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"Through our numerous volunteer and sponsorship commitments, KOMU 8 will continue to honor the spirit of service that hosts Paul Pepper and 'Uncle' James Mouser have brought to our community," Siddall added.
Paul Pepper began his career at the station as a commercial announcer in 1969 and served as a weather forecaster for many years, as well as co-host of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon for 26 years. "Paul and James have a unique way of making people feel special," Siddall said. 1969 Sept. 15, Paul Pepper joins KOMU 8 as a commercial announcer. 1982 Pepper & Friends debuts on Saturdays as a 30-minute show with host Paul Pepper. It is taped on Tuesday evenings with a live audience of 100 people. 2009 Sept. 15, Paul Pepper celebrates 40 years with KOMU 8.
Paul Pepper, center, tapes a segment for "Pepper & Friends" in 2005 with Susan Murray and Tom Bair.
Host Paul Pepper made the announcement at the start of today's show, pausing several times to choke back tears. "This is the most difficult announcement I have had to make after almost 40 years on the air and 27 with 'Pepper & Friends,' "he said. "KOMU has decided not to continue with our show." Pepper spent several minutes thanking past guests, viewers and supporters. "Some days we do a good job, and some days we fall flat on our face, but you've always let us come back into your homes," he said. Reached by phone before this morning's program, Pepper said the locally focused show is the last of its kind. "There's nothing like it; they've all disappeared," he said. Pepper declined to comment on whether his show is profitable. "All I can tell you is, we have not lost any sponsors," he said. Calling it a dream job, Pepper said he wanted to host a television show since he was a young child. He said he'll miss the cooking demonstrations, animals brought in from the Humane Society and other staples that made the show so beloved. In this economy, you need something better than Paul Pepper and the poor journalism students that painfully try to articulate the news.....argh! Does anyone else remember when Paul hosted the afternoon kid's show "Showtime" on KOMU? And all the kids in the studio audience got bags of Backer's potato chips? ((E sighs wistfully at her lost youth...)) Paul Pepper was a weatherman on KOMU before Pepper & Friends. Although I don't really watch Pepper and friends, it has done a great service to our community-where else can one see the local troops, musicians, actors and good service organizations broadcast their recent news. It will be missed. I worked this show for a few years, and the dedication that Paul and James put into getting that show on the air everyday is really quite something. Maybe Paul and Uncle John (if that's his name) can start a variety show on CAT TV w/o the stiff arm of the network regulating them. Paul is an amazing man, and his show a great forum for interest groups to get noticed! I wonder how much KOMU will really save by cutting the show, since it is sponsored by local businesses (D & H Drugstore, anyone? I'm sure they pay a pretty penny for all their appearances on the show). It's also a shame that fewer animals will be adopted from our local shelter because of the lack of a few minute blurb about a puppy. As a community, we really had a lot going with this show and I don't want to see it go. Columbia is losing it's small town feel, maybe it's just time for me to move... Paul and Uncle James, feel free to come with me! Good luck to Paul and James. I can remember watching Paul Pepper in black and white, when he first started, that was - oh, about 40 years ago I guess! Just a thought, maybe another local station can pick up his show? And for the other subject, Paul Pepper is the perfect example of "I do not care if he is or is not, he is just a great person". Paul Pepper will always, always be a fond memory for me. His demenor, great attitude and happy smile are priceless. Could be another show or options will remain open for Mr. Pepper, who knows, all I know is that he is a winner in my book. Now Paul can move to Hawaii. It's a shame that Paul's real demeanor wasn't what was displayed onscreen; he may have picked up even more fans. Paul Pepper was such a great guy, and he was very supportive in our community. Paul Pepper is part of Columbia. I don't know if they're going to stay around or what, and I won't miss what I don't pay attention to anyway, but it is the Columbia I grew up with and love so much....................... When I heard this morning I had to text my daughter, as she too talks about how Paul Pepper was part of her childhood also. Thank you Paul! Paul, you've got untold friends and supporters out here! I certainly remember Paul as the weatherman, and as a stand-in for Esther on "Of Interest to Women". Paul and James broke some major barriers in this town and helped people to accept them as they are. Paul Pepper is a Columbia legend. Whether you liked the content of the show or not, I always respected the effort and dedication Paul and James gave to the show and to Columbia. Heck, I remember watching Paul as the local weatherman. He did a good job, but he sure had a hard time pronouncing "possibility". "Heck, I remember watching Paul as the local weatherman. -As do I. I remember him in the 70s, hair almost to his shoulders, tie knot the size of a softball, scrawling weather fronts and forecasts in longhand on the dry-erase map in his barely decipherable handwriting. Once, he ran out of ink: "We'll be right back after this message from Glover's the Clothier! (By the way, I used to prepare lunch for Paul and James when they'd shop at the old Nowell's store. I thought Paul was dead. "Turn me on dead man" Wait a minute. That was Sgt Pepper Paul not Paul Pepper. I do remember Paul being on Esther's "Of Interest to Women. I too remember watching Paul Pepper, the KOMU weatherman many years ago. I have had the pleasure of working with Paul and James with Relay for Life and the Humane Society. Paul and James have done more for this community than we could possibly thank them for in a lifetime. If it was Paul and James' decision, I would bid them a fond farewell and hope for a parade, but that is not the case here. Join me and thousand of others in support of continuing this quality community show on KOMU. I was at the old Martin House with my wife a few years ago and saw Paul and Uncle James get into a spat over a ceramic frog, it was the cutest thing ever! Not that I get to watch it much (minor things like work get in the way), but the show is an institution and deserves to run as long as Paul can manage to keep up the good work. I never watched Pepper and Friends but did see many ads for the show, mostly featuring Paul with a pet for adoption or some other local promotion. He struck me as a happy man who repeatedly called his work a "dream job" and the fulfillment of an ambition he had held since childhood. For anyone to have a 40 year career doing anything is astonishing. But for someone to devote 27 of those 40 years to hauling himself out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to smile in front of a television camera as he advocates, promotes, and otherwise helps out some charitable organization that couldn't in a million years afford the ad time he provided is no less than extraordinary. From Fred Parry and Dan Claxton to Paul Pepper and James Mouser, we've been watching the slow decimation of our local media (David Lile was "furloughed" this week from KFRU, and the next round of layoffs will likely hit there soon). As for Paul and James, they seemed like a couple of real gentlemen. My daughter still talks about being an awkward 6th grader and being at Nowell's or Wal Mart or somewhere and seeing Paul Pepper. He said "Hi! Paul Pepper sat on the board of the local Senior Center 13 years ago when I worked there. So his interest in the local senior community was certainly not just window dressing. And he really doesn't look the same in person.
On Friday May 7th, 2004, Paul Pepper and, of course, his friends will hit a milestone.Pepper and Friends will air its 5,000th show after 22 years showcasing various aspects of our communities."Paul and James speak with the best people in our community and it makes all of us proud of where we live." Paul Pepper began his career at KOMU-TV8 in 1969 as an announcer and then became a weathercaster, but he truly found his niche in mid-Missouri's only locally produced Community"The show has been a dream come true," says Pepper."I am honored and privileged that the people of mid-Missouri invite us into their homes everyday."Pepper and Friends has worked with many not-for-profit organizations to help improve our community, but is perhaps most well known for its extensive work with the Central Missouri Humane Society.Paul and James' "Pet Corner" segment has found home for thousands of pets, and Paul's efforts led the Humane Society to name its lifetime achievement award in his honor.Children have also been a key group addressed by the show.
Host Paul Pepper was expected to discuss the cancellation on today's program, set to air at 11 a.m.
I have posted this because Paul and James have been so supportive of everything local, including musicians. Sept. 15, 1969 - Paul Pepper joins KOMU 8 as a commercial announcer. 1982 - Pepper & Friends debuts on Saturdays as a 30-minute show with host Paul Pepper. Sept. 15, 2009 - Paul Pepper will celebrate 40 years with KOMU 8. Paul and Jame's ifestyles aside (do you REALLY care?), Columbia is a little sadder place to live in with the cancellation of this show. Well, I wondered if Paul was ready for retirement too, so I asked someone that works with them every day. They have been filming Pepper and Friends in the "back shed" for quite some time which I sort of equated to "Milt, we're going to need you to go ahead and move you downstairs into storage B, Mmm-kay?" By: planetguy56 on 6/2/09 @11:56AM i appeared on the show a few times in various musical lineups. i was always impressed by how well we were treated and just how incredibly well Paul ran things. they will be missed. By: dcravens on 6/2/09 @7:01PM Paul has always been a professional.
As video producer, McMillen directs and produces regular and occasional programming from RJI's own production studio, including KBIA-FM's Views of the News, Global Journalist and Radio Friends with Paul Pepper.
He is a Columbia native who started working at KOMU-TV, the University of Missouri's NBC affiliate, at the age of 16. At 18 McMillen became the audio operator for Pepper and Friends, a community variety and talk show that aired on KOMU for 27 years. It was a position he held for almost 10 years. Aside from audio, McMillen's duties on the show included field segment videographer and editor and, from 2001-2007, primary fill-in director. McMillen also directed KOMU's daily two-hour morning newscast from 2001-2008. He is married to Jennifer, whom he met at KOMU. She currently produces the CW News at Nine for the station.