CLASS OF 1977
Gordon C. “Bud” Pentz was owner, president, and general manager of KWBE AM and FM in Beatrice, Nebraska. A native of Illinois, he was a graduate of both the University of Illinois and Yale University, having received four degrees from the two institutions.
While station manager, Gordon Pentz bought controlling interest in KWBE Beatrice in 1957. From there he developed his small market local signal into a legendary success story. First, he placed the station focus on local issues and events and even aired his own talk show inviting nearly any of Beatrice’s residents with something to say as guests. For many years his live telephone call-in show helped him determine the needs, interests, and wants of the KWBE listening audience.
Secondly, in 1958 he installed the state’s first radio station Weather Radar through the purchase of a government surplus World War II Navy Radar system.
Bud was deeply involved in his beloved Beatrice. He received many awards and citations from local Beatrice organizations.
He was a member of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association since the 1950s, named president in 1974, and inducted into the Association’s Hall of Fame three years later. During his year as president, he visited every broadcasting station in the state, despite several serious illnesses and major surgical operations. As president, he took the lead in overhauling the dues structure and more than doubled the association’s income. Pentz was also a member of the Nebraska Educational Television Commission.
Keeping it in the family, Pentz turned station management over to his daughter, Jana Pentz-McBride, in 1983. He remained president and CEO until selling the AM and FM three years later and retiring in 1987.
Bud passed away on February 29, 2004.