Pubradio contenders dominate radio division of Sigma Delta Chi Awards

Public radio reporters took all nine awards for radio reporting in this year's Sigma Delta Chi Awards, which recognize outstanding reporting on radio, TV and the Web by national and local news organizations. NPR’s Ina Jaffe, Quinn O’Toole and Steven Drummond won for breaking news reporting (network syndication) for “Los Angeles VA Has Made Millions on Rental Deals.” For investigative reporting, John Ryan and Jim Gates of KUOW in Seattle were cited among stations in markets 1–100 for “Shell's Arctic Oil-Spill Gear ‘Crushed Like a Beer Can,’” while Sandy Hausman of WVTF and Radio IQ in Roanoke, Va., won in the 101+ market category for “Naming the Fralin,” about naming the University of Virginia Art Museum. In the feature categories, Linda Lutton, Cate Cahan and Sally Eisele of Chicago’s WBEZ won for “The weight of the city's violence, on one school principal,” and Lance Orozco of KCLU in Thousand Oaks, Calif., for “My Cancer.”

NPR's State of the Re:Union, co-distributed by Public Radio Exchange, won the syndicated documentary award for “As Black as We Wish to Be,” which explored an Appalachian foothills town in Ohio where residents who look white identify as African-American; it was reported and produced by Lu Olkowski, Laura Spero, Taki Telonidis and Al Letson. Alabama Public Radio’s “Winds of Change,” coverage by Pat Duggins, Ryan Vasquez, Maggie Martin and Stan Ingold of a Tuscaloosa tornado, won for smaller-market documentary. The public service in radio journalism winners were “If it's legal: Five ways legal pot could affect your life,” by the staff of Seattle’s KPLU (markets 1–100); Charles Lane and Naomi Starobin of WSHU in Fairfield, Conn., for “State struggled at fire prevention ahead of Manorville blaze.”

In the television categories, San Francisco’s KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting won for large-market (1–50) documentary for “Heat and Harvest,” a report on the effect of climate change on California agriculture by Mark Schapiro, Serene Fang, Gabriela Quiros and Craig Miller.

Tippett to take On Being into independent production

On Being, a weekly pubradio program about religion and faith, is creating a production house for the show that will exist offsite from its distributor, American Public Media. The transition is happening with the assistance of APM, which will continue to distribute the show at its regular times.

BURN: An Energy Journal wins AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award

The American Association for the Advancement of Science singled out the first of four BURN documentary specials, “Particles: Nuclear Power After Fukushima,” which aired March 11, 2012, the first anniversary of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. The series was produced by SoundVision Productions in partnership with American Public Media’s Marketplace and distributed by APM. The award citation recognizes SoundVision Executive Producer Bari Scott, Host Alex Chadwick, Managing Producer Mary Beth Kirchner, Senior Producer/Editor Robert Rand and Technical Director/Mix Engineer Robin Wise. AP science reporter Seth Borenstein, a judge in the competition, called the broadcast “gripping, informative and thorough — radio science journalism at its best.” Larry Engel, an associate professor in the American University School of Communication, praised its “excellent combination of story reporting, writing, character development, and sound recording and editing.”

The award was announced Nov. 14, and the winners will receive $3,000 and a plaque at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston in February 2013.

ATC’s “Teen Contender” captures gold award for best documentary

The segment produced for All Things Considered’s “Radio Diaries” by Joe Richman, Sue Jaye Johnson and Samara Freemark told the story of 16-year-old boxer Claressa Shields’ preparations for her gold medal–winning performance in the 2012 Olympics. At the Third Coast awards ceremony Oct. 7 in Evanston, Ill., Shields said that she would have been disappointed if the documentary had lost because she had never received anything less than gold in her life. She then led a brief tutorial on proper jab technique. This American Life won a silver award for best documentary for “What Happened At Dos Erres,” the story of a 1982 military massacre in Guatemala produced by Brian Reed and Habiba Nosheen, and co-reported by Sebastian Rotella of ProPublica and Ana Arana of Fundación MEPI.

APM displaces PRI as BBC World Service distributor

American Public Media will begin distributing the BBC World Service to U.S. pubradio stations July 1 [2012], ending the British network’s 26-year distribution relationship with Public Radio International. A five-year BBC-PRI contract is expiring, but the two networks will still collaborate on their co-productions such as The World and The Takeaway. Portions of the World Service air on 521 stations in the U.S.

“BBC World Service radio has been enjoying record audiences in the U.S., and we are delighted to be working with American Public Media to ensure that more U.S. listeners have access to the BBC’s impartial international journalism and programming across public radio,” said Richard Porter, controller, English, for the BBC, in a statement to Current. APM declined comment.  

APMG’s Florida classical station grows west with new FM

Miami-based Classical South Florida, an affiliate of American Public Media Group, is expanding its service to the state’s western coast with the $4.35 million purchase of WAYJ-FM, a 75,000-watt station that broadcasts to a potential audience of nearly 1 million listeners in Fort Myers and beyond. The purchase, announced Feb. 14, is part of a three-way transaction with seller WAY Media, a religious broadcasting network that’s moving its Christian pop music service and its call letters to 89.5 MHz in Naples, a 100,000-watt station, formerly WSRX-FM. Though the Naples station broadcasts at a higher effective radiated power (ERP), Classical South Florida’s new station has the better signal, with a higher antenna and larger potential audience. It covers a population of 991,520, compared with 340,913, according to Tom Kigin, executive v.p. for Minnesota-based APMG.