Something to Think About


Steve Sauder is president of Emporia's Radio Stations, Inc. the owners of KVOE-AM 1400, Country 101.7 and Mix 104.9. Steve has been in a leadership position with ERS, Inc., since 1987.

May 13, 2015

Governor Brownback

241-S Kansas State Capital Building

10th & Jackson

Topeka, KS 66612


Governor Brownback,

My name is Steve Sauder and I am President of Emporia’s Radio Stations, Inc. in Emporia.

I do a weekly commentary called “Something to Think About” on KVOE. Last Wednesday you were my topic.

The story about you and the waitress at bar be que place caught my eye. I was especially interested in your statement about being in public and having people telling you they agreed with you and the opposite.

Seemed to me like a good time to find out what people who listen to our three radio stations in Emporia think of your leadership.

We gave our listeners from seven thirty in the morning until midnight to respond in two ways.

They could go on-line at kvoe.com and answer this question:


The results were as follows:

There were 81 YES responses and 531 NO responses.

This was a fair poll as listeners were limited to one vote per


Listeners were also given the opportunity leave a recorded


We recorded 55 verbal responses. They are enclosed on a

CD. Nine said you are doing a good job and 46 didn’t think so. You can listen to them if you like.

          I’m not sure what you will do with this information, but my hope is you’ll at least consider that the direction you have our state headed isn’t that popular. At least that’s what a majority of folks from Emporia think. 


                                                Steve Sauder

May 6, 2015

  Today is listener participation day on KVOE so you can be involved.

            Governor Sam Brownback is in the news almost daily. Earlier this week he made news because a waitress in Topeka decided to send the Gov a message. She X-ed out the Tip line on his bill for some bar be- que and then wrote in “Tip the Schools.”

            The waitress was upset because her sister is in “special education” and budget cuts have forced good teachers to move on.

            The waitress used Face Book to ask how best to send a message to the Governor. The rest is history.

            Governor Brownback was asked Monday about the incident. He said “I’m out in the public a lot and I get a lot of people saying they agree with me and I get a lot of people saying they don’t.”

            I applaud the Governor for his honest response.

I further think now is a great time for Governor Brownback to hear from Emporia or maybe more correctly what KVOE listeners think of his leadership.

            Here’s the plan. We are providing 2 ways to send a message to the Governor. We will see that he gets the final results.

1.      Go to www.kvoe.com and answer this question:


            Straight forward and to the point. This Poll is about as fair as we can be because it limits each device to one vote.

2.      The second way you can participate is by calling 620-208-6316. That’s 208-6316.

At the tone leave your message for Governor Brownback

concerning his job performance. Your comments will be limited to 1 minute and we urge callers to prepare their thoughts in advance and also to stay away from inflammatory comments.

            The opportunity to express your satisfaction for or against our Governor’s performance will stay open until midnight tonight. Results will be discussed on Thursday morning and be transmitted to the Governor’s office.

            OK listeners it’s your turn to be heard. www.kvoe.com and/or 620-208-6316.

April 29, 2015

Two weeks ago we discussed the departure of Michael Shonrock as President at Emporia State and the momentum he had created for the school and our community and how his ability as a “Pied Piper” had brought some really talented people to town.

          This may shock you but three of the four people I mentioned plus Jim Williams, ESU Vice President over enrollment have been identified as taking actions that could cause them to leave ESU.

          These news flashes were shocking, but given time to think they all make sense. None of the four can be tied to Shonrock’s departure. All can be tied to unique opportunities and were not associated with a problem with Emporia State.

          Jim Williams has been a loyal ESU administrator for a number of years and with the recent success – six or seven straight semesters of enrollment growth – the time for Jim to move up is now. He had a great story to tell and Wayne State, Nebraska thought enough of it to make him one of three finalists for their top job. He interviewed on campus yesterday. We wish him well!

          Kristie Ogilvie, Dean of the School of Business, applied for the same job at Wichita State. It would be a nice step up and put her even closer to family. She told us last week she was a finalist, but the position had been offered another candidate.

          DenaSue Potestio shocked our ESU Foundation meeting last week with news that she was resigning to attend Union Theological Seminary in New York City. This is unfortunate during the Now and Forever campaign, but fund raising has been strong and appears to be in good hands.

          The final news was Werner Golling, V.P. for Administration who had interest in a presidential opening in his home town in Minnesota. Not sure if he even interviewed, but I do know he bought a house in Emporia last Thursday and will be moving his family here this summer.

          Provost David Cordle is the only person mentioned two weeks ago without a rumor unless we conclude he might be a strong candidate to replace Shonrock.

          None of these stories are negative for Emporia State. Everyone’s application received attention and why not?

          Things are good and getting better at ESU. These folks are all simply “riding the wave!”

          Someone told me how enjoyable it was composing the Request for Proposal for finding the presidential search firm.

He said, “ESU can now be described in the most positive terms  – enrollment growing, outstanding Master Plan, fully engaged faculty and a community that really supports the school.”

          Changes are going to happen, but when you have a vision and a solid foundation you embrace change and just get stronger.

          It’s a great day to be a Hornet.

          I’m Steve Sauder.

April 15, 2015

Losing your president like Emporia State University is experiencing is never fun, but this ordeal is made easier when you are reaping the benefits from an outstanding effort from the person you are losing.

          Obviously Michael Shonrock has been an extraordinary leader. It has been my practice to answer that old question: “how are things in Emporia?” with – couldn’t be better because Emporia State is on a tear and the guy leading that has energized not only the University, but our entire community!

          What made Doctor Shonrock so special?

          I’ll mention three things, but there are many more.

          First he’s the best “friend raiser” ever. Michael never misses an opportunity to introduce himself and give away a business card. Little kids might be his favorite, but he’s made friends everywhere he’s gone including the Board of Regents and the legislature.

          There’s nothing phony about Shonrock. What you see is what you get. Unbridled enthusiasm, corny jokes (often repeated) he says “thank you” over and over and the people love it.

Why: Because he never, ever has to fake the sincerity.

          President Shonrock’s second great trait is as a “possibility thinker.” He never looks for a reason to say “no,” but looks first for ways to get things accomplished. Not rocket science – rather – let’s find a way!

          He will leave ESU with a new positive attitude, a shiny Master Plan, an updated strategic plan, new techniques and leaders better prepared to face challenges.

          Michael Shonrock also proved to be a Pied Piper. He brought amazingly talented people to EmporiaState like Provost David Cordle, Business Dean Kristie Ogilvie, V. P. for Administration and Physical Affairs Werner Golling, DenaSue Potestio, President of the ESU Foundation and others. Not only did the president get these folks hired they all live in Emporia!

Also under his leadership many campus leaders have become better at their jobs.

          Good presidents like good coaches are hard to find and harder to keep. We need leaders at ESU with the ability to move on and up. Shonrock fits that model.

          So, after feeling like I’d taken a punch in the gut like most you felt when you received the news of Shonrock’s new job I’m ready to celebrate his leadership and start working towards carrying on the tremendous changes he implemented.

          We are better off to have had Michael and lost him than to never have known him and we wish he and Karen all the best.

          It is a Great Day to be a Hornet! Stingers Up!

          I’m Steve Sauder

April 1, 2015

This is Easter week and this year my heart will be heavy knowing my friend Loren Martin lost his battle with cancer. His services are Monday. He asked me to say a few words. I am so honored.

Loren also asked one of his colleagues from Ek Real Estate to speak. Jeff tells me he’ll concentrate on Loren’s character. Guess that means I get to talk about Loren “the character.”

Don’t hold me to it, but I’m thinking maybe I’ll suggest Loren was like my favorite pair of shoes - easy to put on, comfortable and always available.

I was 15 when I met Coach Martin and about to be a sophomore football player at Emporia High. He was our new coach. He was playing golf with Don Ek. I watched him absolutely kill a golf ball and I thought “what a stud.” That thought has never left me.

Like most new shoes Coach had a little breakin’ in period. His three years as EHS’s football coach weren’t much fun. He inherited a very sad situation. We weren’t only little, we were slow! We played a killer schedule and the results weren’t good. I’m not sure Bear Bryant could have made us a team!

Coach resigned after three years and did other things including 4 great years and C of E’s baseball coach. His Presby’s represented District 10 in the NAIA national tournament.

Loren found his calling as a real estate agent and to say he was unique in that job is an understatement. He was known for his honestly and willingness to always assist his clients and co-workers in a positive and constructive manner. His career spanned over 30 years and I doubt he ever made an enemy.

Loren and Nanette were the classic couple. They met at KU and she says she wasn’t easily convinced to become a part of this football and baseball player’s life. Once she agreed though they became a couple you could easily use as a role model.

As shoes grow older they get scuffed a few times and require some polish, but good shoes are hard to find – that was Loren always interested and willing to help.

Loren had a lot of life experiences: Gifted college athlete, semi-pro baseball star, golfer, card player, KU fan, father, husband, Christian, coach, businessman and friend – the list is endless.

Despite the fact our football team wasn’t very successful I always called Loren “Coach.” That’s a term of endearment I reserve for special people. Rest in Peace – Coach.

I’m Steve Sauder

Wednesday - 03/25/15

(Mailed to Governor Brownback on Monday)

Governor Brownback, just wondering what you thought when your picture went up Sunday at KU/WSU game in Omaha and the crowd booed?

You are good at imagining - like not knowing your tax plan is running Kansas into the poorhouse.

So how do you explain that spontaneous response in Omaha?

I’m sure your handlers had a great answer for you.

Is it possible you are really unpopular and your leadership is a failing?

KU and WichitaState laid it on the line Sunday and the best team prevailed. When it was over there were no excuses, no stories, just honest rhetoric about what worked and what failed.

Too bad you aren't willing to man up like the Shockers and Jayhawks and tell the truth !

Suck it up Governor your leadership is ruining a great state and you can’t even see it!

I’m Steve Sauder

Steve Sauder

President Emporia’s Radio Stations, Inc.

1420 C of E Drive

Emporia, KS66801