Greetings from the WBA’s Awards Committee. Yes, we’re still here. And yes, we’re already working on the Awards of Excellence for 2021.
First, I would like to thank everyone who participated and watched our very first virtual awards gala. 2020 has been quite the year, and while celebrating our finest 2019 achievements in person wasn’t in the cards this past spring, this committee wanted to ensure that your hard work – and good works – were showcased to the best of our ability. While it wasn’t the Evening in Paris that we all hoped it would be, we will continue to celebrate your good works in May 2021.
I know many stations begin filling their “awards hold bucket” throughout the year, so I wanted to update you on a few special items that the awards committee has discussed and implemented for our next Awards of Excellence:
Pandemic Service: 2020 will be a memorable year for many, many reasons. But one area we would like to recognize is our broadcasters’ community response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Phone banks, food drives, drive-up testing, job fairs — We would like to recognize service projects that your station may have spearheaded in response to your community’s needs during this health crisis. This 2020-specific category is titled Best Pandemic-related Service to the Community, and you can look for further details in our upcoming Awards of Excellence brochure.
Social Change: This year will also be remembered for our debates on race, law enforcement policy, and social justice. As Wisconsin’s broadcasters, you have no doubt covered rallies, panel discussions, and even unrest in 2020. We value your station’s role in spreading information, educating your communities, and showing the varied sides of these complex issues. Our second 2020-specific category, titled Coverage of Civil Discourse and Social Change seeks to go beyond what could have been breaking news or live event coverage and ensure that it is viewed by your peers as truly remarkable coverage of some very serious and difficult subjects. Like other compilation categories, portions of your entry here can be submitted as portions of other categories. However, this entry cannot be duplicated in its entirety as an entry in another compilation category. Again, further details to come in our brochure.
It’s an Election Year: The Election Coverage compilation category makes its return. Newscast coverage, debates, town hall meetings: Your best 15 minutes of 2020 Election coverage is what’s needed in this compilation. Presentation of facts, delivery, and breadth of coverage are factors for our judges to consider when awarding the best of the best in this category.
I will also give you a little look behind the awards committee curtain. We have found what we consider to be a good balance between the number of available categories and the time it takes to present that number of awards. So when we took the unusual step of adding THREE 2020-specific categories (which is really 27 when you figure large/medium/small market in Music, Talk, and TV), we had some difficult discussions about how we could make that happen without adding another day to the gala. So, in another 2020-specific move, we will be suspending entries for Sports Promotion for TV and Play-by-Play for Radio. These categories are NOT being sunset and are expected to make a return in calendar year 2021.
Deadline time: Please note that this year, the deadline has moved UP a few hours. Entries will now be due no later than 6 p.m. Central on Wed., Jan. 6, 2021.
And finally, Fees: We have adjusted the entry fees for this year because we know our industry is having a tough year. Television entries are $35, and radio entries are $25. We hope that by reducing the fees this will allow you to share as much of your team’s great work as possible.
And while we may gather once per year to celebrate your good works, our committee would like to take this additional opportunity to say THANK YOU to all of you for your time, your talents, your long hours, your challenging and ever-changing work environments, and your positive impacts on your communities. We take great pride in providing an avenue in which we can all gather and toast the year that has been. We sincerely hope to gather safely on May 1, 2021, to celebrate YOU. You all deserve it.