KFVS radio and TV founder Oscar Hirsch inducted into Mo. Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame

KFVS radio and TV founder, Oscar C. Hirsch was inducted into the Missouri Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame Friday night.
Updated: Jun. 10, 2022 at 8:30 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - KFVS radio and TV founder, Oscar C. Hirsch was inducted into the Missouri Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame Friday night at a special banquet and ceremony at the Lodge of the Four Seasons in Lake of the Ozarks.

Hirsch was inducted into the hall of fame “as a broadcast pioneer in both radio and television in Southeast Missouri.”

The induction included a specially produced video presentation that chronicled Hirsch’s life and his broadcasting career. The video featured the history of KFVS Radio and Television and included comments from Hirsch’s daughter and son, former employees and archival footage.

Highlights of Hirsch’s career include:

  • 1925 - KFVS radio signed on the air from Hirsch’s living room in Cape Girardeau
  • 1954 - KFVS-TV signed on the air from his TV/radio studio on Broadway in Cape Girardeau
  • 1960 – The new KFVS television transmitting tower becomes the world’s tallest man-made structure
  • 1964 – Hirsch Broadcasting Company establishes the Oscar C. Hirsch Foundation to benefit churches, schools, and non-profit organizations
  • 1967 – The 13 story Hirsch tower was completed becoming downtown Cape Girardeau’s first skyscraper
  • 1990 – Oscar Hirsch receives the inaugural Rush H. Limbaugh Sr. Award from the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce

Oscar C. Hirsch was born February 23rd, 1896 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. At the age of 17, he joined the First Presbyterian Church of Cape Girardeau, where he eventually served as deacon and elder. He then made his move into the world of broadcasting.

A crowd of hundreds gathered at his home to witness the launch of KFVS-AM (now KZIM-AM) on July 22, 1925, even resulting in a closure of the street to traffic. That first broadcast consisted of orchestra music, it lasted less than two hours and the signal reached an approximate 300 to 400-mile radius.

Hirsch’s many accolades include a 1979 resolution from the Missouri House of Representatives, an 1982 American Library Trustees Association Award and a Life Membership Award from the Salvation Army in 1983. He was also named an honorary member of the Southeast Missourian Hospital board, and a Gold Arrow Partner in the patrons’ project of the “Million Dollar Club” of the Southeast Hospital foundation.

In 1983, Cape Girardeau honored him by designating March 21 as Oscar Hirsch Day. Then in 1990, he was the recipient of one of the first ever Rush H. Limbaugh Sr. Awards given by the city’s Chamber of Commerce “in recognition and appreciation for his immeasurable contributions and many years of sustained community service.”

Oscar’s daughter Margie Diamond accepting the award in his honor.
Oscar’s daughter Margie Diamond accepting the award in his honor.(KFVS)

During his life, Oscar was a member of multiple radio and television organizations including the National Association of Broadcasters, Radio Pioneers of the United States, Maximum Service Television, and he was named a life member of the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers.

He was also a Columbia Broadcasting System affiliate, a board member of the Emergency Broadcast System for Civilian Defense in Missouri, president of Hirsch Broadcasting Company, Lead Belt Broadcasting Company, and Cairo Broadcasting Company, treasurer of Hirsch Communications Engineering Corporation, and director of the Sikeston Community Broadcasting Company.

On August 17, 1992, Hirsch, known as one of America’s first true broadcast pioneers, died in Cape Girardeau at the age of 96.

Hirsch was inducted into the Missouri Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame along with four other individuals who have influenced broadcasting within the state.

The MBA Hall of Fame was created to salute broadcast leadership throughout Missouri. It recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the fields of radio and television broadcasting.

The Hall of Fame is open to individuals in all aspects of the broadcasting industry including ownership, management, news, engineering, production, sales, promotion, on-air talent, programming, creative services, education or associated professional fields. Once an individual has been nominated, they are added to an ongoing list for consideration by the selection committee each year.

Founded in 1948, the Missouri Broadcasters’ Association now serves more than 350 radio and television stations promoting the success and prosperity of Missouri’s Broadcasters and the survival of the broadcasting industry.

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