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WKSU-FM Named Best News Operation

Posted June 26, 2011

WKSU-FM News Director M.L. Schultze oversees six reporters stationed at the station’s Broadcast Center in Kent and at news bureaus in Cleveland, Akron and Canton.
WKSU-FM News Director M.L. Schultze
WKSU-FM staffers were honored with 10 Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters (OAPB) Awards, including Best News Operation and Best Anchor, at a luncheon ceremony on June 5 at the Hilton Columbus at Easton. WKSU-FM competed in the Large Market division with other commercial and noncommercial radio operations in major Ohio media markets, including Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and the Ohio News Network.

The WKSU-FM newsroom was named Best News Operation based on the body of work created primarily by News Director M.L. Schultze and six reporters stationed at the WKSU-FM Broadcast Center in Kent and news bureaus in Cleveland, Akron and at the Cultural Center for the Arts in Canton. The station reaches 22 Northeast Ohio counties and parts of Western Pennsylvania over five towers and two repeater transmitters, as well as broadcasting online and over smart phone applications for iPhone and Android systems.

The full newsroom staff contributed to the first-place award winning effort for Best Continuing Coverage for its reporting on the 40th anniversary of the events surrounding May 4, 1970, at Kent State University. By drawing on WKSU-FM’s own sound archive and expanding the coverage of annual observances, the station provided listeners with a variety of general news and long-form features on an event that has become a watershed for a generation.

Judges noted, “When a news department has a national cultural iconic event in its backyard, advice to those compiling the continuing coverage entry for a milestone anniversary of that event is best expressed as ‘don’t blow it!’ WKSU did not fail, providing listeners compelling coverage of the aftermath of the incident at Kent State, what we are still finding out about some of the things that happened, and how the deaths still echo in the national consciousness. WKSU couples archival audio with thoughtful interviews of participants as they reflect back 40 years and solid coverage of today’s events. It is great sound rich radio and solid public service.”

WKSU-FM’s Amanda Rabinowitz was recognized as Best Anchor for her work on the station’s weekday broadcasts of NPR’s Morning Edition. Along with her hosting duties, Rabinowitz is also a reporter and her story on the Amish newspaper The Budget took home the OAPB Award for Best Feature.

The judges said, “She uses The Budget to artfully arc from old to new in the content, delivery, generational readership, technology and denominational stripes of the Amish. Amanda has good production values, and uses a cute cross section of sources across Amish enclaves as disparate as Sarasota, Fla., and the heartland of Pennsylvania and Ohio. Comparing the newspaper and Facebook is also an apt conceit that resonates in several ways.”

Schultze put on her reporter’s hat to capture a first-place award for Best Use of Sound for her story on a competition for the men and women who sell cars and other vehicles at auction. The judges explain, “Who knew it’s more than just bidders and an auctioneer? Overall, a smooth and informational blend of storytelling and natural sound.”

Reporter/Producer Kevin Niedermier earned a first-place award for his profile of disgraced Cleveland politician Jimmy Dimora in the Best Breaking News category. Niedermier quickly turned around this in-depth profile as soon as Dimora was led away by investigators and emphasizes the former Cuyahoga County commissioner’s great fall, as a public official and as a man with a reputation of looking out for the “little guy.”

Second-place awards went to reporter/producer Vivian Goodman for “Mean Kids,” her documentary on bullying in local schools, and her coverage of The Cleveland Orchestra’s tour to Asia and to reporter/producer Tim Rudell for “Stealth Neighbors,” a look at coyotes in suburban Northeast Ohio, in the Best Enterprise Reporting category. Chuck Poulton, WKSU-FM’s information technology director, Web developer Joe Linstrum and designer Renee Volchko were recognized with a second-place award for their work on the WKSU-FM website.

The OAPB aims to advance the profession of journalism, to cooperate with The Associated Press in the exchange of accurate, impartial news reports and to serve as liaison between The Associated Press and its members.

WKSU-FM broadcasts NPR and Classical Music at 89.7 FM, and is a service of Kent State University. WKSU-FM programming is also heard on WKRW 89.3 FM in Wooster, WKRJ 91.5 FM in Dover/New Philadelphia, WKSV 89.1 FM in Thompson, WNRK 90.7 in Norwalk, W298BA 107.5 FM in Boardman, and W239AZ 95.7 FM in Ashland. The station broadcasts four HD Radio channels – adding WKSU-2 Folk Alley, WKSU-3 The Classical Channel and WKSU-4 The News Channel to the analog broadcast schedule. The WKSU-FM website is www.wksu.org.