Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

Greetings from the WBA Awards Committee. We have had several meetings since our Awards Gala in May, and I think we have some exciting changes that will help make our next Gala even better. 

Do you realize that our submissions have increased nearly four-fold over the last 20 years? That is some amazing growth! It’s also an amazing testament to the quality work that Wisconsin broadcasters are creating! But as we reviewed our notes, we found there is one particular area of growth that we are not fond of, and we need your help to fix it: Disqualifications.

Our disqualifications rose 50 percent over the 2016 Gala. That’s not a stat to be proud of. Most of the disqualifications come down to time management.  Seconds matter.  Watch your time!

Most of our 2017 disqualifications were because a file was too long. Here are some examples we saw:

  • In a category with a 10 minute limit, a file was submitted that was 10:01. It was rejected.
  • A best commercial submission (:60 limit) featured a  :63 file. It was rejected.
  • A Station Event Promo submission (:60 limit) came in as a :61 file. It was rejected.
  • One station had two submissions for Best Sportscast – both were too long and rejected.
  • One station had Best Feature and Continuing Coverage files that were 15:02, and were rejected
  • One station had submissions for Continuing Coverage and Spot News that were longer than 15:00, and were rejected

The lesson? Judges take the length of your file as bible. If the rules state a 15 minute maximum, and they open a 15:02 file, that is a violation and is rejected. I’m not kidding… seconds count!!  Half of the “too long” disqualifications missed the mark by mere seconds. Don’t let hours of hard work by your staff become invalid because of a few seconds. The general rules state, “Entries submitted cannot be more than 15:00 in length, unless a shorter length is specified.”  So if you do not see a time listed within your description, keep it under 15:00.

We also had a handful of submissions that were not long enough. There were several Significant Community Impact submissions (minimum 5 minutes, maximum 15 minutes) that came in with a single :30 or :60 spot attached.  They were rejected.

The third area of disqualification also centers on what we believe to be a time management issue: Miscategorization.  A few Best Newscast submissions did not feature a newscast at all. A client event promo did not feature a client, or an event. A sportscast was submitted as Best Weathercast.  Data on the miscategorizations suggest that many were 10th and 11th hour submissions.  Preparation is key, and very few of us do our best work at 11 p.m. Please double check your work and ensure you are putting in the proper attachments and files into the proper awards submissions.

Speaking of attachments, here’s one that even I didn’t realize until this year:  Submit EXACTLY what the form asks for. My personal story is I know that (back in the day) I submitted PDF briefs for my digital awards, whether or not they were requested. Guess what? Submitting items outside of what is asked for leads to… Disqualification. So learn from my mistake, and submit only what is asked for.

Names were not given in my data, so I cannot even begin to speculate whether any points for Of The Year awards were left on the table. But no one on our committee wants to see recognition missed because of a few simple seconds.  So take the time – to be mindful of your times – and then use your time wisely to submit your entries… On Time.

Tom Swigert, WBA Awards Committee Member

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