Follow Joan on Twitter: @KWCHJBarrett
Joan has been in the media business since high school, when she started working part-time at a local radio station in Great Bend and as a sports reporter for her high school newspaper.
Her part-time job and hobby turned into a broadcasting career. After graduating from Kansas State University, Joan took a job as a reporter in Texas. Her work as a journalist took her to Texas, Kansas and Arizona.
In Phoenix, she was the Vice President of News for KPNX, a Gannett owned station. After a stint in consulting, she was named the News Director at KWCH in 2001. She was promoted to the top position in 2003, and is now the President/General Manager of Sunflower Broadcasting, Inc.
SBI operates KWCH, KBSD, KBSH, KBSL, KSCW, and its websites; and Max Relevance (a digital agency). Joan also manages the state’s only full-power Spanish affiliate, KDCU, through an agreement with Entravision.
Joan represents SBI on various boards in the community. She is the past chair of the Kansas Association of Broadcasters.
She serves on the Board of Directors for the Kansas Food Bank and Goodwill Industries. She is on Advisory Boards for Wichita State University’s Elliot School of Communication and serves on the WSU President’s Council.
Under her direction, the KWCH 12 news team won two prestigious national Edward R. Murrow awards. One was for the coverage of the Carr Brothers’ murders. She was also given the “Award for Excellence” by Gannett Broadcasting.
A native of Great Bend, Joan Schmidt married her husband Jeff Barrett more than 20 years ago. Jeff is from Emporia and is self-employed as a television graphics producer. They have two sons. Joshua recently graduated from the University of North Carolina and joined the family business, he is a reporter covering the space industry in Huntsville, Alabama. Jake attends North Carolina State University and is majoring Engineering. The Barrett family also has three Beagles named Luke, Dallas and Lexi.