Tom Cook

1999 Inductee

For the past 50 years, W. Thomas Cook has been involved in Broadcasting Telecommunications. A native of Nebraska, Tom began his career in radio at KBRL-AM-1450, McCook, Nebraska, in 1948. He has been active in radio, television, film and the electronic media from 1948 to the present. He is very proud of the fact that he was able to combine what he calls the “best of two worlds” throughout his career, mainly,the real world of broadcasting and the academic world of education. Professor Cook became a member of the Council for Public Broadcasting at KRMA-TV in Denver, Colorado in 1965 and served on the Board of Directors and the advisory council for Rocky Mountain PBS for 32 years. During this time he worked on the air in a variety of capacities at KRMA-TV. In 1979 Tom became the host of Denver Showcase on KOA-TV (now KCNC).

During those years he interviewed leading figures in politics, arts, economies, sciences, and sports. He continued that series until illness forced him to leave Denver Showcase in 1991. With the opening of Metropolitan State College in 1965, Professor Cook established the first broadcasting curriculum in the state, which in turn led to the first broadcasting-telecommunications major program leading to a baccalaureate degree in 1976. It was during this time that Tom, working with his good friend, Carl Akers, started the first internship at KBTV-TV and radio in 1968. Today, Metro students are participating in 140 telecommunications internships throughout the region and United States. Thousands of students have taken part in the program since 1968, many of whom are current leaders in the broadcasting industry.

W. Thomas Cook has received several honors during his long career, including the Distinguished Faculty award from Metro State College in Denver in 1983, the Distinguished Service Award for establishing the broadcasting internship program in 1988. As a charter member of the Colorado chapter of NATAS, he was instrumental in the establishment of the scholarship program for future television leaders and was honored with a distinguished service award by the chapter. When asked about what pleased him most about his 50 years in the industry he replied, “Seeing my students succeed and benefit from the life experiences that I have been able to impart to them. I am so very proud of their many accomplishments.”

Gold Circle Inductee: 2002