The Michigan Association of Broadcasters recently awarded Hillsdale College’s radio station, Radio Free Hillsdale, seven total awards for its work in the past year, including three first-place awards.
These awards are open to college stations across the state, including Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University. Despite submitting nominations to only five of the eight radio categories for MAB, Hillsdale College, with its seven recognitions, received more awards than any other college in Michigan.
Scot Bertram, general manager of Radio Free Hillsdale, is ecstatic about the station’s success.
“This is just our second year eligible for the MAB awards, so it’s incredible to have this number of students honored,” he said. “Our students and programming are successful because our students want to be good. They want to produce quality shows. They want to get better. It’s satisfying to see others acknowledge that fact.”
Three first-place awards were given to Radio Free Hillsdale in the “Current Events Program” for sophomore Stefan Kleinheinz’s “The Hillsdale Interview: Ajit Pai”, in “On-Air Personality or Team” for 2018 alumni Sarah Schutte and Chandler Lasch’s “Wait, What Happened?,” and in “Talk Show” for seniors Ben Dietderich and Jenna Suchyta’s show “American View.”
The rest of the awards include two second- place honors and two honorable mentions, or third- place honors. Those who received the second- place awards were Dietderich in the “Current Events Program” category for The Hillsdale Interview: John James, and Suchyta in the “Daily Newscast/News Feature” category for Econ 101. The third place awards were given to senior Ryan Kelly Murphy for her newscast and senior Cole McNeely and junior Martin Petersen for their sportscasting work.
Suchyta commented on her own love for radio, as well as on WRFH’s recent triumphs.
“I love radio because it allows me to tell a story or to teach a concept in [such] a personal way,” Suchyta explained. “The disproportionate number of awards we get at WRFH, so many for such a young program, speaks volumes of the hard work and dedication put forth by all of us.”
Senior Shadrach Strehle, the station program director, said he feels extremely grateful that students who make up Radio Free Hillsdale are receiving recognition for all of their hard work.
“WRFH has seen amazing growth in listenership and quantity of programming, and seeing that growth reflected in awards means the world to students when recording a show every week can often feel like a very thankless job,” Strehle said. “Going from starting the station my sophomore year to potentially being the best station in Michigan is a huge leap to make in such a short time, and being program director during that leap is a huge honor.”
The individual winners will be honored in Lansing on March 6 during the Great Lakes Media Show. Additionally, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters will announce the recipient of the 2019 MAB College Radio Station of the Year Award, which Bertram thinks Radio Free Hillsdale has “an excellent chance at winning.”