It was the must-see TV for a generation of Four States teens. And now “Teen Hop” is being recognized for its impact on the area in a time before cell phones, cable, and Youtube.

Back then, being on TV was a big deal, and “Teen Hop” was the goal for then Webb City High School student Sharon Hughes.

“That was the hottest show at that time.”

It was a live dance competition on KODE similar to American Bandstand, a Saturday programming regular that Hughes won in 1970.

“We learned a lot of dances, had a lot of fun that way. You’d watch it to see what’s going on with other schools,” says Hughes.

She remembers winning a TV, while others picked up coolers and party steaks. Hughes even got to meet host Jim Lobby, which was a thrill. Hughes added, “It was, it was – he was the celebrity in the hood.”

Teen Hop aired for 17 years, from 1958 to 1975.  At its peak, the show was said to be the most popular in the Four States by far.

Judy Stiles with the MSSU Communications Department said, “Touched a lot of lives, very popular program.” 

Over the years, it showcased more than 15,000 teens from 60 area high schools – just one of the reasons it’s the first local programming honored by the MSSU Regional Media Hall of Fame.

Added Stiles, “Well there’s been a lot of programs in the history of Joplin media. This one is one we looked at and had longevity really touched a generation.”

More than a dozen of those connected with the show came for the award ceremony Tuesday, for some remembering what happened decades ago like it happened yesterday.

Stiles said, “People were reliving their youth … I remember this, this is the way the studio looked, we danced to this song.”