Hawaii, Detroit stations win EDGE Awards; Stevens gets advocacy honor from APTS

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ARLINGTON, Va. – The Association of Public Television Stations today (Feb. 27) presented two EDGE Awards (Excellence in Digital Transition, Groundbreaking Partnerships and Educational Technologies), and its David J. Brugger Grassroots Advocacy Award, named for its former president and c.e.o., at the APTS Public Media Summit here.

EDGE winners are Detroit Public Television for its Great Lakes Now coverage (Current, Oct. 17, 2011), and PBS Hawaii for Hiki Nō (“Can do”), its news production project with dozens of the state’s schools. The Brugger Award went to Catherine Ann Stevens, a former longtime WETA Board member and wife of the late pubcasting champion Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

In Detroit, for the first time, six major entities focused on issues concerning the Great Lakes — the International Joint Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Areas of Concern Program, the Great Lakes Commission, The Healing Our Waters/Great Lakes Coalition and Environment Canada — hosted events in the same city during the same week. DPTV delivered on-air, online and on-demand coverage Oct. 11-14, 2011, distributed to 22 broadcast partners in 23 markets including Canada, reaching some 300,000 viewers, listeners and web users. In accepting the award, station President Rich Homberg said the production “was one of the most complex Detroit Public Television has ever put together,” with an HD uplink, 14 HD cameras and crew of more than 30.

Leslie Wilcox, president of PBS Hawaii, and Robert Pennybacker, v.p. of creative services, accepted that station’s honors for Hiki Nō, which launched in January 2010. Wilcox said 73 middle and high schools across six islands now participate, and the numbers are growing; two elementary schools are also involved in the “enormously labor intensive project.” Station staffers mentor teachers in journalism and video production and students create content that has grown into a weekly primetime program, 52 weeks a year. Pennybacker said “most people thought we were crazy,” when the station announced the project, “and I guess we were, but it works. Every Thursday Hawaii gets to see the future of media and it looks pretty good.”

APTS President Pat Butler called Catherine Ann Stevens a “stalwart support” of public broadcasting, on Capitol Hill as well as in Alaska, who “volunteered for special duty” during the most recent federal funding crisis, adding that her honor is “richly deserved.” Stevens said, “I’m so enthused to see so many people here, this is what it’s all about,” and wished the participants luck during their visits to the Hill on Tuesday.