NAMIC To Add New Award To Vision Ceremony

The National Association of Minorities in Communications will present an award to Federal Communications Commission chairman William Kennard as part of its sixth annual Vision Awards ceremony this week.

The Vision Awards -- the only major national awards show exclusive to the cable industry -- will also present awards in six categories to companies and individuals who have demonstrated excellence in providing programming that reflects cultural diversity.

Kennard will receive the inaugural Quasar Award, in recognition of his contributions and impact in dealing with diversity issues within the cable industry, said Gregory Amerson, co-chair of the Vision Awards.

NAMIC will also present its NorthStar Award -- which recognizes a company or individual for outstanding efforts in spearheading diversity in telecommunications -- to film producer Moctesuma Esparaza, who has produced such films as Selena.

Esparazais currently finishing production on Home Box Office original film The Dorothy Dandridge Story.

Amerson said MediaOne Group Inc. will televise the show on a tape-delayed basis in the Los Angeles market in the near future. He added that the awards show is something that the industry should be proud of, given the variety of distinctive programming that reflects cultural diversity.

"This is one area where the industry should make some noise for itself, because it is head and shoulders above the broadcasting industry as far as quality ethnic programming is concerned," Amerson said. The industry should step up and support what we're attempting to champion."

Programs from HBO, Black Entertainment Television, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, Showtime, Comedy Central, A&E Network, The History Channel, Lifetime Television, MTV: Music Television, American Movie Classics, Cable News Network, Si TV and Food Network received nominations for Vision Awards, Amerson said.

Actor Byron Allen and singer/actress Patti Austin will co-host the ceremonies.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.