The Lowell Thomas Award
The Broadcast Pioneers of Colorado proudly announces a new award designed to honor esteemed broadcasters with Colorado roots that made significant contributions to broadcasting nationwide after their years in Colorado. Lowell Thomas (1892-1981) grew up in Colorado and graduated from the University of Denver. He gained nationwide fame as a journalist, author, radio broadcaster and the narrator of Fox Movietone News.
2016 - Jon Scott
2014 - Ann Richardson
2012 - Lowell Thomas
In August of 1900, eight year old Lowell Thomas moved from Ohio to Victor, Colorado with his family. Hired to work at the Victor Daily Record two years later, Thomas folded then delivered the morning paper to the business and red light districts of Victor and Goldfield and made it to school in time each morning. He would become editor of the newspaper before going awayto college at Valparaiso in Indiana (B.S. 1911) and the University of Denver (B.A. and Masters, 1912). He then began writing for the Chicago Tribune and was on the faculty at the Chicago Kent College of Law. In 1916 he received yet another degree from Princeton, where he also taught.
He traveled widely, writing articles about the virtues of rail travel. He was selected to head a national “See America First” promotional program. But a month later on his 25th birthday, the United States declared war on Germany and her allies and “America First” was canceled. With authorization from President Wilson, the U.S. War Department asked Thomas to gather material and stories that “would encourage the American people’s support” for the war. Thomas wanted to film it, and he gained private funding to do so.
His travels eventually took him to the Middle East, where he was among the first reporters to cover the exploits of T.E. Lawrence, the British captain immortalized in the film Lawrence of Arabia decades later. Thomas wrote a book, With Lawrence in Arabia (1924), about his time in the desert and Lawrence’s exploits during the war. It would be the first of 56 books he penned.
In March of 1925 he spoke for the first time on radio. He worked at Pittsburgh’s pioneering radio station KDKA before joining CBS. Thomas hosted a regular radio broadcast “Lowell Thomas and the News” through five decades. His “sign off, “So long, until tomorrow!”,. became the title of his autobiography.
Thomas delivered the first regularly scheduled TV news broadcast in 1940. He covered the 1952, 1956 and 1960 political conventions. For 17 years he narrated newsreels for Fox Movietone News. From 1957 to 1959 Thomas was on the television set acting out his series High Adventure introducing the peoples and customs of remote lands. He also made the first three Cinerama (three-dimensional) movies.
In 1976 President Gerald Ford presented Thomas with the Medal of Freedom and that same year Thomas told the world, from Victor, Colorado, that he was retiring from broadcasting.
So varied was his life and pursuits that his autobiography is classified as “biography of a subject who doesn’t fit into any other category” by the Library of Congress.
The Broadcast Pioneers of Colorado awards the late Lowell Thomas the award we name in his honor... The Broadcast Pioneers of Colorado Lowell Thomas Award.