The owner of a radio station based in Clarksdale will be recognized by his alma mater this month.
Raymond L. Simes will be one of the Arkansas State heroes honored during the school’s inaugural Living Legends Breakfast, scheduled for this Saturday, Feb. 9 at the campus in Jonesboro.
“This year’s ‘legends’ come from all walks of life, but they all share a bond, which is their pride in being an Arkansas State University alumnus,” Jerrod O. Lockhart, director of Student Support Services, said in a news release issued by the university.
Simes is the president and CEO of Force 3 Radio Network, which includes WNEV (98.7-FM) that is licensed to Clarksdale. Other stations include 104.9 KCLT-FM (Helena-West Helena, Ark.) and 105.3 KAKJ-FM (Marianna/Forrest City, Ark.).
Simes is founder, co-owner and general manager of KCLT-FM, which was the first African-American owned radio station in Eastern Arkansas. It was founded in 1984.
Force 3 is the only African-American owned and operated radio network in the mid-South region, said a press release from the business.
Simes was one of the first African-Americans commissioned as an Arkansas state trooper in 1979. He played basketball for Arkansas State University in his freshman and sophomore years. He graduated from ASU in 1978 with a bachelor of science degree in radio/TV.
The legends will be honored at a formal breakfast and awards ceremony Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. in the Hames Room of First National Bank Arena, 217 Olympic Drive. Admission to the Black History Month event is free, but seating is limited.
“Everyone is invited to join us as we recognize these amazing ‘hidden figures’ who are accomplishing amazing things,” Lockhart said.
Simes, a native of West Helena, is the fifth of seven children born to L.T. and Nevada Simes. All seven children graduated from college and became professionals in their field of studies.