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RadioAlabama family of stations sweep 11 awards for broadcasting excellence

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – RadioAlabama, the state’s largest privately-held radio group, was recognized at the 18th annual ABBY Awards Saturday night in Birmingham for best in broadcasting achievements.

Overall, 11 awards were given to the multimedia organization; ten for Best in Broadcasting in respective categories and one Judge’s Award of Merit.

KiX 100.3 took home two ABBY awards including Best News Reporter for Michael Giddens and Best Regularly Scheduled Newscast for “SylacaugaNews.com News Minute,” an on-air, local, daily news update.

“For us, winning these awards is a testament to our commitment to delivering quality news and programming to our listeners,” said Michael Giddens, Multimedia Reporter and Producer. “It’s an honor to see hard work pay off and be recognized by fellow broadcasters for our commitment to the communities we serve.”

MIX 106.5 also shined receiving the Judges Award of Merit for the station promo “Santa Magic,” featuring Santa turning on Christmas music, Best Commercial for “Southern Smiles of Sylacauga: First Dental Visit,” highlighting why it’s important for childhood dental visits, and Best Public Affairs Program for Bob Holmes’ “Bull Gap Journal,” weekly program featuring life, leadership, and common sense talking points and conversations.

“Seeing something that we thought would be fun promotion for our station turn into an award-winning recognition is so special,” said Claire Hodges, Promotions Director. “Having Santa come into our studios and help flip the switch to continuous Christmas music all season long is one thing but when you put some production behind it and share it with the public in a video that’s engaging, that’s where the real magic happens.”

“Working with kids is one of my favorite aspects of my job,” said Production Coordinator Rebecca Young, who produced the “First Dental Visit” commercial. “Creating a special and memorable message to our listening audience, while generating results for our clients, is so gratifying.”

“Taking common sense bits and turning it into brief talking points on-air and on video is not a foreign concept; it’s the passion we put behind it that makes it different and award-winning,” said Brig. Gen. Bob Holmes (USAF, Ret.), Host of the Bull Gap Journal. “Allowing for an opportunity to spread positive and encouraging messages to our audience is paramount in a time that we all need to be reminded of our core values and beliefs.”

Four Auburn Network stations were honored with prestigious ABBY Awards.

Donny Blankenship was recognized as Best Radio Personality for his work on the morning show, The Donny B Show, on Wings 94.3. Additionally, the station was recognized for exceptional production work as Al Mason took home trophies for Best Public Service Announcement for his work on “Storybook Farm Derby Day” and for Best Event/Client Promo for his Opelika Rotary Club “Burger Wars” promo.

NewsTalk WANI’s Auburn-Opelika This Morning was named the state’s Best Talk Show, marking the 15th 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 in a row, third overall.

Jacob Goins, host of ESPN 106.7’s On the Line show, won Best Sportscaster in the state for his play-by-play efforts as Voice of the Lee-Scott Academy Warriors, whose games aired on AU100.

Since the annual ABBY Awards began 18 years ago, Auburn Network stations have earned 50 awards, more than any other media organization in the state.

“These six awards recognize our stations’ continued dedication and our staff’s 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. A special thank you to Riley Hubbard for assembling the reels that we submitted to the ABA for consideration. That project required a lot of time and effort.”

Donny Blankenship, who hosts The Donny B Show weekday mornings on Wings 94.3, was named Best Radio Personality for the second straight year. “It is incredibly humbling to receive the ABBY award for Best Radio Personality for the second year in a row,” said Blankenship. “I thoroughly enjoy playing 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 do what I love.”

Al Mason, who handles most of the production efforts at Auburn Network, was recognized for his production of the Best Public Service Announcement and the Best Client/Event Promo. “I love working every day with local businesses and organizations as a trusted creative marketing partner,” said Mason. “For those efforts on behalf of our clients to be recognized by the ABA is especially rewarding!”

Ben Taylor received an honor on Saturday night as Auburn-Opelika This Morning was named Best Talk Show in its 26th year. The popular weekday morning show on NewsTalk WANI featuring local news, weather, commentary, and interviews has now received the honor 15 times.

“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,” said Taylor. It goes to show how important local radio is to our community. Thank you Auburn, Opelika, and Lee County for supporting local, supporting our community, and embracing this show for over 26 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 Drive with Bill Cameron & Dan Peck was awarded Best Sports Talk Show. This marks the second straight year and third time overall The Drive has received the honor, and the sixth time that the award has been won by an ESPN 106.7 program. Bill 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 behind the controls producing our show and making the show sound perfect every day.”

Jacob Goins, host of ESPN 106.7’s On the Line, was named Best Sportscaster in the state for his play-by-play efforts as Voice of the Lee-Scott Academy Warriors, whose games aired on AU100.

“I am honored and blessed to receive the ABBY Award for Sportscaster of the Year,” said Goins. “Thank you to Auburn Network, Radio Alabama, my Color Commentator Christian Griffin, and the coaches and players of Lee-Scott Academy for making this possible. Being the voice of a team has been one of the greatest joys of my life, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

“This past year, we reinvented our vision: ‘Reaching people. Making a difference.’ That’s what we are doing every day across our family of stations and multimedia assets,” said RadioAlabama Executive Vice President Michael Brannon. “By investing in our resources, talent, clients, and audience, this allows us to reach higher and have greater impacts on our communities. I am so proud of our team for achieving these accomplishments.”

Operating under the master RadioAlabama brand, 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.

Collectively, the stations have been recognized and/or won 82 awards for broadcast excellence from the Alabama Broadcasters Association and are home to Alabama’s Radio Station of the Year for 2009, 2016, and 2017 and the state’s Broadcaster of the Year in 2014.


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