The upcoming national College Broadcasters, Inc. Awards have named five Hillsdale College students and 2020 graduates as nominees for the top four finalists in their respective categories.
Matthew Montgomery ’20 was nominated for Best Station Promo for his 30-second radio promo “The Spin Room,” a piece in which he plays a consumer shopping for music reviews.
“Basically the concept is ‘shopping’ for a good music review show among the many other review shows out there,” Montgomery said. “In this case, it’s me, playing the role of a consumer, walking through a cereal aisle until I find ‘something good,’ which is my show. It then promotes it and hopefully drives people to listen to it.”
Montgomery said he became better at radio production in his last two years at Hillsdale, and this radio work was different from his previous ones because it “was just me actually trying, I guess.”
“I learned that sometimes being a bit zany actually pays off,” Montgomery said. “People enjoy levity and a bit of craziness in their day to level things out…it’s really about interjecting personality in the piece and you can do that if it’s done properly.”
Since graduating, Montgomery has continued working in radio at Our American Stories in Oxford, Mississippi.
“It’s a good time,” he said. “I highly recommend people join the radio station. I got a good job out of it.”
Ben Dietderich ’20, Alexis Nester ’20, and senior Stefan Kleinhenz were nominated in Best Special Broadcast for their WRFH interviews at CPAC 2020. Nester, a first-time finalist, said she hadn’t had much experience in radio until her senior year when Dietderich asked her to be his co-host on “American View” and a fellow interviewer at CPAC 2019.
“It was something that I thought was really fun,” Nester said. “And thankfully, Mr. Bertram and Ben gave me the opportunity to do that.”
Nester said they did more than 60 interviews in those two days, calling it “exhilarating.”
“The most important thing, I think, in radio, is to be relaxed and just have a conversation,” she said. “All these people, you might see them in the news or follow them on Twitter, but at the end of the day, they’re just people. They’re interesting people, and every one has a great story.”
Dietderich is also a finalist in Best Documentary for Episode 3 in “Where All Trails End,” and junior Jane O’Connor is a finalist in Best Regularly Scheduled Entertainment Program for her episode of “State Facts: Ohio.”
O’Connor’s piece also won first place at Michigan Association of Broadcasters Awards this past year and is a finalist in the IBS competition as well. Her piece centers around asking people facts about the state and recording their responses.
Radio Free Hillsdale’s General Manager Scot Bertram expressed pride in the work the students have done.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had that happen before, where one student with a particular show is a finalist in all three of the awards competitions that we submit in,” Bertram said. “‘State Facts’ is a great concept that she pulls off very well.”
Bertram said the rankings of the finalists will be announced in October. This is the third year WFRH has submitted to CBI, and in the past two years, they have had three finalists but no first place wins. With finalists in four categories, Bertram said they “have a decent chance.”
“It’s a good year,” he said.