JONESBORO – Mike Doyle, station manager of KASU 91.9 FM and longtime Arkansas State University instructor, is retiring at the end of this academic year. Staff, family, and friends are planning to send him off with an informal retirement reception on Thursday, May 24.
Doyle has served as KASU station manager since 2008. Listeners recognize his voice in a variety of original KASU programming, especially on various music shows such as Arkansas Roots and Music from the Isles.
The public is invited to attend the drop-in reception in the Grand Hall of Fowler Center from 4 to 8 p.m. For more details about this event, one may contact KASU at (870) 972-2200.
In the Department of Media in the College of Liberal Arts and Communication, Doyle served as an instructor of audio and creative media production for over 34 years. He was awarded emeritus faculty status at the Faculty Honors Convocation.
“My radio-television degree prepared me to start a career in broadcasting that later pointed toward a teaching career at my alma mater,” Doyle said. “For the last 10 of those years, I have been very fortunate and blessed to direct the staff of the first radio station where I was ever employed — initially as a part-time student and then one year as a full-time staff member, between 1971 and 1975 — KASU.”
In the classroom, Doyle has introduced numerous future broadcasters to the power of media by having students participate in the KASU program Audio Explorations — a show which Doyle has produced for years. He has also lent his voice to the university as an announcer at commencement.
Under Doyle’s leadership at KASU, significant changes have taken place. The number of listeners and members has drastically increased, which has led to record-breaking fundraising goals in the fall and the spring. Additionally, Doyle led a change in programming that quickly caught on with listeners.
“In the summer of 2009, we launched a new schedule of daytime news and conversation programs from National Public Radio (NPR) and American Public Media,” Doyle said. “Our audience numbers and financial contributions began to grow because these programs engaged our listeners by providing them valuable context on the day’s news along with diverse views and enriching arts features.”
Music programming is important to KASU and was not forgotten while Doyle made the programming changes. In fact, Arkansas Roots, a popular program Doyle co-hosts with Marty Scarbrough, program director, was begun in 2014.
“We moved our classical and jazz programming to weeknights and early mornings, added programs to our blues, folk and Americana lineup on weekends, and carved a unique niche with Arkansas Roots,” Doyle noted. “That program aims to increase listener knowledge and pride about Arkansas’ amazing musical heritage while showcasing the vibrant music scene that’s flourishing today from the Ozarks to the Delta.”
As Doyle reflected on his time as station manager, he is thankful for those who placed him in that position in 2008. “I am thankful to department chair Dr. Osa Amienyi and former communications dean Dr. Russ Shain for offering me the job of interim station manager in 2008 upon the departure of the previous station head. I also appreciate their confidence in keeping me on as permanent manager. I thank former communications dean Dr. Brad Rawlins and current dean of Liberal Arts and Communication Dr. Carl Cates for the privilege of serving each of them.”
He retires June 30, but listeners can expect to still hear Doyle on-air and at KASU events. “I have applied for the job of KASU volunteer after June 30 and I hear through the grapevine that I have an inside track on getting that gig,” Doyle said. “The pay isn’t great (zero) but the intangible benefits are priceless. I want to do some reporting and possible hosting for the program Arkansas Roots, I want to help at concerts, and I want to do anything I can do to serve the station’s listeners, members, underwriters, and this amazing staff. KASU, like the university it serves, is a part of me. I want to continue to be a part of it.”
Fans of Doyle’s shows know he has a passion for local music. His reception will feature some of his favorite local acts who will provide some light music for the evening. Those artists are Danny Dozier from Batesville and the Bebop Beatniks from Jonesboro.
Danny Dozier is a frequent performer in the Batesville area and also performs regularly at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View. He is also a member of the band the Lockhouse Orchestra. This fingerpicking guitarist is a two-time winner of the Fingerpicking Guitar Championship. Dozier also judges the annual contest that is held at the Ozark Folk Center. In addition to performing, Dozier also organizes benefit concerts in Batesville for numerous groups, organizations, and causes. His recordings are regularly featured on KASU’s Arkansas Roots program.
Larry Heyl, also known as “Hairy Larry,” plays piano for the jazz combo known as the Bebop Beatniks. Heyl is a musician, songwriter, producer, and promoter. He has been playing music in Northeast Arkansas for over 30 years. He has promoted area musicians by putting on festivals and other live music events, including Blues Fest, Sunday in the Park, Bebopalooza,and more. Heyl owns his own recording studio and independent label, HairyLarryLand CDs. He is the host of Something Blue on KASU.
“Mike has been a wonderful leader at KASU and a mentor to me and to many, many others over his long career at Arkansas State,” said Mark Smith, KASU development director. “Although we expect that he will still be involved in station activities in the years to come, we will miss him at the helm. We hope that people all around the region will come and join us in celebrating his career and accomplishments and wishing him well in his retirement.”
KASU, 91.9 FM, is the 100,000-watt public broadcasting service of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. The National Public Radio (NPR) member station is licensed to Arkansas State University. KASU also broadcasts its signal through its website at KASU.org.