By John R. Schirmer
After more than a dozen years as general manager of KJEP Television in Nashville, Terry Snead has resigned from the position and plans to eventually move to the Fayetteville area to be closer to his children and grandchildren. His last day will be Friday, Feb. 28.
Snead became general manager in November 2011. Glen Power died in August of that year, and Rev. Jim Polk served as interim manager until Snead was selected.
“Glen and his brother, Jim Power,” were the ones who initiated everything concerning the operation of the TV station,” Snead said.
Snead’s broadcasting career began in 1972 at KMLA Radio in Ashdown, his hometown. He also worked in radio in Texarkana and co-anchored the 6 and 10 p.m. news on KTAL-TV in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
TV requires “a lot more work [than radio], from handling equipment to being able to get things on the air,” Snead said. “It takes two or three trips to get all of our equipment in the stadium for a football game.”
Producing Scrapper football “is one of the things I’m most proud of. We couldn’t put together commercials like the big companies do, but we put out a product that was good. I think the entire broadcast of Scrapper football was done professionally. I never approached it from the fan side but from being the eyes and voice of what’s on the field,” Snead said.
Snead did color commentary on Ashdown broadcasts over KMLA before moving to play by play. “I tried to take the TV style into our football games on KJEP, but old habits of radio play by play kept creeping in,” he said.
Scrapper coaches from Billy Laird to Billy Dawson “have been very good to me. They helped any way that they could. I can’t say enough about ‘Bunch’ Nichols. He’s the hardest working athletic director anywhere,” Snead said.
The KJEP production crew “was completely professional. We never badmouthed the officials or said anything crude about the opponents.” Snead and the crew traveled about 15,000 miles covering the Scrappers, he said.
Snead also produced a number of telethons for the local station. When the first fund-raiser for the Howard County Children’s Center went on, it originated at the transmitter site. In 2002, the event was moved to the Carter Day Center and continues to be located there.
Telethons for KJEP were also done offsite, Snead said. “Being able to broadcast from remote locations was a big accomplishment.”
There has been a “misconception that the TV station is shutting down,” according to Snead. “In my opinion, we’ll be continue what they are doing for a long time. At a board meeting last month, both the board and I recognized that the station couldn’t pay me and survive. They have enough income from churches and donations to continue operations and hire a part-time manager.”
Several factors have affected the station’s finances, Snead said. They include the deaths of two major donors, the loss of some church revenue, the loss of $1,000 a month from Trinity Broadcasting, and the decline in the nation’s economy. Those factors “led to our finances not being as sound as they once were,” Snead said.
Snead described himself as “ultra-conservative. I didn’t make big equipment purchases. I applied for a flash cut to be on Channel 23 when the time comes for a digital transmitter to go on the air Sept. 1, 2015” under federal guidelines.
“My exit was no big surprise. I knew we were okay through football season. We had 25 sponsors. Sometimes it was hard to get all the spots in a game. After the season, I knew it was a matter of time. It was a tough decision for the board. They did what had to be done, and they did it gracefully,” Snead said.
“I’ve really enjoyed the 12 years I spent in Nashville. I met a lot of good people and made memories that will be cherished the rest of my life,” Snead said.
During his first week in Nashville, Snead said he discussed his job duties with the late Ronny Woods, a board member. “I told him that nobody had defined the hours I would work. He said, ‘Some days will be busy days. Some will be short days.’ That’s the nature of broadcasting.”
As he leaves KJEP, Snead and his wife plan to relocate in northwest Arkansas to be closer to their family “and be closer to my beloved Razorbacks. I don’t plan on sitting down. I’ll work in TV, radio or outside the industry until the day I can’t work. I’ve lived all my life in Ashdown. This will be a difficult transition. In life, everything changes.”
Snead said northwest Arkansas “is like a second home to me. I love this part of the state, but there comes a time for hard choices.”
Snead said his time with KJEP has been “an extremely fast 12 years. It seems like a few months ago. I had a good association with churches, cities, counties and schools. I taught radio-TV for 10 years at CCCUA. I have no regrets as far as my stay here. I gave my heart and soul to KUEP and with them continued success in the future.”
KJEP board president Mark Cassady said, “We appreciate all the years Terry has spent as station manager and we are sorry to see him go. The board is looking at our options. Volunteers will keep the station going” until a part-time manager is selected.
A committee will take care of the search process, Cassady said.