SUNY Oswego student-run broadcast media earn four national awards

Student media organizations WNYO and WTOP recently earned four national awards in the College Broadcasters Inc. competition. Mark Rowlands and Ben Grimaudo of WNYO accepted the radio station's first place in the Best Sports Play-by-Play category. WTOP took second and third in the Best Live Sports Broadcast category and third in Best Station Imaging.

OSWEGO – SUNY Oswego student-run broadcasting organizations hauled in four national awards at the College Broadcasters Inc. competition recently, including a first-place honor for WNYO FM 89 radio and three overall awards for WTOP-TV10.

At the ceremony Nov. 2 in St. Louis, WNYO earned top honors for the Best Sports Play-by-Play category for its away men’s hockey broadcast at Plattsburgh. Meanwhile, WTOP earned both second and third in the Best Live Sports Broadcast category with its Whiteout Weekend men’s hockey broadcast of Oswego vs. Plattsburgh, and an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game of Oswego vs. Baldwin-Wallace. WTOP also placed third in the Best Station Imaging category, for overall promotional and branding work.

“We are incredibly happy about our results at CBI,” WNYO General Manager Carl Neff said. “Not only did we have great guys calling the game, Dan Kuter and Cole Parzych, but also a great team behind the scenes making sure those guys sounded as good as they did. I think this award not only reflects all the hard work the sports team put into each broadcast they did last year, but it is inspiring everyone at our station to produce the best content we can as well.”

Neff credits Parzych, who was sports director for WNYO before graduating in May, for going through broadcasts to find the right one. Being an away contest of great interest due to the Oswego-Plattsburgh rivalry, as well as the pitched atmosphere that it brings, really made it a prime selection, Neff noted.

“In terms of competition, everyone that attended the convention were from schools with strong, aspiring broadcasting teams,” Neff explained, as WNYO’s coverage of a Division III program was up against Division I and II schools. “As the general manager, this makes me very proud of what our sports team can do, as well as excited to see what is to come.”

The interactions of the college’s media organizations makes any success even sweeter, he said.

“The best support we get is from all the other media organizations,” Neff said. “When we heard that WTOP got nominated, both WNYO and the Oswegonian were quick to congratulate them and celebrate their success. When we got nominated shortly after, we received the same welcoming support and it felt amazing. All three media organizations working hand-in-hand resembles our pride as Oswego students and our collaboration with each other that increases every single day.”

Triple play

WTOP’s three awards continues its success with live sports, as well as other aspects of its operations, said Brittany Cairns, the station’s sports director.

Alumni know WTOP best for their sports broadcasts, but with this award and previous national recognition for a promo by 2018 graduate Griffin Bruce “show we’re not just good at sports but also good at other things,” Cairns said. “If you throw something at us, we can do it.”

She shared excitement about WNYO’s award and stressed teamwork and work ethic as two factors behind WTOP’s awards.

“We have people coming together to work long hours, and ultimately when you see everything come together, it’s really cool,” the senior broadcasting major said. “I think a lot of it also has to do with production value.”

Planning starts more than two weeks out for the Whiteout game, which had about 25 students on the crew, but the NCAA basketall game — since they did not know for sure if the school would host — was more of a scramble that benefited from teamwork and adaptability. WTOP had overhauled the way they broadcast basketball games, learning to incorporate a full studio production with a large graphics package just like for hockey games.

“It was probably only our third or fourth basketball broadcast in that format, so it was incredible to see that kind of recognition, that kind of validation,” Cairns said.

“In the live sports category, we had two of the four nominations,” Cairns said, and competition included large Division I schools. “It says a lot about our opportunities here. We’re student-run. We have opportunities other students never see in their four years. We get to broadcast every live sport.”

Cairns said she learned some of their competition had faculty members serving as general managers and taking more hands-on roles, but she thinks Oswego’s stations being so student-run gives them an advantage.

“I think we put on live broadcasts that compete with Syracuse and Arizona State and Temple,” Cairns said. “And as a freshman here you can touch a camera, while some other schools won’t let you do anything until your junior or senior year. I think that’s why we get such validation, because people keep getting more experience. Seniors graduate but other people have experience so they just step right in."

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