Six Hoosier Broadcasting Icons Named to 2021 Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Richard M. Fairbanks Hall of Fame Class
Carmel, Ind. – July 8, 2021 – Six Hoosier broadcasters will be inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Richard M. Fairbanks Hall of Fame this October.   The Indiana Broadcasters Association today announced the 2021 Hall of Fame class Indiana radio host and reporter Jill Ditmire (posthumous award), Indianapolis radio host and DJ Delores Poindexter (posthumous award), Evansville news anchor Mike Blake, Indianapolis videographer Steve Sweitzer, Indianapolis TV reporter Derrik Thomas, and Indianapolis journalist and host Dick Wolfsie
 
“The 2021 Hall of Fame Class is made up of diverse broadcasters who pushed the boundaries of innovation and made the Indiana communities where they worked better, more informed places to live,” said Dave Arland, Executive Director of the Indiana Broadcasters Association. “For decades, our newest group of Hall of Famers have provided critical eyes, ears, and voices for Hoosiers.  They have told wonderful stories and are each also active members of their communities.  We are honored to add our 2021 honorees to the rolls of the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Richard M. Fairbanks Hall of Fame.”
 
This year’s Hall of Fame class will be inducted during the annual Indiana Broadcasters Conference on Wednesday, October 27.  Hall of Fame honorees for this year include:

 Jill Ditmire graced the airwaves of stations across the Midwest for more than 25 years, most recently on WFYI on Indianapolis as a local news anchor on afternoons during All Things Considered as well as reporting for Sound Medicine, Curious Mix, and Art of the Matter.  Jill’s career stops in Detroit and Lafayette as well as several Indianapolis TV stations. She produced her own television series on Indiana Public Television for eight years called “The Good Life” which showcased independent chefs, restaurants, and local wineries.  Jill was an Omnimedia Wine Specialist, an Certified Wine Judge, and owner/buyer of The Mass Ave Wine Shoppe & Cafe in Indianapolis.
 When Delores Poindexter started her radio career in 1970, she was one of only a few women on the air in Indianapolis at the time.  She started as a DJ on Sunday mornings on WTLC and entertained with her personality and knowledge of the community and gospel music.  When the legendary Rev. Mozel Sanders passed away in 1988, Poindexter took over WTLC’s weekday early morning gospel music program that became a top ranked program in the market.  She was the first African American woman licensed Disc Jockey to have a national radio program on WTLC Radio and the first African American woman to have a number one rated show for 15 years. She also was the first woman to host her radio show inside the prisons and jails throughout the city and state. Poindexter was a pioneer in gospel music and a world-renowned singer, singing with the greats of gospel music. 
 
Mike Blake is now in his 51st year at WFIE-TV in Evansville.  After graduating with a master’s degree in radio, television, and film from the university of Iowa in 1968, he entered the U.S. Army.  He served two years, including the final 11 months on with the Armed Forces Vietnam network.  In September 1970, he began a remarkable career in the Evansville market, starting out as a weekday weatherman and weekend sportscaster.  In more than 40 years of sports reporting, Blake has received Associated Press awards for both sports and news work. Over the following decades, he co-anchored the first 5:00PM newscast in Evansville, helped to launch the first Friday night high school football and basketball shows, and continues to host the popular news and community service-oriented show “Midday with Mike.”  He has been elected to five sports halls of fame, including those saluting excellence in Indiana football and basketball. 

 Steve Sweitzer is the owner and operator of Sweitzer Productions, which provides video and still photography, editing, writing, reporting and field producing services. His clients include 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning, CBS News & The Letterman Show. He is also Chief Photographer and a reporter/producer for Pet Pals TV and Great Day TV with Patty Spitler – where he reports a regular segment called Steve’s Tech Talk. Steve has more than 40 years of broadcast TV news experience, mostly at WISH-TV in Indianapolis; as Chief Photographer and News Operations Manager. Among his numerous awards, he has been Indiana News Photographer of the Year and received first place in the Associated Press reporting category.  For more than twenty years, Steve has taught courses at Indiana University Purdue University (IUPUI) where he received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, their highest honor for an adjunct professor.
 
Derrik Thomas spent more than 40 years as a versatile general assignment reporter for WRTV in Indianapolis. He was the station’s third African American on-air reporter.  Widely praised for his incisive and lively writing style, Thomas produced thousands of stories on all subjects and events. He was particularly notable for his coverage of the courts and criminal trials, and feature stories emanating from the Indianapolis inner city community. His stories also generated first place awards from Associated Press, United Press International, Sigma Delta Chi, and Society of Professional Journalists, and lifetime achievement recognition from journalist organizations like the Indiana Association of Black Journalists, for a career that spanned 43 years.  His career began with stints at WMT-TV in Cedar Rapids, IA and KSMP-TV in Minneapolis. The Chicago-born and raised Thomas earned a degree in English from MacMurray College and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of lowa. 
 
Dick Wolfsie left teaching in 1979 to host television talk shows in Columbus, OH; Boston, and Chicago, then on Good Morning New York on WABC-TV. He moved from New York to Indianapolis in 1982 to cohost WISH-TV’s Indianapolis Afternoon. In 1986 he created, produced and hosted a morning talk show on WTHR-TV from Union Station in Indianapolis.  In 1990 he returned to WISH-TV as a feature reporter on Daybreak until 2020.  His work in Central Indiana has resulted in dozens of honors including a Casper Award and two Emmys. Many of his video essays have been broadcast nationally. Dick Wolfsie is also a freelance writer and public speaker. He has authored 14 books and he currently writes a weekly humor column syndicated in 30 newspapers. He retired from WISH-TV in March of 2020, after 40 years on air in Indianapolis.

Nominations Open for Hall of Fame

Each year, the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers induct a new class of broadcasters into its Richard M. Fairbanks Hall of Fame.  Honorees represent the highest level of professional broadcasting in Indiana and are inducted each fall during the annual Indiana Broadcasters Association “Best in Broadcasting” Spectrum Awards ceremony.

The Indiana Broadcast Pioneers are now accepting nominations for the 2021 Richard M. Fairbanks Hall of Fame.  Nominations for the new class will be accepted through Friday, February 19th and can be submitted by clicking the link below and filling out the form.  This 2021 class will be inducted in October during a luncheon ceremony at the annual Indiana Broadcasters Conference.

You will find the form by clicking this link: https://www.indianabroadcasters.org/recognition/hall-of-fame/

Legendary Broadcasters Inducted into the Hall of Fame

  Note:  Due to the pandemic, the 2020 Hall of Fame inductees were honored during a unique virtual presentation with the IBA Spectrum Award winners on October 22.  To see the entire 90-minute program, click here.

Six Hoosier broadcasters were inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Richard M. Fairbanks Hall of Fame in 2020.   The 2020 Hall of Fame class includes Fort Wayne TV news anchor Linda Jackson, radio station owner J Chapman, Indianapolis on-air personality and host Terri Stacy, and Bloomington radio host Paul Mendenhall.  The IBA also posthumously inducted two legendary broadcasters, Terre Haute sports anchor Bob Forbes and public TV artist Bob Ross.

“Each of our 2020 honorees represents highest level of professional broadcasting in Indiana and we are honored to recognize their long careers with induction into the Hall of Fame.  From Fort Wayne to Bloomington, and Muncie to Indianapolis to Terre Haute, this year’s inductees are familiar names to broadcasters and viewers alike,” said Dave Arland, Executive Director of the Indiana Broadcasters Association.  “At a time when more and more Americans are turning to their local TV and radio stations for news, information, and entertainment, this year’s Hall of Fame class embodies the importance of localism in broadcasting.  They are not only great broadcasters but, more importantly, stewards of their respective communities.”

The new honorees include:

Linda Jackson

For more than 30 years, Linda Jackson has delivered the news to viewers in northeast Indiana – the vast majority of them from the desk where she has anchored morning or evening newscasts spanning two generations.

Linda graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Journalism and got her start in local news as an intern at what was then WKJG-TV, the NBC affiliate based in Fort Wayne. Her first full-time work in broadcasting was as a producer and reporter.  She has also served the community in a station management role, and it is as a news  anchor that Linda has become best known in the region.

In 2016, having spent several years as the morning news anchor at WPTA’s ABC-affiliated station, Linda was tapped to lead the re-launched NBC TV news channel in Fort Wayne. She has served as lead anchor at “Fort Wayne’s NBC” since its launch, helping to establish the news team as a source for engaging and professional coverage in the community.

Watch an interview with Linda Jackson

J Chapman

J Chapman grew up in the broadcasting industry.  His father, Jerry Chapman, led Indianapolis WFBM Radio and TV (now WRTV-TV) for three decades and J got an early start in the media business when assigned by his father to mow the grass at the Indianapolis station’s northside transmitter site.

After graduating from Hanover College in 1983, J worked as on-air talent in Indiana at stations in Indianapolis, South Bend, and Madison.  He also worked at stations in Scranton, Pennsylvania and Covington, Kentucky.  J was part of a team that launched Indianapolis Fox TV affiliate WPDS-TV (now WXIN-TV) in 1984 as a Photographer and Sports Anchor.  In the late 1980s, J decided to go into broadcast sales and joined Emmis Communications.  He started out as a sales representative for WENS-FM radio and soon became sales manager before becoming General Sales Manager for WTLC-AM/FM.   From 2001 to 2005 he was Director of Sales for Emmis’ Indianapolis Radio Group, where he worked for 17 years.

In June 2013 he became owner and President of Woof Boom Radio (affectionately named for his father’s employer, WFBM) with six stations throughout eastern Indiana serving the communities of Muncie, Anderson, Hartford City, Daleville, Yorktown, Alexandria, Pendleton, New Castle, and Marion.  He soon added more stations in Lafayette and a five-station cluster in Lima and Delphos, Ohio.  J also served as the Board Chairman of the Indiana Broadcasters Association and has been an IBA board member since 2013.  Currently, he represents the 5th Congressional District on the IBA Board.

Watch interview with J Chapman

Terri Stacy

Terri Lynn Stacy was born in the small town of Knightstown in Henry County, Indiana. She graduated from Knightstown High School in 1980 and attended Herron School of Art on a scholarship.

In 1985, Terri was hired as the receptionist for WIBC-AM Radio in Indianapolis.  After winning “Employee of the Year” in 1989, Terri was rewarded with a guest stint on WIBC’s morning show, hosted by Jeff Pigeon.  Terri was such an instant hit that station managers decided to continue having her cohost the morning show even though she was still working her full-time job as the station’s receptionist. In less than a year, the station made her a full-time on-air personality and morning show co-host. She would continue in that role, despite the ever-changing radio landscape, for more than 20 years.

In 2010, Terri finally stepped down from morning drive and began a new direction as the traffic reporter for WIBC.   Since 2005, Terri has hosted “The First Day Sunday Magazine Show” and she continues as host of the “Caregiver Crossing” show on WIBC.

In 2012, Terri became the face of WIBC’s community outreach program, “Neighbor-To-Neighbor.” In this capacity, Terri attends over 200 events a year, raising awareness and assisting the fundraising of countless nonprofits and worthy causes.  In both 2007 and 2008, Terri was acknowledged by Indianapolis Woman magazine as the “Local Female Radio Personality of the Year.”

Watch interview with Terri Stacy

Paul Mendenhall

Paul Mendenhall began his life-long radio broadcasting career in 1970 at Carmel High School where he worked at the school’s radio station WHJE. After high school graduation, Paul worked part-time at WHYT Radio in Noblesville, and in 1974 at WXLW Radio in Indianapolis while attending Butler University.

From there,  Paul transferred to Ball State to take his first full time job for Bill Shirk’s family at WERK Radio in Muncie.  At WERK, he became Program Director and served as one of the “Men at WERK” until 1981.

Paul also managed the radio station at Ben Davis High School and was a teacher for 17 years.  After stepping down for a few months to student teach, Paul joined Fairbanks Broadcasting in Indianapolis working for Cris Conner at  WNAP Radio, then WIBC Radio, and finally his current professional home, WTTS Radio.  Paul joined WTTS in Bloomington in in 2001, where he hosts the WTTS “Morning Show.”

In addition to hosting charitable events that WTTS Radio presents for children’s reading programs through the Indianapolis Public Library, the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund, Toys for Tots and local food banks, Paul devotes his time to a number of other worthwhile local causes.

Watch interview with Paul Mendenhall

Bob Forbes

Terre Haute broadcaster Bob Forbes started broadcasting at WBOW-AM in 1947 while still in college at Indiana State Teachers College.

In 1948, Bob joined WTHI-AM when it first went on-the-air.  WTHI-TV launched served in 1954, as just the tenth Hoosier television station.  Bob Forbes was WTHI-TV’s first sports anchor and the only sports anchor at the television station until he retired in 1985. Bob was the longtime voice of the Indiana State Sycamores, including the Larry Bird-led NCAA runner-up basketball team in 1979.

Bob Forbes was inducted into the Indiana State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984 for his broadcasting career and was also inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 2006.  Bob Forbes passed in January 2005 and the IBA recognition will be posthumously awarded.

Bob Ross

Although a native of Florida, Bob Ross lived and worked in Muncie. His “Joy of Painting” program is still nationally and internationally syndicated, and was produced at WIPB-TV, a community PBS station affiliated with Ball State University.

Bob’s programs have been carried by nearly 300 television stations, covering an estimated 80 million households.   One early individual station report showed Ross’s “Joy of Painting” program was more widely viewed than “Sesame Street!”

Bob Ross passed in 1995 at the age of 52, and the IBA recognition will be posthumously awarded.

 
 

 

2019 Hall of Fame Induction Album

Four Hoosier broadcasters became the newest inductees into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Richard M. Fairbanks Hall of Fame as part of the annual Indiana Broadcasters Conference October 24, 2019, in Carmel.  Biographical material about each inductee will be found in the Hall of Fame section of this website.

Ann Craig Cinnamon

James David Longest

Linda Lupear

Ed Spray