July 2019 Magazine

Arkansas Businesses Celebrating Anniversaries: KARK – 65 Years


by Tristan Bennett

KARK – 65 Years

This year many Arkansas businesses are celebrating big anniversaries alongside our state’s celebration of its territory bicentennial. Anniversaries are always an accomplishment, whether it’s one year, a centennial or more. 

Bought as part of the Louisiana Purchase, the land that became Arkansas was established as a territory on March 2, 1819, according to the “Encyclopedia of Arkansas.” To celebrate the bicentennial, Arkansans gathered at the State Capitol in March for a party complete with a birthday cake, historical displays and a speech from Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Several of the state’s businesses are holding their own anniversary celebrations this year. It’s a milestone many do not get to enjoy. Twenty percent of businesses never see their first anniversary, and only about half will make it to their fifth year, according to the Small Business Administration. Arkansas is lucky to have such a diverse economy made up of local, homegrown businesses that Arkansans have continued to support for many years. 

KARK 4 News has been keeping central Arkansas families informed for 65 years. First broadcast in 1954, KARK has come a long way from its days of black and white nightly broadcasts. 

KARK was purchased in 2003 by Nexstar Broadcasting which led to many changes for the station. 

“When Nexstar started to expand, at KARK we became the hub for accounting, master control, and traffic for multiple stations across the country. This created efficiencies in those departments,” says Greg Yarbrough, managing editor. 

Later, Nexstar purchased the company that owned KLRT and KASN, both of which moved in to the KARK studios.

The broadcast industry is rapidly evolving in light of new technologies and changing needs in the community. KARK’s innovative staff launched one of the first websites in its television market in 1996. 

“Growing up my parents and grandparents had a date with the local news every night to find out what happened that day. Now we know instantaneously when things are happening,” says Shealyn Kirkman, KARK senior producer. 

For 42 years KARK has hosted the Community Service Awards with the governor’s office and the Arkansas Department of Human Services, according to Yarbrough. 

“Each year we honor Arkansans who have given thousands of hours to our state in various ways,” he says. 

The station has also volunteered through the Nexstar Founder’s Day of Caring at the Arkansas School for the Blind and the Billy Mitchell Boys and Girls Club. As a vital part of its community, KARK steps up to help not only to inform but also to care.

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