Aspen Public Radio wins multiple news awards from Colorado Broadcasters Association and Society for Professional Journalists
Aspen Public Radio has been recognized for its outstanding journalism by the Colorado Broadcasters Association (CBA) and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). Both the CBA and the SBJ’s Top of the Rockies contest awards were announced Saturday, April 22, 2023, honoring work done in 2022.
Colorado Broadcasters Association
The CBA was founded in 1949 as a non-profit trade organization to represent broadcasters, both public and private, and to formally interact with state and national officials and trade groups to further the business of broadcasting. Annual awards recognize excellence in radio and television throughout Colorado.
Aspen Public Radio’s submissions for work done in 2022 were judged by out-of-state professional broadcasters against entries from other radio stations in the medium-sized radio market, which includes public and commercial stations in 36 diverse communities across the state, including Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Vail, Dillon, Steamboat Springs, Durango, Alamosa, Delta, Craig, and more.
In the CBA awards, there are only two levels of recognition, first place and second place, which is called a “certificate of merit.”
Aspen Public Radio was recognized with top honors, or first place, in the following categories:
- Best News Feature, Report or Series: Jahir Rodas cuts his first Christmas tree and keeps his grandmother’s memory alive by Eleanor Bennett; and
- Best Sports Feature: Paralympic athlete returns to Snowmass, helps his students learn to ski by Halle Zander.
Both reporters took home this top honor, in the same category, in 2021.
Additionally, Aspen Public Radio reporter Halle Zander received Certificates of Merit as honorable mentions in the following categories:
- Best News Coverage of a Single Event: Teen rescues and resuscitates friend caught in the Cascades on Independence Pass, credits CPR training by Halle Zander; and
- Best Sports Feature: ‘We’re just going for one run at a time:' Aspen local skis 66 laps in one day by Halle Zander.
SPJ’s Top of the Rockies
The SPJ Colorado chapter was founded in 1949, holding most of its meetings at the historic Denver Press Club, and issues awards in its Top of the Rockies contest on behalf of SPJ chapters in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming.
Their mission is to promote the association of journalists in the region; to further the ethics and ideals of the profession; to advance, develop and formally recognize higher standards of journalism; to stimulate social and intellectual exchange between members of the press; to raise public awareness of the profession; to promote the development of future journalists from the ranks of high school and college students; and to promote the spirit of fellowship among journalists and civic responsibility to the community.
In the SPJ contest, Aspen Public Radio competes in the “medium newsroom” category and was recognized with four awards overall with first, second and third-place awards in the following categories:
- First Place, A&E and Food, Feature: Local connection helps a renowned pianist find refuge from Russia-Ukraine War, by Kaya Williams;
- Second Place, Sports, Feature: Lori Spence paves the way as the first woman to lead Aspen Highlands ski patrol, by Eleanor Bennett;
- Third Place, Features, Short Form: ‘They cannot fight “Latine:”’ Local drag queens raise awareness for gender-neutral term at Basalt performance, by Halle Zander; and
- Third Place, Obit Reporting: Remembering Bob Braudis, the longest-serving ‘Freak Power’ sheriff by Eleanor Bennett and Dominic Anthony Walsh.
The judge who gave Kaya Williams first place for her feature said, “Nice work finding audio from his last concert and the way the music was woven into the interview segments. Finding an arts angle on international news isn't easy, this one accomplished that.”
“It’s always great to see our work recognized by our peers in other newsrooms,” said Aspen Public News Director Brent Gardner-Smith. “And I know how hard the members of our newsroom worked on these award-winning stories.”
These distinctions build on the recognition Aspen Public Radio received for reporting in 2021, and contribute to the continued excellence of Rocky Mountain Community Radio (RMCR), where Richardson now serves as president. RMCR is a coalition of 20 non-commercial radio stations in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
In fact, Rocky Mountain Community Radio won a combined 25 CBA awards across all markets, with Aspen Public Radio winning four (4), KOTO in Telluride winning four (4), KVNF in Paonia/Montrose winning four (4), KUVO in Denver winning four (4), KSUT in Ignacio winning three (3) with two of those recognizing KSUT Tribal Radio, KGNU in Boulder/Denver winning two (2), KRFC in Fort Collins winning two (2), KUNC in Greeley winning one (1), and KDNK in Carbondale winning one (1).
In the SPJ Top of the Rockies competition, member stations of Rocky Mountain Community Radio won a combined 27 awards, with KHOL in Jackson, WY winning eight (8), KVNF in Paonia/Montrose winning eight (8), Aspen Public Radio winning four (4), KUNC winning four (4), KGNU in Boulder/Denver winning two (2), and KBUT in Crested Butte winning one (1).
A complete 2022 CBA awards list by market is available here.
A complete 2022 Top of the Rockies awards list by market is available here.