Jean Lasater Honnold was a favorite host on the Dodge City airwaves
March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate women who blazed their own trail. This month, we’re sharing the story of a Manor of the Plains resident who told the stories of Dodge City on the radio for more than 20 years.
Over three decades, Jean Lasater became a household name throughout southwestern Kansas, thanks to the warm, personal interviews she did for years on local radio and TV programs. From 1987 to 2000, “The Jean Lasater Show” was a favorite on 1370 KGNO radio.
“Every time we go somewhere, someone remembers Jean and wants to catch up on old times,” said her husband, Jack Honnold.
Today, Jean and Jack are enjoying life at Manor of the Plains. The couple, who married in 1998, volunteer three days a week delivering mail to residents in assisted living and health care.
Even before moving to Manor of the Plains, Jean knew she had touched generations of people in the Dodge City area. She met people who said she had interviewed their grandmothers. Her former station general manager, Mike Kinnan, called Jean “a broadcast icon” in a Dodge City Globe story about her retirement in 2000.
Jean didn’t set out to be an icon.
She had a degree in sociology and was working at the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce in 1969 when she was asked to host a local TV program. The station manager came into their offices to find a host, and he singled out Jean because she was working there only part time.
From then on, Jean worked off and on at local radio and TV stations, sticking to part-time hours when her children were at home. She hit her stride with her interview program in 1987. In the Globe story about her retirement, Jean talked about her approach to interviewing people and getting them to talk to her. “I want my guests to look good, I want them to feel positive,” she said then. “I’ve tried to let my guests do most of the talking.”
Looking back today, Jean said she had the best job in town, and sometimes wishes she hadn’t retired after all.
“I loved being around all the people and interacting with them,” she said. “I really miss those days, but I also enjoy life at Manor of the Plains. It gives me a chance to be around people.”