Laudable audio

"This is so motivating," crowed Steve McKenzie of WZSR-FM Crystal Lake, Ill., after receiving his $5,000 Radio-Mercury Award last week in New York for best station-produced spot from David Crowl of Clear Channel Communications. "I want everything. I want to conquer the world," McKenzie said. " I'll be back."

The other 12 awards for radio spots aired in 2000 went to ad agencies, with the top $100,000 award going to DDB Chicago for another in its series of "Real American Heroes" spots. Stan Richards, chief of The Richards Group agency in Dallas, won the Lifetime Achievement Award. He never wrote a radio spot but appreciates the craft. "The radio spot belongs to the writer."

A towering tribute

Former CBS President Dr. Frank Stanton took a tour last week of new public-radio studios bearing his name. The $3.5 million digital, state-of-the art studios, located in downtown Los Angeles, were developed by Marketplace Productions—current producer of the Peabody award-winning Marketplace Morning Report—which was recently acquired by Minnesota Public Radio.

"There is a large creative-talent pool in Southern California," said Jim Russell, senior vice president and general manager of Marketplace Productions. "We plan to take advantage of this talent in our expanded program development."

Several new national programs are in the pipe for the Frank Stanton studios, including Public Radio Movie Show, Spanish Marketplace and the magazine program True West.

Fueling the lighthouse

Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Video, and Jerry Gepner, executive vice president of Fox Sports, were honored at the Vision Fund of America Annual Awards dinner in New York City, emceed by comedian and The View resident gabster Joy Behar.

The not-for-profit organization, made up of visual-media professionals who seek to make their products and services accessible to the visually impaired, lauded Kornblau and Gepner for their work within their respective industries.

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to single out and honor the accomplishments and contributions of these key leaders in our industry," Vision Fund President Alec Shapiro said. He also noted that the event was to benefit VFA's partner, Lighthouse International.

Court TV in the classroom

Partisan agendas were put on the back burner in Washington last month when House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) and several senators joined Court TV's CEO Henry Schleiff (above) in unveiling the network's newest Choices and Consequences antiviolence curriculum directed toward middle and high school students.

This year's initiative will focus on the problem of bullying and on helping teens differentiate between negative and positive media images.

Aired last month, the first taping of the classroom-style program featured students and dozens of Congress members. Set for fall, the second will target younger students and their parents.

An unlikely duo

FCC Chairman Michael Powell gave an embrace to Lamb Chop, in Washington last week in handing out the second annual Lamb Chop Awards for excellence in children's programming. He was joined by Mallory Lewis, whose mother, Shari, created the lovable woolen sock puppet. Award winners were Sesame Workshop founders Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett and the late Muppet creator Jim Henson.