelson, and everyone that worked for KCYFC. They made me to who I became. My second wife Shannon I met at KYFC-TV where she worked in data entry and volunteered in the TV station. We have now been married for 13 years.