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Isabella Fernandez, a communications student at College of the Ozarks, stands with her great-grandfather Dick Bott and Rich Bott after introducing Dick upon his acceptance into the Missouri Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy of Bott Radio Network/Flickr

Bottt Radio Network founder Dick Bott inducted into Missouri Broadcasters Hall of Fame

Dick Bott, founder of Bott Radio Network, was inducted into the Missouri Broadcasters Hall of Fame earlier this summer. Isabella Fernandez, Bott’s great-granddaughter and College of the Ozarks communications major, served as his surprise inductor

“I was proud, grateful and appreciative,” Bott told Baptist Press. The majority of the credit, he said, goes to his team of broadcasters, engineers and numerous others who have been important to the work of the network over the years.

Bott Radio Network began in 1962 when Bott and his wife, Sherley, purchased a country music station in Kansas City and promptly changed it to Christian programming. The station enjoyed a large audience but was losing money because of mismanagement. The couple changed the call letters to KCCV — Kansas City’s Christian Voice — and switched the format at noon shortly after the purchase.

“All that day and the next the phone rang, and people were mad and angry,” he said. “By the second or third day, though, the people calling were saying, ‘thank you.’ That was our new audience. Word of mouth spread in a hurry, and that was food in a land where people were hungry.”

Today, Bott Radio Network owns and operates 120 stations reaching 16 states and approximately 63 million people. It also is available online at BottRadioNetwork.com and through its mobile apps and platforms such as TuneIn Radio, Roku and Apple TV.

Bott serves on the board of governors of the National Religious Broadcasters and was inducted into the NRB Hall of Fame in 2008. He was a 2015 Dred Scott Freedom Award recipient and in 2016 received the Richard M. DeVos Free Enterprise Award for Exceptional Leadership from the Council of National Policy.

The decision to launch a Christian radio station in Kansas City and establish the footprint of a worldwide radio network brought with it the importance of community as well as devotion to integrity.

“You have to see it not just as a paycheck but a ministry,” Bott said. “Give something of yourself to a cause. I’ve seen guys who were good at what they did but didn’t care where they did it. You can’t build on that. You need a foundation with people who will grow with you.”

The Hall of Fame also includes such notable broadcasters as Rush Limbaugh, Bob Costas and Jack Buck.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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