Retired K-State professor publishes stories of life in Kansas
Van der Hoeven draws from 45 years of broadcasting Stop, Look and Listen
March 26, 2021
MANHATTAN, Kan. – As a newcomer to Kansas, Gus van der Hoeven was surprised to hear native Kansans “apologize” for their state.
“I didn’t understand that,” van der Hoeven said. “Here I come to Kansas from the east, originally Dutch and lived in Australia, and people are apologizing for their state. People would say, ‘we are so plain…we are not like other states.’ I did not get it.”
That was 47 years ago, in 1974, setting off what turned into one man’s mission to tell all he saw that was beautiful about the Sunflower State. “I got mad that people would apologize for the state of Kansas and that they didn’t see how beautiful the state was.”
In 1976, Van der Hoeven -- who is now retired after working 26 years as a landscape and environmental horticulturist with K-State Research and Extension -- launched a weekly radio program on the university’s KKSU station called Stop, Look and Listen, featuring various aspects of life in Kansas.
Listen to the March 17 episode of Stop, Look and Listen with Gus van der Hoeven, hosted by Eric Atkinson on the weekday radio program, Agriculture Today
“My intent was to let Kansans see that this is a state to be proud of and to take care of,” he said. “We should take care of our state; it’s home to all of us. Coming up with a topic every week was no problem if you stop, look and listen to people. Sometimes it’s a beautiful sunset or sunrise.”
In the years since, van der Hoeven has produced more than 2,200 weekly vignettes on life in Kansas, which he used recently to publish a book, Stop, Look and Listen: This is Life in Kansas, now available through Amazon and select retail outlets.
“The book is simply my reactions to Kansas and seeing what I thought people should see. And I talk about it. Just simply talk about it,” he said.
Van der Hoeven said he and his daughter picked more than 100 of their favorite stories from more than four decades of broadcasting to include in the book. “I’ll be honest with you,” he noted, “it’s a very interesting feeling to have between (book) covers what you have spoken about.”
Van der Hoeven’s weekly show continues to air each Wednesday between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. (CST) on Agriculture Today, a program produced by the K-State Radio Network.