Saturday, June 29, 2019

Farewell, James Gullickson

I want to recognize James Gullickson, the General Manager of 89.7 KMSU FM "The Maverick" which broadcasts from the campus of Minnesota State University in Mankato. Gully is retiring from his post after many years of service.

Sounds of Cinema began in the KMSU studios back in 2004 (under the title "Maverick at the Movies"). At the time I was a graduate student and I was working with the station’s news crew. I had been thinking about a radio show featuring film music and I pitched the idea to Gully. I wasn’t very experienced in radio production but Gully agreed to give me the chance to do something I was interested in. Among the qualities I’ve admired about Gully has been his commitment to letting students and volunteers explore their interests and providing enough support so that we produce quality programs but also allowing us the space to follow our interests. He did not micromanage my program but he was generous with feedback while also being kind about it. I shudder a bit when I reflect back on some of my early programs but Gully allowed me to learn from my mistakes while offering suggestions that improved my work. This show has continued in no small part because of Gully’s support and he has been a mentor, an advocate, a supervisor, and a friend. 

Gully guided KMSU through some challenging times. He took over management duties in a period when the station’s future was uncertain and he guided KMSU through personnel shakeups, technical obstacles, and financial challenges. The station you hear now, which is an important fixture of Minnesota State, the Mankato community, and southern Minnesota more generally, is a testament to Gully’s vision and leadership.

So, thank you, Gully. You’ve been one of the great influences on my life and you’ve left behind an impressive legacy. Congratulations on your retirement. You’ve earned it.

If you live in the Mankato area and want to pay your respects, there is a retirement party for Gully at Pub 500 on Sunday, June 30th. Details can be found here.