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NBA Hall of Fame Nomination Form - Electronic
(Microsoft Word DOC)


Hall of Fame 2010

Leta Powell Drake


Leta Powell Drake began her 46 year broadcasting career at KDAL-TV (now KDLH TV) in Duluth, Minnesota.   In 1956, the VFW sponsored the “Voice of Democracy” essay contest for high school students. Leta’s voice was recorded for the first time and she won the city championship. The TV station offered her a part time job as she attended the University of Minnesota, Duluth. She learned quickly and began as talent on commercials and was the “Bingo Girl” on a live Bingo program.


Dr. William Morgan, who had been her UMD Theatre mentor, then teaching at UNL, moved to a faculty position at the University of Nebraska and offered Leta a graduate assistantship. She came to Nebraska in 1960 and auditioned at KOLN-TV, becoming the TV spokesperson for Lincoln Telephone and Telegraph--the first of many commercial sponsorships to follow.


While studying for a Master’s degree and post graduate work at UNL, Leta worked at KLIN Radio, Advertising Agencies and as Radio and TV Director of Gold’s.  KOLN/KGIN-TV offered Leta a position in 1967. She stayed for 28 years, hosting and producing over 10,000 TV shows: the 10/11 Morning Show and Cartoon Corral with Kalamity Kate. She was promoted to Program Director in 1982. Drake received many broadcasting and civic honors including The Abe Lincoln Award from the Southern Baptist Radio and TV Commission for “exceptional achievement as broadcaster and citizen.”  Bob Hope presented the award.


She developed a profound interest in Public Television, volunteering as emcee for auctions and pledge drives for 30 years. She joined the staff of NETV in 1989, programming the Nebraska Public TV Network for the next 13 years, crediting Ron Hull as mentor and friend.


Leta continues to serve the community today as Director of Communications with The Salvation Army in Lincoln.


Leta loved the early days of television. Most memorable of those days were the children on Cartoon Corral. The show ended three decades ago, yet hardly a week goes by today when a now-middle aged adult recognizes her with “Kalamity Kate! I was on your show!” launching into a remarkably detailed memory of their first experience on live TV.


Drake’s passion for live performance continues, acting in over 100 plays and two movies. She opines that live TV and Theatre have much in common. “Know your material, learn your lines, arrive on time and be prepared to cover when things fall apart, which inevitably, they will.” She was a part of the analog generation –the “Golden Age of TV”-- an exciting and creative period, but looks forward to the amazing innovations that the digital revolution brings.