St. Ambrose's Radio and Television Stations Earn Top Awards
Years of recognition for excellence in broadcasting line the shelves at KALA Radio. The conference room displays awards dating back to the early 2000s. It is hard to find a year the station was not honored.
"KALA has won awards in sports and news and public affairs for several years, and those are areas we're very strong in," said KALA Operations Manager, David Baker.
The 2019 awards season was no different.
Journalism and broadcast groups around the nation are in the midst of announcing awards for work done in the 2018 calendar year. On April 13, KALA radio earned top honors from two organizations in the professional and student divisions.
The Iowa Broadcast News Association (IBNA) awarded Carter Foley, a junior at St. Ambrose University, first place for "Sports Play-by-Play." This is his second first-place honor from the IBNA in the student radio division.
"It shows that my hard work paid off throughout the long football season," Foley said. "Prep takes a lot of time to do since it's important to know everything that will be happening in the game. To win first place makes it all worth it."
Foley lends his skills to SAUtv and professionally as a part-time employee for Mediacom channel MC22 that produces local sports programming. All of it, he said, is preparing him for a future in broadcasting.
"I've learned so much while being a student here at St. Ambrose," Foley said. "I've been taught how to reduce saying 'um' or not explaining what's happening on the field/court. Just the practice that I've done throughout the years and the advice I've been given has helped me out.
"I hope to one day be working behind the camera or in front of the camera for live television and covering professional league teams. I love sports so it really is just a dream job that I'm getting closer to every day."
Classmates of Foley's won top awards from the IBNA as well.
Junior Brad Burton and senior Collin Leddy were awarded first and second place in "Sports Coverage" for their show "Unsportsmanlike Conduct." The sports talk show airs from 7-9 p.m., Wednesdays, on KALA-HD2, 106.1FM. The student-produced newscast "This Week," which is currently off the air as the station restructures the program, also received first place honors for "Best Newscast."
"I think that this is just an example of the quality of work that our students are experiencing here at St. Ambrose in our Communication Department," Baker said. "I think that the real-world experience is paying off.
KALA also won a top honor from the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association (MBJA). The competition is much larger than the IBNA which only covers the state of Iowa. MBJA covers six states.
"With the MBJA you're looking at literally hundreds of stations that participate in the awards process, and dozens and dozens of universities, some with enrollments much larger than St. Ambrose," Baker said.
The students did not win any first-place honors from the MBJA, but "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" did earn an Award of Merit in the "Sportscast/Program" category.
Professionally, though, KALA's "Relevant or Irrelevant" talk show was awarded first place for their discussion about civility in the political process for the "Talk/Public Affairs" category in the small market division. "Relevant or Irrelevant" was also honored with an Award of Merit for a discussion about evangelical masculinity.
The show airs on Fridays at 9:30 p.m. on 88.5FM and 106.1FM.
"Locally produced public affairs shows being done at a station our size with a staff our size are pretty rare to find," Baker said.
Baker is the station's only full-time employee.
"We have a faculty member that has some release time to help us, and we have a production assistant that helps as well," Baker explained.
But most of the shows are hosted by volunteers or students.
"We're going up against stations that have many more people and much bigger deeper pockets and resources," Baker said. "That really says a lot about the quality of what we're doing."
Baker himself earned an Award of Merit in "Talk Public Affairs" for his interview on election rights related to the 2018 midterm elections. His colleagues in the St. Ambrose Communication Department, Don Schneider and Shelby Shepherd, collaborated on a Veterans Day special for the station that also won an Award of Merit.
"I'm very proud of our students and our volunteers that make KALA what it is in the community," Baker said.
The station's long-standing successes encourage Baker to push for new and better content, and he's already got some ideas for what's next.
"We are looking to expand our news coverage to a daily newscast and return to what I would call the glory days of the 1980s and 90s when we did that on a regular basis and we did city news," Baker said.
He also sees the next year as a prime opportunity to immerse students in election coverage.
"I am very excited to see what kind of coverage we'll have for the caucuses and as candidates come to campus we'll have a lot of prime opportunities coming up."
SAUtv was awarded two honors from the IBNA. Junior Natalie Johnson won second in Student TV for "Excellence in Anchoring" and SAUtv's Adam Metzger and Josh Reid earned honorable mention for "Best Newscast" in the Student TV category.
These are the awards SAU students and staff won for broadcasts made in 2018.
Large Market Radio
Second Place KALA: Don Schneider and Shelby Shepherd "Veterans Coming Home: Stories of St. Ambrose Student Veterans"
Second Place: KALA St. Ambrose; Collin Leddy, Brad Burton; "Unsportsmanlike Conduct"
First Place: KALA St. Ambrose; Collin Leddy, Brad Burton; "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" Collin Leddy, Brad Burton
First place: KALA St. Ambrose, Carter Foley; "Bees Football" Carter Foley
Excellence in Anchoring
Second Place: SAUtv, Natalie Johnson
First Place: KALA St. Ambrose; Holly Brock, Kristen Enright
Honorable Mention: SAUtv ; "Dateline SAU" Adam Metzger, Josh Reid