John Durkee

News Director & Morning Edition anchor

John Durkee is the News Director for KWGS. He has over 40-years of experience in radio news and has served as News Director of radio stations in Tulsa, Missouri and Kansas.  He was also a reporter in Oklahoma City, early in his career. He is a Tulsa native and served as the City of Tulsa Communications Director prior to joining the staff at KWGS.

Durkee has won countless awards for his work as a broadcaster, including awards from the Radio and Television News Directors Association, the Associated Press, United Press International, The Society of Professional Journalists and the Oklahoma and Missouri Association of Broadcasters. He is a member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. Durkee was named the Tulsa Press Club's 2016 Tulsa Media Icon.

He is a past board member of the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, the Kansas Association of News Broadcasters and the former Tulsa Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He resides in Bixby with his wife, Carol.



Ways to Connect

John Fancher/Tulsa Library

Perhaps you have seen the startling photographs of Andrew Dennehy in a shoot-out with Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputies on Wednesday afternoon, in front of the Tulsa County Courthouse. Those pictures were taken by a quick thinking library employee. The ordeal unfolded about 2:40 in the afternoon. Working across the Oxley Plaza on the third floor of the Central Library was media relations staff member John Fancher. Fancher tells KWGS, he heard a pop and looked out his window to see Dennehy shooting into the air. That is when he grabbed his camera and started snapping photographs.

Update on Tulsa Court House Shooting

Mar 8, 2012
KWGS News Photo

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Authorities have identified the man accused of being involved in a gunfire exchange outside a Tulsa courthouse that also wounded a bystander and a sheriff's deputy.

Tulsa police say 23-year-old Andrew Joseph Dennehy was being treated for his injuries Wednesday evening and his condition wasn't immediately available. People scattered from the busy plaza as shots rang out Wednesday in the middle of the work day. The scene was still being processed for evidence by Tulsa police as night fell.

State of Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's chief auditor is questioning how some former Department of Education officials spent money from previously unknown bank accounts.

Hear a recap of this morning's Top Local Stories. In this update:

  • In-depth coverage of yesterday's shooting spree on the Tulsa Court House plaza.
  • Details on the future of pensions for American Airlines Workers
  • An audit of the State Department of Education raises concerns about misspending


KWGS News Photo

A shootout on the Oakley Plaza in front of the Tulsa County Court House leaves for people injured, including a Tulsa County Sheriff’s Deputy. The shooting took place about 2:40 this afternoon. People rushed for cover from the busy court house plaza as the bullets were flying.

Okla. lawmaker say bill fights prescription abuse

Mar 7, 2012
file photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma lawmaker says a bill he filed would help fight prescription abuse by requiring physicians to check the prescription history of new patients. Rep. Pat Ownbey of Ardmore says his measure calls for doctors to check the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Prescription Monitoring Program when prescribing a controlled dangerous substance to a new patient. Physicians would also be required to do an annual check for all patients. Oklahoma ranks first in the nation in prescription drug usage per capita.

KWGS News Photo

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines will freeze pensions for most workers instead of terminating them as the company reorganizes under bankruptcy protection. American told employees of the decision Wednesday. The freeze will not apply to pilots because the company fears that it could prompt too many pilots to retire, leaving the airline without enough pilots to operate. Last month American said it would terminate pension plans for 130,000 current and retired employees and hand over the plans' assets and obligations for future payments to a government agency. The airline's unions and the U.S.

New bill tries to control pseudoephedrine sales

Mar 7, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Pharmacists say even though a bill to require them to determine the legitimate need of a customer buying medicines containing pseudoephedrine might put them in a more dangerous situation — they generally support the idea. Pseudoephedrine is found in common cold and allergy medicines and is a key ingredient in methamphetamine. The bill comes after two efforts to require prescriptions for medicines containing pseudoephedrine failed in committees. The latest bill was sent to the full House on a 15-0 vote by the House Public Safety Committee.

Wednesday Morning News

Mar 7, 2012

Hear a recap of this morning's Top Local Stories from Public Radio Tulsa. In this news update, we have the results of the Super Tuesday Primary in Oklahoma. Plus details on a public meeting on the "gathering place near Tulsa's Blair Mansion and a State Impact Report on job cuts at Tinker Air Force base.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — President Barack Obama collected the most votes in the Oklahoma Democratic primary, but lost in 15 counties. With more than 90 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday, Obama won 55 percent of the vote. Four other candidates combined for 45 percent of the vote, including anti-abortion activist Randall Terry who had more than 18 percent of the vote. According to Democratic Party rules, Terry is eligible for a delegate since he won more than 15 percent of the statewide vote. Until Tuesday, Obama had won all of the Democratic delegates awarded so far.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Rick Santorum has won Oklahoma's Republican presidential primary, leaving Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich to battle for second place in what is called the "reddest of the red" states. With 91 percent of the state's 1,961 precincts reporting unofficial returns, Santorum had 34 percent of the vote. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had 28 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had 27 percent.

The Tulsa Zoo unveiled its master plan to the Tulsa Park Board on Tuesday and discussed how the zoo might look in the next 20 years. As part of the Tulsa Zoo’s transition from City governance to a public-private partnership, a 20 year master plan was commissioned by Tulsa Zoo Management Inc. (TZMI) as outlined in its contract with the City to address the advancement of the physical layout and condition of the zoo. TZMI operates the zoo through an operating agreement with the City of Tulsa.

KWGS News Photo

State lawmakers voted today to dramatically reduce the backlog of bridges needing repair or replacement in Oklahoma. “Although we have made significant progress addressing transportation needs in recent years, there is still much work to be done,” said state Rep. T.W. Shannon, a Lawton Republican who chairs the House Transportation Committee. “This legislation ramps up those efforts and keeps state resources focused on a true core function of government: transportation infrastructure.

KWGS News Photo

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A report says gambling revenue at Indian-run casinos edged up slightly in 2010, reversing a first-ever drop the previous year and showing new strength as the economy improves. The study, "Casino City's Indian Gaming Industry Report," said revenue at Indian casinos was $26.7 billion in 2010, up from $26.4 billion in 2009. In contrast, revenue at commercial casinos declined 0.1 percent and the businesses are expected to soon be overtaken by Indian casinos.

HOUSTON (AP) — An executive with the Canadian company seeking to build an oil pipeline across the United States to the Texas Gulf Coast says a plan for a new route around Nebraska's environmentally sensitive Sandhills region will be ready within weeks. TransCanada's president of energy and oil pipelines Alex Pourbaix said Tuesday that the company plans to resubmit its permit request to the U.S. State Department. He also says construction of the southern tier of the Keystone XL pipeline, which doesn't require a special permit, will begin by late spring or early summer.

Oklahoma Senate

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal jury has convicted a former leader of the Oklahoma Senate on a single bribery count and cleared him on 32 other charges. A co-defendant was cleared of all wrongdoing. Former Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan was convicted of bribery for his actions involving a nursing home bill, and the panel said it couldn't reach a decision on 28 other counts — one of extortion and 27 of mail fraud. Lawyer N. Martin Stringer was cleared of all 29 counts he faced.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Forecasters say dry and windy weather will keep Oklahoma vulnerable to wildfires over the next couple of days. The National Weather Service says strong gusts will make it easy for any fires that start Tuesday and Wednesday to spread. Forecasters say that by Thursday, significant rain chances should dampen the threat somewhat. On Monday, a number of fires spread in northeast Oklahoma. One fire burned in Okmulgee, Creek County and northern Tulsa Counties. Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The last time Super Tuesday arrived in Oklahoma, Sen. John McCain had already sewn up the GOP nomination. This time around, it's a month later than in 2008 and the four candidates for the Republican presidential nomination are fighting for votes in Oklahoma without the usual broad network of local chairmen and dedicated volunteers. Rick Santorum has visited the state twice in the past month. Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have visited here, too. With 40 delegates at stake, Oklahoma isn't the biggest prize during the Super Tuesday primaries.

KWGS News file photo

Work is getting under way on a new 450-boat slip marina at Keystone Lake. The facility is being built on the north side of Mannford. Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett is taking part in the dedication ceremony. He says Lake Keystone is an economic development tool for Tulsa. The new facility will feature heated fishing docks as well as an upscale restaurant. It is being built by the same developer who created the Cross Timbers at Skiatook Lake. it is being built on Army Corp of Engineers' property under a public/private partnership

KWGS News File photo

Mayor Dewey Bartlett announced today that the City of Tulsa and City of Broken Arrow fire departments have entered into a mutual aid agreement that would give both fire departments the authority to respond to fires and medical emergencies across jurisdictional areas that border Tulsa/Broken Arrow city limits. For example, there can be a long distance for a firefighter from Tulsa Fire Department Station No. 27 at 31st and Garnett to travel to a home in Tulsa that is near the Broken Arrow City limits.

KWGS News Photo

A bill that will assist veterans seeking employment after serving in the armed forces passed unanimously out of Government Modernization committee. “This is a jobs bill for veterans who have honorably served our country,” said Democratic Leader Scott Inman, co-author with Rep. Chuck Hoskin, D-Vinita, on House Bill 1985. “Today our state is home to more than 329,000 veterans of all ages and backgrounds, and now that military operations in Iraq have ended, men and women who have served our state are returning to jobs in the civilian world.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will speak at the high school graduation ceremony in Joplin, the Missouri city slowly recovering after being struck by a devastating tornado a year ago. Obama will deliver remarks at the May 21 commencement, according a White House official, who requested anonymity in order to speak ahead of the formal announcement. The president last visited Joplin in May 2011, just days after the massive tornado hit.

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) — The body of a 6-year-old Valliant boy who was last seen on an outing with his father in the Little River has been recovered. An Oklahoma Highway Patrol dispatcher confirmed that the boy's body was recovered on Saturday but she had no details. The Texarkana Gazette reports that Dalton Lycklama was found about 4 p.m. north of Idabel. On February 26th, the boy was in a boat with his father, 32-year-old Steven Lycklama, and Dalton's 8-year-old brother, Devin, when the vessel went over a waterfall and capsized.

File photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts and ex-GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain are scheduled to make several appearances in the state on behalf of Newt Gingrich. Watts and Cain will campaign in Oklahoma on Monday as part of the "$2.50 Gas Tour," which is making stops in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Midwest City. Gingrich has campaigned on the suggestion that gas prices would be lower if he were elected president. Watts served as a member of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission before winning election to Congress from Oklahoma's 4th District.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Another warm, windy day could mean another active day of wildfires in Oklahoma. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag fire warning for 16 counties in far western Oklahoma for noon to 7 p.m. Monday. Besides temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees statewide, southerly winds of 20 to 30 mph with higher gusts and a low relative humidity in the 15 to 20 percent range are expected in the warning area. Forecasters warned that any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. Despite recent rainfall, grass and other vegetation remains dormant and dry.

File photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Prosecutors are expected to conclude their case in the federal bribery and extortion trial of the former leader of the Oklahoma Senate. Testimony resumes Friday in the trial of former Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan. Defense attorneys are expected to begin questioning witnesses on Monday. Morgan, of Stillwater, is accused of conspiring with lobbyist William Skeith of Edmond and attorney N. Martin Stringer of Oklahoma City to illegally accept more than $400,000 from three companies that sought his influence on pending legislation between 2005 and 2008.

Oklahoma DOC

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma state board has rejected clemency for a death row inmate convicted in the brutal death of his wife 16 years ago. Lawyers for Timothy Shaun Stemple asked the Pardon and Parole Board for mercy. The panel voted 4-1 against. Stemple, who is 46, faces a March 15 execution date for the death of his wife, Trisha. Prosecutors say Stemple beat the woman with a baseball bat, then ran over her with his pickup truck along U.S. Highway 75 in Tulsa. A defense witness told the parole board that Trisha Stemple's injuries were consistent with that of a highway crash.

John Sullivan

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma congressman is apologizing for suggesting that "killing a couple" of U.S. senators may be the only way to get a budget passed through Congress. U.S. Rep. John Sullivan made the comments Wednesday during a town hall meeting in Bixby. When asked about federal spending, the Tulsa Republican expressed his frustration with the Senate for failing to pass a budget.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Angered by a lawsuit challenging a scholarship program for children with disabilities, an Oklahoma lawmaker has introduced a bill that would abolish a section of the state constitution that prohibits the use of public money for religious purposes.

A resolution seeking a statewide vote passed the House Rules Committee on Wednesday on an 11-1 vote. If given final approval, the resolution would be placed on the November general election ballot.

Tulsa, OK – Hear part one of our special series examining Tulsa's Pet Over Population Boom