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P.Y.S.K. – Matt Garrett

Matt Garrett

Job description: I have the privilege of leading the only network affiliated, commercially operated television station whose newsroom is an academic lab for a School of Journalism. KOMU 8 is the most unique television station in the country, one of a kind that serves mid-Missouri communities and provides multi-media marketing solutions for area businesses. 

Professional background: April marks my 29th anniversary with KOMU 8. My journey began behind a studio camera on KOMU 8’s local talk show, Pepper and Friends. Under the mentorship of Tom Gray and Marty Siddall, I was given the opportunity to explore and master various aspects of the broadcast industry. The one role I’ve yet to embrace is that of on-air talent. 

Hometown: Born and raised third generation Columbia and Boone County. Three generations of my family are proud Hickman High School graduates. Go Kewpies! 

Years lived in Columbia: 57 years.

Quote you live by: “What we do best, we do together.” This resonates with me as I am a firm believer of the power of collaboration and teamwork. This belief in collaboration encourages finding common ground and shared success. 

Favorite volunteer/community activity:I’m passionate about Job Point’s mission. They offer skills training, coaching, mentoring, and job placement services. Job Point empowers individuals from various backgrounds, including those with disabilities, to secure and maintain employment. 

Favorite recent project: KOMU 8 has recently replaced its legacy broadcast tower built in 1953. This project, the result of extensive thought and preparation, transitioned our broadcast capabilities from the VHF to the UHF band. The objective was to future proof KOMU 8, equipping it for upcoming advancements in broadcasting technology. Should this new tower match the longevity of its predecessor, it means it will be in service until 2093 — a testament to our commitment to innovation and a milestone in KOMU 8’s history. 

A Columbia businessperson you admire and why: It may come across as nepotism, but I can’t help being a proud father. I hold great respect for business owner and entrepreneur, Cameron Phillips — my son. Starting with just a lawnmower in our neighborhood, Cameron, alongside his business partner Braden Tyrer, has grown Mow It Alls into one of the largest locally owned lawn and landscape businesses in Columbia. 

Cameron’s journey is one of learning through action. His interest in residential real estate led him to earn his real estate license. Together with Braden, he started a private air travel service from the ground up. Cameron’s story is a testament to the fact that dedication and persistence pave the way to success. 

Why you are passionate about your job: My passion for my work is steadfast, and I sincerely mean it when I express the honor I feel working alongside University of Missouri students, faculty, and KOMU 8 staff. These interactions are not just routine; they are learning experiences that keep my days far from ordinary. Watching our journalists grow daily fills me with immense pride and seeing our former KOMU 8 journalists thrive in major markets across the country is incredibly rewarding. 

Matt Garrett Portrait

If you weren’t doing this for a living, you would: Be a retired former Major League Baseball player living off my last multi-million-dollar contract.  A guy can dream, right?  

The next challenge facing your industry:Adapting to technological advancements, shifting viewer habits, and efficient content delivery systems. One of the primary challenges is the transition from traditional broadcasting to a more internet-based model, which requires significant infrastructure and strategy changes. 

Biggest lesson learned in business: Customer service, both external and internal, is so important.  Customer service is not just about resolving issues; it’s about creating a positive, lasting relationship with customers that benefit both the customers and the business in the long run.  

How you want to impact the Columbia community: Columbia has developed my life both personally and professionally. It’s important to me to give back that generosity so that others may receive the same support and opportunities. I’ve chosen to actively engage and contribute to the improvement of our community. My contributions include work with the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, CrimeStoppers, Job Point, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri, and others, and taking an active role in my children’s education. 

Greatest strength: I believe I’m a good listener. I try to understand before I’m understood. You don’t always have to provide an answer; some just want to be heard.   

Greatest weakness: My pursuit of perfection and competitive spirit are both my driving force and my Achilles’ heel. It propels me towards excellence but can be an unforgiving taskmaster.  If you ask my wife, she will tell you at times I’m challenged by patience.   

What you do for fun: I’ve recently been introduced to fly fishing. There’s a peacefulness in standing in a river, surrounded by natural beauty, which brings relaxation and rejuvenation. It’s about the flow of the water, the casting of your line, the focus on the strike indicator, and the friendly competition to outdo your fellow anglers.

Who makes up your family: My wife Cindy. (She’s the one you need to know and truly my better half.) My eldest son, Cameron, at 32, is a successful entrepreneur. My younger son, Drew, 23, is pursuing his passion in sports as a professional baseball player in the Philadelphia Phillies minor league system. 

Favorite place in COMO: There’s nothing quite like the experience of being at Faurot Field on a football Saturday. There are gamedays we set up our tailgate as the sun rises, attend the game and teardown as the sun sets.   

Accomplishment you are most proud of: My family holds the highest place in my heart. The pride Cindy and I share in raising two intelligent, hardworking, and successful sons is immeasurable. I’m extremely proud of the young men they became.   

Most people don’t know: I started my television career at age 12, in front of the camera! My best friend’s father was a local State Farm Insurance agent. At the time, State Farm used actual agents in their national advertising campaigns. The script called for my friend’s dad to be on a field interacting with kids playing baseball.  A few others and I were lucky enough to make the final cut. It was very exciting for a 12-year-old to see himself on national television. I thought I was rich too — they paid me a whopping $175. A lot of money in 1978.

Matt Garrett
Matt Garrett. Photo by Anthony Jinson.

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