By Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist Published May 04, 2015 at 3:05 PM

Last weekend, representatives from television and radio stations converged on Madison for the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association 2014 Awards for Excellence. The group is known for awarding clear plates that sit in on a box with a blue background.

If a station is collecting enough of the awards to use the plates in a formal 12-person seating … you know things are going pretty well. For WISN-TV Ch. 12, 14 awards were gathered including "Station of the Year" and "News Operation of the Year" honors.

"This is a special moment in station history," Jan Wade, president and general manager of WISN 12, said in a release. "Every member of the WISN 12 team contributed to these awards and I’m incredibly proud to work with such a talented group. We work hard to lead the way with important local coverage every day."  

The station did spread the wealth, so to speak, placing in every category with the 14 wins, 10 second-place awards and five thirds.

Kent Wainscott, Melinda Davenport and Stephanie Sutton all had first place awards, and Joyce Garbaciak and photojournalist Bob Palmer earned a "Best Series or Documentary" award for a story about teen suicide prevention. Meteorologist Chris Glonginger’s and photojournalist Brady Headington’s coverage of the U.S. Coast Guard freeing a stuck freighter won a "Best Use of News Video" Award.  

"I’m honored to lead such an extraordinary group of journalists," News Director Chris Gegg said. "These awards are the culmination of exemplary teamwork, unbridled talent and unshakeable determination.

STATE-WIDE WINNERS: Some categories at the WBA awards are open to all outlets. WUWM-FM took home a second place finish in the "Best Website focused on Journalism" category, behind first-place winner of Wisconsin Public Radio. WUWM also won first place for its web-based "More than My Record" effort and best use of user-generated content with the demonstrators blocking I-43.

WYMS-FM 88Nine Radio earned a first place with the "Non-news Website (Music and Entertainment)," first place with a "Special Web Project" for Field Report Day, and a third place with its Voting Guide.

WISN-TV Ch. 12’s Melinda Davenport was named the "Best Personality" in the digital awards and WTMJ-AM 620’s Gene Mueller finished third in the same category. WTMJ also got a second place nod fir its use of social media.

WXSS-FM won third place with Kraig Karson and the Chevy Cruze for a "Best Promotional Campaign."

AREA TV EFFORTS: WITI-TV Fox 6 won first place awards for "Best Spot News," "Best Evening Newscast," "Best Newswriting," "Best Use of Sports Video," "Best Weathercast" with Vince Condella, "Best Editorial" with Ted Perry’s "The Teditorial," "Best Sports Reporting" and "Best Election Night Coverage."

WTMJ-TV Ch. 4 had first place wins for the I-Team, "Best Hard News/Investigative" and "Best Topical Promotion." WDJT-TV CBS 58 took home a first place for "Best Feature" and WMVS-TV was first in "Best Specialty Programming."

RADIO NEWS AND TALK WINNERS: WTMJ-AM 620 was named the "Station of the Year" and "News Operation of the Year" for news and talk radio for 2014. Other first-place awards included: "Best Spot News," "Best Newscast," "Best Use of Audio In Radio News," "Best Live On-Scene Reporting," "Best Continuing Coverage," "Best Interview" for Gene Mueller’s chat with Brett Favre, "Best Sportscast" with Greg Matzek, "Best Sports Play-by-play," "Best Significant Community Impact" and "Best Public Service Announcement."

WISN-AM won first place awards for "Best Feature," "Best Specialty Program" and "Best Election Coverage."

Sports talk station WSSP-AM won a number of WBA awards, including "Best Morning Radio Show" with Chuck and Wickett. WSSP won fist places in "Best Commercial," "Best Humorous Commercial" and "Most Entertaining Client-Recorded Commercial" with the Nice Ash Cigar Bar.

WOKY-AM and Mike Heller won first place for "Best Radio Show," WUWM earned first places for "Best Hard News/Investigative" and "Best Editorial Commentary," and Wisconsin Public Radio was honored with top awards for "Best News Reporting" and "Best Promotional Announcement."

MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT: Wes, Riggs and Alley on WXSS won first place for "Best Morning Radio Show" for their work done on election day. Kidd and Elizabeth at WMYX-FM finished in second place and Murphy and Meg in the Morning was third in the same category.

Other area first place winners were:

  • Best Radio Show: WYMS-FM, Afternoons with Kallao
  • Best Sports Coverage: WLWK-FM, Green Bay Game Day
  • Best Significant Community Impact: WRIT-FM, The Murphy & Meg, Make-A-Wish Radio-A-Thon
  • Best Use of Audio (Non-News): WXSS-FM, Eff the Snow
  • Best Promotional Announcement: WYMS-FM, Return of the Fall Membership Drive
  • Best Commercial: WXSS-FM, Chocolate Fest - Anyway You Say It
  • Best Interview: WLUM-FM, Adler Talks with Jake Johnson of Fox’s New Girl & "Let’s Be Cops"
  • Best Station Event Promo: WMIL-FM, Luke Bryan at Summerfest
  • Best Station Promo: WKLH-FM, Beatles 50th
  • Best Original Feature: WYMS-FM, 88nine Community Story: Baseball League for Kids with Disabilities

Find the complete list of WBA winners at

Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist

Media is bombarding us everywhere.

Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.

The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.