BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Nine awards for broadcast excellence were awarded to the RadioAlabama family and its affiliates on Saturday’s 17th annual Alabama Broadcasters Association ABBY Awards.
The ABBY Awards showcase the best radio and television personalities, features, and performance entries across the state in small, medium, and large markets. The highly-competitive entries are judged out-of-state by other broadcast associations and awarded at the annual dinner amongst hundreds of broadcast professionals.
Collectively, the RadioAlabama and Auburn Network team received nine awards including:
- MIX 106.5: Best Podcast – Radio & Television — MIX Sunday Morning with Gregg Wykoff
- MIX 106.5: Judges Award of Merit – Radio Personality or Team — Michael Brannon
- MIX 106.5: Judges Award of Merit – Radio Morning Show — MIX Morning Show – Michael Brannon, Claire Hodges, Jeremy Law
- KiX 100.3: Best Radio News Reporter — Michael Giddens
- KiX 96.3: Best Public Affairs – The Mark White Show
- NewsTalk WANI: Best Radio Talk Show – Auburn/Opelika This Morning with Ben Taylor
- ESPN 106.7: Best Sports Show/Sports Talk Show — The Drive with Bill Cameron & Dan Peck
- Wings 94.3: Best Radio Personality or Team — Donny Blankenship
- Wings 94.3: Best Radio Morning Show — The Donny B Show/Donny Blankenship
“ABBY Awards are an important validation of our passion for serving the public, and we appreciate the recognition” said RadioAlabama President & CEO Lee Perryman. “I am extremely proud of our team and the continuing hard work that keeps our stations increasingly entertaining, informative, and relevant.”
The MIX Sunday Morning Podcast, hosted by Gregg Wykoff and now in an expanded 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. slot each Sunday on MIX 106.5, was named the state’s Best Podcast – Radio & Television. The weekly show was launched just over a year ago and has now garnered the attention of peers featuring interviews with people about their stories of faith and perseverance.
“I was honored to receive an award that I give all the glory to God. I thank RadioAlabama for opening this door of opportunity. It is only the beginning,” said Wykoff.
The MIX Morning Show with Michael Brannon, Claire Hodges, and Jeremy Law on MIX 106.5 received a Judges Award of Merit, with a second for host Michael Brannon as Radio Personality.
“During the pandemic, we had to make some moves with personnel and programming. Thanks to our owner Lee Perryman, he allowed me to jump back in the saddle and do what I love: being on-air, entertaining, informing, and talking with people. A few years later, here we are, still going strong” said Executive Vice President and Show Host Michael Brannon. “I don’t know how many people in management also have a daily morning show but I am thankful for the opportunity to do what I love. It’s a team effort. I could not do it without such a talented team. I so proud of all of our accomplishments this year.”
The Mark White Show, heard on KiX 96.3 as its flagship as well as 105.1 WRFS and other Alabama stations, was honored as the state’s best in Public Affairs. Its primary focus is to recognize people, groups, and organizations making a difference in communities across the state along with a daily Make A Difference Minute.
“After putting in the work that goes into The Mark White Show effort, it’s a great feeling to receive validation in the form of recognition through the Alabama Broadcaster’s Association,” said White. “It has definitely given me a boost and I’m already back at it, recognizing difference makers and sharing their stories to encourage and inspire us all to make a difference where we can!”
For KiX 100.3, Michael Giddens earned an ABBY for Best Radio News Reporter.
“It’s an honor to be named as the best Radio News Reporter for the second year in a row,” said Giddens. “I’d like to thank my wife and the rest of my family for all their loving support, the Alabama Broadcasters Association for giving me such a prestigious award, and, of course, my RadioAlabama family for putting up with me every day.”
Donny Blankenship was recognized as both the best-in-class on-air personality, and as host of the state’s best morning show, The Donny B Show, on Wings 94.3.
NewsTalk WANI’s Auburn-Opelika This Morning was named the state’s best talk show, marking the 14th time that the show has received the award, while ESPN 106.7’s The Drive with Bill Cameron and Dan Peck was awarded the state’s best sports talk show for the second time.
Since the annual ABBY Awards began 17 years ago, Auburn Network stations have earned 44 awards, more than any other media organization in the state.
“These four coveted awards recognize our stations’ continued dedication to broadcast quality and excellence,” said Steve Witten, Vice President and Market Manager. “I am extremely proud of all our teams, from on-air, to operations, to sales, and administration. It is satisfying to be recognized for our efforts, and I’m happy to be able to celebrate our passion for excellence, entertainment, information, and public service.”
Donny Blankenship, who hosts The Donny B Show weekday mornings on Wings 94.3, was named best on-air personality. In addition, The Donny B Show was also given the nod as the state’s best morning show.
“It is incredibly humbling to receive two ABBY awards in just my first year as the morning show host on Wings 94.3,” said Blankenship. “I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to play the best music ever made and providing some laughs to my listeners every morning. I’m looking forward to growing the show even more in the future. I’m also thankful to Steve and Ben for giving me this opportunity to get back into radio, which I love doing.”
Ben Taylor received an honor on Saturday night as Auburn-Opelika This Morning was named best talk show in his first year as the show’s host. The weekday morning show on NewsTalk WANI featuring local news, weather, commentary, and interviews has now received the honor 14 times in the show’s 25-year history. Prior to taking the reins of Auburn-Opelika This Morning, Taylor hosted the popular morning show, Ben & Friends on Wings 94.3, twice taking home ABBY awards for his work on that show.
“It’s very humbling to accept this award and be mentioned alongside legendary broadcasters Rod Bramblett and Andy Burcham who have previously hosted Auburn-Opelika This Morning. It goes to show how important local radio is. Thank you Auburn, Opelika, and Lee County for supporting local, supporting our community, and embracing this show for over 25 years. This award speaks to our wonderful community and what it has to offer, far more than it speaks to any of us responsible for the show.”
The fourth honor that the network picked up on Saturday night was for best sports talk show, The Drive with Bill Cameron & Dan Peck. This marks the second time that Cameron and The Drive have received the honor, and the fifth time that the award has been won by an ESPN 106.7 program.
Cameron has been involved in sports talk in the state since 1986 when he and former Voice of the Auburn Tigers Jim Fyffe began co-hosting a daily sports talk show in Montgomery. He has been a host of The Drive since joining the Auburn Network in 2013.
“Dan [Peck] and I have a great time getting to cover Auburn’s hometown teams for the Auburn-Opelika area which of course includes Auburn University, but also the incredibly successful high school programs in our area,” said Cameron. “I believe that we’ve built a quality program that listeners enjoy being able to engage with every weekday by calling in and sharing their opinions on Auburn sports as well as Alabama and the SEC. I also want to thank our studio engineer Drew Forehand, who has done a really great job of producing our show and making the show sound perfect every day behind the controls.”
Operating under the master RadioAlabama brand and winner of 24 ABBY honors over the past decade for news, sports, production, programming, and client promotion, the group was also home to Alabama’s Radio Station of the Year in 2017 and the state’s Broadcaster of the Year in 2014. Owned by Marble City Media LLC, RadioAlabama’s stations and services in east central Alabama include WSGN, MIX 106.5 (WSGN-HD2), 105.1 WRFS, KiX 100.3 (WYEA), KiX 96.3 (WFXO), AU100 (WAUE), Tiger Country 104.5 (WAUE-HD2), SylacaugaNews.com, and RadioAlabamaSports.net.
Through co-owned Auburn Networks LLC, RadioAlabama’s operations include Wings 94.3 (WGZZ), NewsTalk WANI (WANI/WGZZ-HD2), ESPN 106.7 (WGZZ-HD3), 96.3 WLEE (WGZZ-HD4), East Alabama Living Magazine, and East Alabama Weddings Magazine. Winner of 43 ABBYs to date, the stations were home to Alabama’s Radio Station of the Year in 2009 and 2016.