6 On The Move: Cy Tuma, The Voice Oklahoma Trusted For News

Monday, January 14th 2013, 6:17 pm
By: News On 6

As News On 6 makes the move to the new Griffin Communications Media Center in the Brady Arts District, we look back at our history - 63 years of reporting the news to the people of Oklahoma.

Joshua Brakhage, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- As we look forward to the future, we're also celebrating 63 years of KOTV history. We've risen to new heights, by sitting on the shoulders of giants from the past. one of those giants towered over Tulsa without ever leaving his seat.

"N-E-W-S. News. North, east, west and south. International, national, regional and local. All stories, edited prepared, and then put together in what is called a newscast," said Cy Tuma.

Tuma was making news himself when he became KOTV's first news director in 1951.

The word "newscast" was new to Green Country, and Cy Tuma offered Oklahoma's Own a window on the world from his spot behind the anchor desk.

Behind him - a map - and a telephone sat within arm's reach.

"They either liked you because you were on camera so much or they didn't, one of the two," Tuma said. "If they liked you, you had ratings. If you didn't, you were gone!"

Tulsans liked him. He became Mister News.

But viewers at home never knew the face that brought Tulsa the news every night from the anchor desk couldn't walk away from it. Cy Tuma was a paraplegic, his legs crippled by polio.

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The infant who never learned to walk - he got his start on radio, announcing the news and playing the guitar and saxophone, before jumping on board in the Stone Age of Tulsa Television.

He always said he wouldn't have changed a thing.

"No. I'd do it just the same way I did it," Tuma said.

Cy left for KTUL in 1964. And when his polio-stricken legs and spine could no longer bear the pressures of the anchor desk, he left to do voice work.

In that way, he continued to share that signature baritone voice that Tulsans recognized as informed, trustworthy, and fair.

Today, we have an entire news team, dozens of anchors and reporters from one side of the state to the other - a far cry from when Cy was literally putting on a one-man show.

"'Course there's so many people in news now what with cable and everything that you just can't associate yourself with one man anymore. They change all the time," said Cy Tuma, KOTV's first news director.

And while the news has changed, the foundation Cy Tuma built here at KOTV hasn't. It's a reputation that started with a man who couldn't walk and a legacy we try to live up to, to this day.

Perhaps Cy laid out that vision best - more than 60 years ago.

"To bring you, the KOTV Channel Six viewer the latest and the most important developments that concern the past, present and future."

In another "6 On The Move," we'll meet Cy's boss from those early days at KOTV.

She was the first woman in charge of an American TV station, and got so rich in Tulsa, Walt Disney was begging her for money.

1/14/2013 Related Story: 6 On The Move: 'Helen Of Tulsa,' First Female Chief Executive In TV