New book offers stories of broadcaster Larry Steckline’s career, life

Larry Steckline reporting for KTVH in 1964.
Larry Steckline reporting for KTVH in 1964. Courtesy photo

Larry Steckline is a statewide figure on Kansas television and radio.

Now, he’s gracing the cover of a book, “Larry Steckline: A Half-Century as the Voice of Kansas Agriculture.”

Written and self-published by his wife, Carla Steckline, the book’s proceeds will go toward Kansas chapters of the Future Farmers of America.

“We wanted this to be a charity contribution that was reflective of Larry’s career,” she said. “FFA seemed like the natural choice.”

Steckline said she started the 350-page book as a way to pass along his stories to family and friends.

“It started out as that: stories for the family,” she said. “And then it became stories on steroids.”

The 92 chapters cover Larry Steckline’s 73 years from growing up in Ogallah in western Kansas to his early years doing market reports for KTVH to his many trips abroad with U.S. secretaries of agriculture.

Steckline said her husband was petrified to deliver the market report on television for the first time in 1964. The reporter who had covered the markets had quit the day before, and Steckline was asked to take over.

“He’d just bought his first black-and-white television on payment,” she said. “Now he was on TV.”

Overcoming his stage fright, he went on to create the Mid America Ag Network that broadcast his farm reports on stations in Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Nebraska. He owned and operated 27 radio stations through the years — all while managing a wheat and cattle farm.

To read more of Steckline’s stories, contact your local FFA chapter or visit www.larrysteckline.com where you can designate to which FFA chapter you would like to contribute.

The $20 book will also be sold at Watermark Books & Cafe and all proceeds, aside from the store’s consignment fee, will go to individual FFA chapters.

Reach Kelly Meyerhofer at 316-268-6357 or kmeyerhofer@wichitaeagle.com.