Hello broadcast operations, and especially newsrooms, across Wisconsin. As the very bizarre year of 2020 heads into the home stretch I first hope that you, your families and friends, are well and staying safe. Whether it’s a TV station, or radio station with either a music or news/talk format, pretty much every aspect of what we do and how we do it has been affected by COVID-19 and/or the social issues that have crept into Wisconsin cities, towns, and villages.
I want to say a few words about the 2021 WBA Awards for Excellence Gala. As of now, we’re still planning for an ‘in person’ event on Saturday, May 1 at the Madison Marriott West. It will be great for everyone to be able to get back together and I for one am looking forward to it. I hope by then we will have come far enough in this pandemic battle to allow us to gather and share stories over what an experience this has been.
Now, about getting your station’s best together. I’m sure by now you have received the Awards for Excellence booklet that explains categories, rules, and the entry process. While getting your entries lined up to submit by the Jan. 6 deadline might be the last thing on your mind right now, I offer a simple warning. This year has gone by at warp speed and we’ll be showing 2020 the door (thank God) before you know it. The deadline will come up quickly after the holidays, so don’t leave starting your award entry round-up till then. Past years have shown us that many of the disqualified entries often have a common denominator. Slamming them into all the different categories at the last minute is often a recipe for mistakes.
Also, take the time to note a couple of categories that all of us can enter this year, no matter the format. “Best Coverage Of Civil Discourse and Social Change” and “Best Pandemic-Related Service To The Community.” Please read the category definitions and other requirements.
For me, I plan to use that window of time between the Nov. 3 election and the end of November to at least separate the different possibilities for the categories before narrowing it down to what is actually submitted. But I’m sure you all know what works best for your schedule.
Finally, I just want to acknowledge the important work you’ve all been doing throughout this historic time. Whether it’s keeping our audiences up to speed on health news, ever-changing school schedules, social issues, and all of it in the midst Wisconsin’s role in a crucial Presidential election campaign, radio and television have been a lifeline for some and a crucial source of information for others. Even with all the life-changing things going by at such a rapid pace, Wisconsin broadcasters have searched for, and shared the positive and reassuring things that are still happening in our communities. As always, I remain proud to be your colleague and part of an industry that provides such a vital service.
Robert Kennedy, WTAQ, Green Bay
Member of the WBA Awards Committee