Heartland Chapter Inductees


Susan Peters

Susan Peters has been a news anchor at KAKE-TV in Wichita for almost thirty years and a news broadcaster for almost forty. More than a journalist, Susan sees local television as a way to help people, specifically children and seniors, and uses her considerable talent and reach to speak for those who cannot. She engages viewers by talking with them as if she were in their living room; night after night, her captivating smile and personable manner convey a kinship with her viewers. She connects with her community.

From her Susan’s Kids franchise to her monthly reports on Kids Needing Adoption, Susan has been a strong advocate for Kansas children in foster care, educating tens of thousands of viewers about the pressing needs of this vulnerable population, planting the seed that they, too, might consider adopting a child. For many years, she has laid the foundation for numerous 'forever families,' and the results have led to life-changing matches for the children.

Susan is the face of KAKE’s Reading Caravan campaign; every month, she travels to a school in the area to spend time with students – even reading them a story, often in costume. Her volunteer work extends to the Children’s Hospital, Salvation Army, Futures for Adolescents, March of Dimes, Leukemia Society, and the Center for Children. She regularly offers a home-cooked Italian meal at various silent auctions.

For the past five or six years, the local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association and Senior Services, Inc. have welcomed Susan’s enthusiastic support. She's interviewed caregivers, served as a Celebrity Walk Chair, and helped organize the annual fundraising roast – including the creation of entertaining videos and skits for the event.

Susan has bowled, been roasted, interviewed children in need of a family, hosted telethons, comforted parents of sick children, and caroled-for-a-cause in single-digit temperatures. She uses her talent on-air to introduce individuals needing a little help from their neighbors. Thanks to her leadership, the community responds.

Andy Schaeffer

Skilled professional in all forms of photography, both still and video, and non-linear video editing. Director of Photography, writer, editor, producer, dog handler, talent wrangler, friend to Governors, Hawaiian shirt wearer, professional braggart, and aspiring lottery winner.

These lines from Andy’s resume are unique, funny, wry, accurate … and just as comprehensively incomplete. For almost 40 years, he worked in the TV business in the Heartland region, and while his work garnered recognition and awards almost past counting, it’s his amazing attitude that leaves the largest legacy.

Since 1989, he was a fixture at KUSA Denver’s creative services department, with a talent that touched 85% of that station’s promotional advertising and produced hundreds of television spots. Instantly recognizable by his attire – shorts and Hawaiian shirts every day of the year – he said ‘hi’ to everyone and could often be found sharing technology, taking a novice photographer under his wing, or making a mid-afternoon coffee run. He embraced his work with curiosity and cleverness, frequently building by hand the specific prop he needed for a shoot. During his career, he worked with a Who’s Who of athletes, politicians, and movie stars.

Andy exuded positivity, creativity, and enthusiasm. The people he worked with, whether in front of or behind the camera, whether a fellow professional or a member of the community, came away with a smile and a sense that great things were possible. He took the mystery and anxiety out of the process, laughed and made friends, and had fun. He had a way with talent: making them feel as if this moment right now was the most delightful place to work – it was his signature modus operandi. He was the consummate ambassador for our industry.

His love for Colorado is well-known, and not just by the two Governors who have officially recognized him; Andy gave his time and resources generously to Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, promoting the care of natural resources. His spare time and energy were taken up with his beloved family, his two dogs, and his backcountry escape, Chez Fir.

Pat Woodard

From his first job in Hastings, Nebraska, back in 1973 to the last 25 years here in Denver, Pat Woodard’s career in broadcasting is extensive.

Pat tells stories, lots of them, and he’s really, really good at it. From his many years as a reporter, first at KOMO in Seattle and then at KMGH in Denver, he perfected what was then a new way of filing reports: logging every bit of audio and video and writing a script which allowed natural sound and pictures to convey more information – and more eloquently – than the standard interview had ever done. He earned a reputation in the newsroom with the photography staff, who would jockey with the assignment desk to work with Pat; he made them look good, too. He brings that style to his documentary production as well; his scripts are an exercise in minimalism, with less speaking and more of the other stuff – the people that have stories to tell, and the places and history that are their backdrops.

His career has taken him all over the world, as a local news reporter, with HDNet, the National Geographic Channel, and now in his freelance efforts. In over 40 years in broadcasting, he’s seen and done it all and worked with photographers and crew who respect and admire his passion. Pat’s gift for storytelling, combined with this passion, has never known the boundaries of a job description. Many of his projects over the years have been completed on his own time, pro bono: commemorating the 29th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War; highlighting the work of Colorado orthopedic surgeons in Ukraine; humanitarian work in Chile, Haiti, and with the Susan G. Komen foundation. Recently he contributed his talents for other not-for-profit ventures: V-Day 11.11.11 to honor military veterans, and Droughtland, which spotlights the struggle of farmers and ranchers in Southeastern Colorado.

Where, then, does he also find the time to teach and mentor? Pat’s well-known at the NPPA for his work with the Advanced Team Storytelling Workshop and for his seminars in conjunction with the RTNDA, individual television stations, international news networks, and university journalism students. He’s been honored with over 100 awards over the years, including Edward R. Murrow and Emmy® recognition. In the words of his peers, Pat is a Master Storyteller.