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Ozarks Big Bite on KY3 News launched by Evangel University foodie

Published on Nov 18, 2016 by Paul K. Logsdon


A version of this feature story (without “What’s next?”) appeared in the Springfield News-Leader on Nov. 11, 2016.


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. —  Michael Gibson is a young man with big dreams. He also has the self-confidence, personality and work-ethic to help make those dreams come true

On Saturday morning, Nov. 12, the Evangel University senior will enjoy the broadcast debut of his first TV show.

“I am thrilled to bring Ozarks Big Bite to fellow foodies across Southwest Missouri and Northern Arkansas,” said Gibson. “I hope viewers are hungry, because we have amazing restaurants and eateries to share.”

Ozarks Big Bite is a two-minute feature produced and hosted by Gibson. The show will spotlight locally owned restaurants unique to the Ozarks and will air as a weekly feature on KY3 News, between 7 and 8 a.m., then on The Ozarks CW, between 8 and 9 a.m.

A young start

Michael Gibson is an Ozarks native, born and raised in Branson, Mo. He is also the grandson of the legendary family-relationship author, speaker and TV personality Dr. Gary Smalley, who died last spring at 75.

2016-11.11c Michael Gibson, Garry Smalley Sp16
Evangel senior broadcast major Michael Gibson with his grandfather, author, speaker and TV personality Dr. Gary Smalley, shortly before he passed away last winter. // (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

“During a career spanning almost 50 years, Grandpa authored or co-authored more than 60 award-winning books which have sold a total of six million copies,” said Gibson.

It was Smalley’s broadcast career, however, that inspired Gibson to major in communication.

“He worked with television personalities from Oprah Winfrey to Larry King and on shows like Fox & Friends, Extra and The Today Show,” said Gibson. “He appeared on the Focus on the Family radio program more than 50 times.”

Smalley also produced a series of infomercials for his Hidden Keys for Loving Relationships DVD series that have sold nine million sets. The first infomercial was hosted by broadcast legend Dick Clark. Two years later, it was hosted by John Tesh and Connie Sellecca.

“I decided I wanted to do broadcasting after seeing my grandfather work with John and Connie in the 1990s,” said Michael.

Hollywood beckons

Following his graduation from Branson High School in 2014, Gibson pursued a dream of moving to Hollywood. There he worked with Tesh and Sellecca on their show, Intelligence for Your Life, one of America’s top syndicated radio and television productions.

“I had the opportunity to observe every aspect of the production, and I got to see what it meant to work hard in the broadcast industry,” said Gibson.

Inspired by what he saw, he returned to Springfield, enrolled at Evangel, landed a weekend shift at KADI 99Hit-FM, and continued to pursue his dream.

The next big break for Gibson came when he earned an internship last fall with Contact KY3 reporter Ashley Reynolds.

“While there, I pitched my idea for a two-minute food show patterned after Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” he said. “One year later, it’s another dream come true.”

WEB 2016-11.11a Michael Gibson at Brick Slice House
The first episode of Ozarks Big Bite was produced by Evangel senior Michael Gibson at Brick Slice House, 308 W. McDaniel in Springfield, and aired on KY3 (NBC) News. // PHOTO BY: Inner Images Photography (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

With the impending debut of Ozarks Big Bite, Tesh and Sellecca wrote, “We are so proud of our friend, Michael Gibson. It doesn’t seem like that long ago when we first met Michael as a young boy on his grandpa’s farm in Branson. It has been a joy to have a front row seat to watch him grow, and continue growing into a first class broadcaster.”

The couple were quite impressed with his new TV show. “We hope you’re hungry Southwest Missouri, because just wait until you see the restaurants Michael is featuring on his fantastic new show. Believe us when we say, your palate won’t be disappointed.”

What’s next?

“My dream is to be the next Ryan Seacrest,” Gibson said.

While in California, Gibson had the opportunity to meet his hero backstage at the Jay Leno Show. “I told him I want his job when I grow up — he laughed and said, ‘Which one?’”

Gisbson readily admits that he is inspired by Seacrest. “He comes from a small town in Georgia, works hard, and is the poster child for dropping everything to follow your dreams.”

Big dreams. Like hosting your own TV show at 21.

“Ten years from now, I would love to be on national television. And just like John, Connie and Ryan, I want to inspire young people to have and follow big dreams.”

To see episodes of Ozarks Big Bite, visit


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