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More Peabodys than ever

The George Foster Peabody Award will go to 36 recipients this year-the highest number of winners in its 59-year history.

But commercial radio was no prize. "It' s very disappointing," said Neil L. Aronstam, chairman of the National Advisory Board, last week. "We did not award a single radio Peabody to a commercial station."

The University of Georgia' s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, which administers the award, has doubled its efforts to reach out to the commercial radio stations and kept nomination fees at $150, instead of $250, which it charges TV entrants.

Among the winners were NBC' s new drama series, The West Wing and HBO' s The Sopranos. In addition, ABC News won for its 24-hour coverage of the millennial New Year' s Eve from around the world, titled ABC 2000. ESPN's SportsCentury retrospective on major athletic endeavors and personalities of the 20th century was honored as well.

WCPO-TV Cincinnati was lauded for its investigation into the construction of two new stadiums in the city. WAGA-TV Atlanta got a Peabody for its reports on racial profiling.

This year 1,234 entries were judged by a National Advisory board made up of 15 members from academic, journalistic and communications backgrounds. Video and radio productions can be entered in seven categories: news, documentary, entertainment, education, programming for children, public service and an individual/institutional/organizational category. Winners are chosen solely on merit.

The awards will be emceed by Matt Lauer, co-anchor of NBC's Today Show, May 22, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. The awards program is co-sponsored by Broadcasting & Cable.

Below is a list of winners:

National Public Radio and The Kitchen Sisters for Lost & Found; Smithsonian Productions for The Mississippi: River of Song; National Public Radio for Morning Edition with Bob Edwards; CBS News; Bob Simon for International reporting for CBS News, New York; WAGA-TV Atlanta for Singled Out; Manila, Philippines, for Investigative reporting by GMA Network; ABC News, New York for ABC News 20/20: Those Were Our Children.

MTV Networks, New York for BIOrhythm; Brook Lapping Productions for Channel 4 London for Playing the China Card; Public Affairs Television for Facing the Truth with Bill Moyers; A TWI/Carlton co-production for ITV, London, for The Second World War in Colour; ESPN, Bristol, Conn., for ESPN SportsCentury; Florentine Films in association with WETA-TV Washington D.C. for Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony; A Frontline co-production with 10/20 Productions Presented on PBS for Frontline: The Lost Children of Rockdale County; Home Box Office Sports, New York for Dare to Compete: The Struggle of Women in Sports; Riverside Films, New York for Arguing the World; a Mentorn Barraclough Carey Production for Channel 4, London for The Valley.

Home Box Office Sports, New York for Fists of Freedom: The Story of the' 68 Summer Games; BBC News, London for Murder in Purdah; Blackside Inc., in association with Thirteen/ WNET for I' ll Make Me A World: A Century of African-American Arts; BBC, London in association with PBS for The Life of Birds by David Attenborough; Home Box Office, New York for Good Night Moon & Other Sleepytime Tales; ABC, Storyline Entertainment, Columbia TriStar Television Inc. and Chris Montan Productions in association with Walt Disney Television for Annie; VH1 Public Affairs for VH1 Save the Music Campaign; Home Box Office and Brillstein-Grey Entertainment for The Sopranos.

CBS, Televest, Columbia TriStar Television in association with Dreyfull/James Productions for Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years; Showtime and Haft Entertainment for Strange Justice; A Yorkshire Television Production for ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre: Lost for Words; Home Box Office, a Spanky Pictures Production in association with Ellen M. Krass Productions for A Lesson Before Dying; Thirteen/WNET New York for City Life; Wall to Wall Television, Ltd., BBC, Carlton Television presented on PBS by WGBH-TV Boston for ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre: A Rather English Marriage; NBC, John Wells Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television for The West Wing; C-SPAN Washington D.C. for American Presidents: Life Portraits; and Sheila Nevins, Home Box Office for personal award.