Wisconsin Community Media, in conjunction with the Alliance for Community Media’s Midwest Region, has announced their annual award winners for the 2021 Best of the Midwest Media Fest.
The Sun Prairie Media Center is happy to announce that 16 original shows created for either KSUN television or 103.5 FM The Sun Community Radio are set to receive awards at the fest, which will be held virtually on May 27.
Included in the 16 awards were two “Best in Show” winners: Library Director Svetha Hetzler was honored for “Best Cultural /Ethnic Program” for her “Books and Cooks: Book Talks and Tastings” series of short video programs, and SPMC radio producer Mark Gonwa won “Best in Show” for “LPFM radio show/podcast” for his weekly show “Bluesology,” which focuses on delivering the best in blues music. This marks the second year in a row that programming produced through the Sun Prairie Media Center won “Best in Show” for “Best Cultural/Ethnic Program.”
Besides his “Best in Show” win, producer Mark Gonwa cleaned up, taking home “Achievement” awards for his 103.5 FM programs “Song Archaeology,” “Fully FUNKtional,” and “Take Immediate Cover.” “Song Archaeology” focuses on connecting popular songs through themes, “Take Immediate Cover” features the best, strangest, and must-hear versions of tracks initially made famous by other artists, while “Fully FUNKtional” features – what else – funk music.
Other 103.5 FM programs/podcasts that won awards include Bill Baker’s Monday morning “Good Morning Sun Prairie,” which grabbed an “Excellence” award, and “What Are We Building?” and “All Jazz,” which both snagged “Merit” awards. Andy Schoenherr’s “What Are We Building?” concerns commercial and residential development in Sun Prairie while Dave Watson’s “All Jazz” features Watson’s selection of choice jazz cuts.
Besides “Books and Cooks,” the Sun Prairie Media Center took home several awards for video programs, including an “Excellence” award for “Inside Your City with Aaron and Chris,” a KSUN program featuring city administrator Aaron Oppenheimer and “The Star” editor Chris Mertes that features news about Sun Prairie happenings and politics as well as interviews with local newsmakers. Winning “Achievement” awards were a broadcast of a 2020 Sun Prairie Cardinal Boys Basketball playoff game (featuring announcers Mike Mathison and Getonn Harper) versus Waunakee and the 2020 SPHS virtual graduation that the Media Center produced in collaboration with the Sun Prairie Area School District.
Several KSUN programs won “Merit” awards, including “Reel Reviews,” Jamison Rabbitt and Mike Roth’s long-running weekly look at what new films are available in theaters and streaming at home, “Simply Fun Cooking,” featuring Rachel Hanson and her delicious and easy-to-prepare recipes, “Sun Prairie In Focus,” Dan Presser’s weekly hyperlocal Sun Prairie newscast, and the 2020 tree lighting video, produced by the Media Center in lieu of last year’s more traditional in-person fire truck parade and tree lighting event.
Finally, the Sun Prairie Media Center is being honored with a “Significant Community Program” award for the multi-part Virtual Citizens’ Police Academy that was produced last summer and fall in close collaboration with the Sun Prairie Police Department.
SPMC director Jeff Robbins was happy with the results. “This has been a very tough year for anyone committed to community media, as staff and producers have had to navigate around closures, studio limitations restrictions, and simply a lack of events to cover. We are thrilled that despite those challenges, 16 of our programs are being honored at this year’s Media Fest.”
Want to be an award-winning community media producer? The Sun Prairie Media Center is currently looking for producers to take advantage of its awesome studio facilities and excellent staff. Anyone interested should call 608-837-4193 or check out sunprairiemediacenter.com, where program ideas can be submitted directly to SPMC staff.