The New Mexico Broadcasters Association last week announced the winners of its Excellence in Broadcasting Awards and New Mexico State University’s KRWG public broadcasting station earned nine awards including Station of the Year in radio for KRWG-FM.
“These awards represent the collective efforts of the most talented and hard-working individuals I’ve had the good fortune to work with,” said Adrian Velarde, general manager of KRWG public media. “The pandemic threw them nothing but curveballs, yet they adapted and rose to every challenge. I’m beyond proud of their work.”
NMBA selected the 2021 award-winners from works submitted by New Mexico broadcasters throughout the state for work completed during 2020. KRWG competes statewide for the television category and in the large market category for radio.
Fred Martino, director of content for KRWG public media, received the award as producer and anchor of KRWG’s 2020 election coverage in the television category, a statewide award. This award is shared with Christian Valle, director and producer, and Joe Widmer, co-producer of the programs.
“We produced 14 candidate forums for the 2020 election, which was a record for KRWG-TV,” Martino said. “That was extremely important of course, because for the most part people were not able to have in-person candidate forums. It may have been the only chance for voters to hear from candidates on a range of important issues. I also was proud of the addition of our hour-long call-in show ‘Voice of the Public.’”
Martino received an award in the radio category of specialty show for “Voice of the Public: Coronavirus Update” and another award for radio talk show or interview for “Frontline: The Choice 2020.”
KC Counts, broadcast operations manager for KRWG-FM, received five radio awards in the categories of breaking news, continuing coverage, sports show or interview and newscaster.
“The newscaster award is two different full newscasts,” said Counts. “One consisted of election night coverage from the June primary. I spoke with former state Sens. Mary Kay Papen and John Arthur Smith on the evening of their primary losses to challengers. Carrie Hamblen, who replaced Papen, also offered comments. We also spoke with the Silver City Daily Press and Independent to cover races in Southwest New Mexico.”
Counts also submitted the newscast from this category, which won the radio newscast station award.
“We work all year long to provide information in many cases that is not available from any other source because we cover such a wide range of topics and do so in a way that is pretty unusual,” Martino said. “While we do provide headlines and shorter content within newscasts, we also provide that long-form content. Our viewers and listeners appreciate there is still a place where they can hear a half hour of someone on a topic or have a full hour and to ask their questions. That is the essence of public media. It’s putting the public in public media. That philosophy drives everything we do. We offer what isn’t being offered by anyone else.”
The 2021 NMBA convention is scheduled for Sept. 24, which will include presentations of the Excellence in Broadcasting Awards.
NMBA is a not-for-profit corporation started in 1951. Its membership includes radio and television stations, as well as other community members with a stake in broadcasting throughout the state. For more than six decades, the organization has encouraged standardizing customs and practices in broadcasting in the best interests of the public and the broadcasting industry.