Hillsdale stu­dents conduct inter­views at CPAC. Courtesy | Alex Nester


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.