Robert E. “Bob” Schmidt, 90, Hays, Chairman of the Board of Eagle Communications in Hays, died early Tuesday morning at his home.
He was preceded by his wife Patricia A. “Pat” Schmidt, who passed away in August 2015.
Funeral arrangements are pending and will be announced by Hays Memorial Chapel Funeral Home.
Schmidt was raised in La Crosse and served in the Navy in the Philippines in World War II. He then began a career in radio while at Fort Hays State University as a sportscaster. Upon graduation from FHSU in 1950, he was appointed General Manager of KAYS Radio. He was elected Vice President and Director in 1952 of KAYS, Inc.
In 1989, he purchased control of the corporation and was elected President/CEO. While leading the corporation, the company built or purchased 24 Radio and Television stations and 12 Cable Systems in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Colorado. Eagle currently owns and operates 28 award-winning community radio stations and serves 60 communities with broadband service including internet, video and voice service.
Schmidt retired as President/CEO of Eagle Communications in 1998 and sold the majority interest in the company to its employees through a Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Nearly 300 Eagle Employee Owners continue to build the company and share in the value of ownership.
Among many other honors, Schmidt was named a member of the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2000 and was named to the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 2003.