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SDPBers Celebrate Milestones

Amber Anders
Continuity Director, 20 years

Born and raised in South Sioux City, NE, and hired originally as a Programming Assistant for SDPB-TV, Amber is celebrating 20 years. She’s seen many technical evolutions. “Where to begin? When I first started, we ran on tape, live audio reads, typing labels on typewriters and killing lots of trees. Now we’ve moved to no tapes, digital file, server backups, automation, the cloud and virtual meetings.” Amber’s most memorable SDPB moments are the yearly holiday gatherings. “SDPB has always been more than a job for me. It’s family that supports you and wants to see you succeed. Throughout my professional life here, I’ve tried, failed, learned and grown. This milestone reminds me how far I’ve come and how much more I want to accomplish!”

Michael M. Johnson
Senior Studio Engineer, 35 years

Growing up in Newell, SD, and attending high school in Polo, SD, where his father was principal, Mike’s first foray into broadcasting was as after-school and weekend DJ with KQKD-AM Redfield. Mike has held many roles at SDPB, including hosting All Things Considered and Jazz Nightly while also working part-time as a TV Master Control Operator. In 1987, he was promoted to Microwave Engineer, where he worked in the field on SDPB’s transmitter sites. He’s been Senior Studio Engineer since 1991. Mike was essential to SDPB’s move from analog to digital. “That was the most dramatic change, from analog to digital, both in the studio and transmitter sites,” says Mike. “Virtually every piece of equipment became obsolete and had to be replaced. Fortunately, equipment has become less expensive, allowing us to do much more local programming than we used to.”

Mike recalls the feat of keeping SDPB on the air after newspaper founder Al Neuharth donated money to USD for a building remodel. Mike and other SDPB engineers had to relocate Radio and TV to surplus FEMA trailers without going off-air. “Working for SDPB has been my dream job,” says Mike. “And, in Master Control, I got to play the same educational TV shows I watched in grade school. Several were still in black-and-white!”

Kent Osborne
Director of Digital, 38 years

Raised in Mitchell and a 1986 graduate of USD’s Mass Comm program, Kent started as a production assistant at SDPB during his first year of college, where he “swept the TV studio and ran camera on the weekly public affairs program Conference Call.” “We’re using technology that wasn’t even dreamed of when I started at KUSD,” says Kent. “As a student it was my job to drive from Vermillion to the Sioux Falls airport to pick up video tape recorded at the SD legislature every day.  In the winter months with a rear-wheel drive panel van.  It was a challenge to get the show complete before airtime each night.”
“I miss running into George Mickelson in the Capitol elevator, working the state tournaments my kids participated in, and will miss the incredibly truthful, responsible, accountable, visionary, creative people I’ve worked with over the decades. I am thankful for the variety of projects that I’ve been asked to and continue to participate in.”