- Associated Press - Saturday, July 4, 2015

MCALESTER, Okla. (AP) - There’s something special about southeast Oklahoma for longtime radio man John Yates.

“I like the fact that people are still friendly here,” Yates said. “In some ways it reminds me of the Old South, and there are just some places where if you get off the interstate, you can ask someone a casual question and it may turn into a 20 to 30-minute conversation.

“Friendship still means a lot,” he said. “That’s one thing about this area - people have not gotten what I would call a metro attitude, where they lose that personal connection. They always remember who they grew up with, and they will always remember their neighbors.”

Yates, of Savanna, would certainly know about the people of southeast Oklahoma. He grew up in Savanna and still lives there, but his professional responsibilities as both the news and sports director for McAlester Radio that have taken him to pretty much every community in Pittsburg County time and time again, the McAlester News-Capital (https://bit.ly/1R5ACG8 ) reported.

He is one of those individuals everyone seems to know.

“I get around the county in constant fashion,” Yates said.

Yates has been a witness to history in southeast Oklahoma through his work. Probably his biggest story was the day-to-day coverage of the trial of Terry Nichols, who is serving life in prison for his involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing.

Yates is a night owl. He’s also a man interested in statistics and a sports editor who travels the state to broadcast live sports.

“I think this was my 16th season as the regular full play by play voice for the McAlester Buffaloes,” Yates said. “I enjoy reporting on sports on the side as well. I love the play-byplay and it’s not scripted. It’s up to you to paint the picture.”

Yates is a talented, intelligent man who probably could have pursued his profession and passions in a bigger city if he chose, but to him, there’s no place like right here in Oklahoma.

“It’s just home to me,” he said. “I feel at home here with the people. My church I’m very active with..a great group of people.”


Information from: McAlester News-Capital, https://www.mcalesternews.com

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