2005 Gold Circle Inductee Augie Hiebert
August "Augie" Hiebert's broadcasting adventure began in 1932 in Bend, Ore., when at the age of 15 he built and licensed his first ham radio. In 1939, after helping build KBND radio in Bend, he moved to the territory of Alaska, hired as an engineer for KFAR radio in Fairbanks. In 1941, Augie was the first person in North America to hear radio messages of the attack at Pearl Harbor, bringing official notification of the attack to Alaska's military.
In 1953 the adventure kicked into high gear. Augie built and owned Alaska's first television station, Anchorage's KTVA. Two years later, he would bring the first television to Fairbanks on KTVF. Augie's stations survived more than the considerable financial challenges. In 1964, KTVA survived the Great Alaska Quake. Just three years later, Augie dug KTVF out of the mud, when the Chena River overflowed its banks in Fairbanks. Among Augie's firsts as an engineer, was the first permanent television translator in Alaska in 1959, and the first live satellite broadcast in 1969, the Apollo moon landing. Not only did Augie introduce the magic of television to Alaska, he also gave scores of Alaskans a start in broadcasting. In 1997, after 65 years as a broadcaster, Augie sold Northern Television.
Augie has been a pillar in the Alaska and television community. President of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and the Association of the U.S. Army in Alaska. First President and one of the founders of the Alaska Broadcasters Association. Director of the Alaska Educational Broadcasting Committee, the CBS Television Network Affiliates Association, the Civil Air Patrol, and the Pioneers of Alaska.
Augie's service to the community continues. In 2000, he created a mentor program with Mirror Lake Middle School, where today students produce a news broadcast every morning. Augie is actively working with the Anchorage School District to expand the program to every high school. Augie also remains active working with the FCC on Alaska's behalf, most recently working with the students on their FCC application for the country's only license to transmit a low power radio signal from their school. He has also been engaged with the Alaska Broadcast Consortium as Engineer Emeritus, helping stations complete their conversion to digital television.
After 73 years in the broadcast industry, Augie remains both a link to Alaska's broadcast heritage, and also a bridge to its future. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences- Northwest Chapter is proud to honor Augie Hiebert as the first inductee into the Gold Circle.