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Osage interns at Bartlesville Radio

Through Oklahoma’s BEST STEP program, Thomas Trumbly Jr. is on the air

If you listen to Bartlesville Radio, you may have heard about an intern named Thomas Trumbly Jr.

A recent graduate of Pawhuska High School, Trumbly Jr. participated in his “Senior Class Day” at the radio station and was interested in the broadcast journalism happening there. He struck up a friendship with News Director Ty Loftis and Loftis told him that after he graduated, he should apply for an internship. Trumbly Jr. did just that.

Through the Building Employment Skills for Today (BEST) and Summer Transition Employment Program (STEP), a program that helps individuals ages 16-21 with disabilities to gain summer work experience, Trumbly Jr. landed an internship at Bartlesville Radio.

Through the program, students can work part-time, up to 25 hours a week at a community business, according to

“The program I am going through is for students with limitations. In this program, we learn to overcome a lot of these limitations. I’m not really a hands-on guy, like a cook or laborer, but I do have quite an ability to entertain,” Trumbly Jr. said. “That’s why I was so enthused about this radio station opportunity because it is a chance for me to work in an area of entertainment.”

Recent Pawhuska High School graduate Thomas Trumbly Jr. and Bartlesville Radio News Director Ty Loftis at the PHS graduation on May 13, 2022. Courtesy Photo

Trumbly Jr.’s normal day at the radio station consists of preparing Agricultural reports.

“He’s sitting by me right now actually,” Loftis said on a July 25 phone call. “It’s been a lot of fun working with him and he’s been a very hard worker. He only has one week left with us, and that’s very disappointing because he’s been such a joy to work with.”

Trumbly Jr.’s parents, Anna and Tom, have enthusiastically supported him behind the scenes, transporting him to and from work every day and listening at the end of each workday about the role he plays as an intern.

His mother Anna said he has learned how to upload sound into the radio system. He records cattle and grain information into computer files. He records songs and the weather report and he’s even introduced a few songs on the air, she said. He has also visited sites for news coverage and helped write one article.

“The work is very enjoyable and gives me work experience,” Trumbly Jr. said. “I knew there was more to running a radio station than disc jockeying, and it’s cool to see it.”

Anna said her son is just like every other young man at this stage of life, he wants to be taken seriously and he has a lot to offer.

“Thomas dreams and he has the confidence, ambition, and resourcefulness to stay focused,” she said. “I see God working in his life, laying these opportunities and blessings on his path and Thomas having the wherewithal to reach out and grab them. Tom and I are proud of Thomas every single day.”


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Shannon Shaw Duty
Shannon Shaw Duty

Title: Editor


Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty, Osage from the Grayhorse District, is the editor of the award-winning Osage News, the official independent media of the Osage Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Legal Studies with an emphasis in Indigenous Peoples Law. She currently sits on the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. She has served as a board member for LION Publishers, as Vice President for the Pawhuska Public Schools Board of Education, on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (now Indigenous Journalists Association) and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive NAJA's Elias Boudinot Free Press Award. The Osage News won Best Newspaper from the SPJ-Oklahoma Chapter in their division 2018-2022. Her award-winning work has been published in Indian Country Today, The Washington Post, the Center for Public Integrity, NPR, the Associated Press, Tulsa World and others. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and together they share six children, two dogs and two cats.

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