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Television Industry Honors Its Own at Inaugural Emmys Awards and Silver Circle Gala

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The Minneapolis/St Paul Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences celebrated both the long history of television in this region and the quality of current news and programming, with its first ever of regional Emmy Awards and inaugural induction of Silver Circle honorees.

The black-tie Gala, held Saturday, October 21 at the McNamara Alumni Center Gateway, University of Minnesota, was a glittering gathering of media people from all over the state. Joining the festivities were John Canon, President of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Mark Yudof, President of the University of Minnesota. The evening began with a welcome by Ed Piette, President of the Chapter Board of Governors.

The evening featured moments of great fun: Alan Beck introducing "WCCO radio talk show host" Don Shelby to present the first round of awards. There were touching moments as well, such as KMSP’s Robyne Robinson honoring Pat Miles, calling her "my role model." KSTP’s photojournalist Dave Wertheimer accepted one of his two awards "on behalf of my family", thanking them for being understanding when "the phone rings in the middle of the night and I have to go get the story."

Silver Circle honorees, nominated by their peers and evaluated against comprehensive criteria that includes service to the broadcast industry and to the greater community, included KSTP’s Jason Davis, Hubbard Broadcasting founder Stanley E. Hubbard, KARE-11 anchor Pat Miles, the late Dave Moore of WCCO and Don Swartz, founder of KMSP-TV, United Television and Christ Craft.

Davis, in accepting his plaque, thanked the man who hired him in this market, Stan Turner, and also his bosses for believing in him and allowing him the freedom to pursue the "On the Road" stories that have become his hallmark. He asked his boss, Stanley S. Hubbard, sitting in the front row, if he was now "in his will." After the laughter subsided, Davis turned serious again, expressing his thanks to the Academy and his peers for "this great honor."

Stanley S. Hubbard, accepting on behalf of his late father, described the friendly -- "and I do mean friendly!" -- competition that existed between Stanley E. Hubbard and Don Swartz. Acknowledging Mr. Swartz’ role in creation of the broadcast industry in both the state of Minnesota and the country, he described this inaugural Silver Circle honor as all the more significant because of the inclusion of both of these pioneers.

KARE-11’s Pat Miles accepted her honor with her usual grace and humor, acknowledging her mentors Dave Moore and KARE-11 News Director Tom Lindner. In a touching reference to the problems she’s had with her eyes, she said her biggest worry was finding the "right pair of sunglasses to wear to a black tie gala."

On behalf of the family of Dave Moore, Don Shelby accepted the plaque, reminding us of Dave Moore’s genius as an anchor. Shelby said the award was perhaps most important because "there are people in this audience who don’t remember Dave Moore – hopefully this award will change that."

Don Swartz, still an imposing figure even in retirement, took the stage last and reminded the audience of the long history of broadcasting in this community. He spoke proudly of his many accomplishments, singling out his family, many of whom have followed in his footsteps to pursue careers in the broadcast industry, as perhaps his most important legacy. Being introduced at the Gala by son Stu Swartz, General Manager of KMSP-TV, was, he said, "the proudest moment of my life."

Fifty-one Emmy statues and 2 College Awards were handed out at the Gala to stations from all over the state. KBJR in Duluth took top honors in the Single Newscast (market #21 or smaller) for their "6pm News". KARE-11 "News at 10" took the honors for markets #20 or larger. KARE also nabbed the Single Morning News category.

The Emmy for News Anchor went to both Paul Magers at KARE and Julie Nelson at KSTP. KARE’s Belinda Jensen took top honors for Weather Anchor while Joe Schmit at KSTP won for Sports Anchor. KMSP’s Rob Olson took the award for Reporter. Lino Rulli from MCN Ch 6 won the Emmy for Program Hosts – Non-News.

Twin Cities Public Television won 4 Emmy Awards for its documentary "Death of the Dream: Farmhouses in the Heartland": Writing - Non-News (John Whitehead); Audio – Non-News (Joe Demko); Musical Composition (Steve Heitzeg); and Videography – Non-News (Robert Hutchings). Whitehead acknowledged the part the Afton Historical Society Press played in production of this piece. "Long-form documentary lives!" said Joe Demko, with great delight.

WCCO’s Tom Aviles was another multiple winner with 2 Emmys for his piece "The Velodrome": Editing News – Sports and Videography, News – Sports.

Jason Davis, in addition to his Silver Circle honors, took home the Emmy in 2 categories: Public Affairs and Documentary. KSTP’s Mark Anderson won Emmys in 3 categories: Audio – News, Editing News – In-depth and Videography, News – In-depth. The only other triple winner was Joe Schmit who, in addition to Sports Anchor, won for Sports Program and Sports Segment/Feature.

Judging for these regional Emmy Awards was handled by panels of peers in Atlanta and Philadelphia. "Everything possible was done to insure impartiality", said acting Executive Director Teresa Vickery; "Entries were collected at the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting – we owe them our thanks for allowing us to take over their boardroom for weeks. Sorting the 296 entries into categories was done by impartial outsiders – a team who have no ties to television whatsoever." She continued: "Judging results were sent directly to John Tauer at LarsonAllen – our accountant, and a man accurately described as ‘mathematically meticulous and ethically irreproachable’ by Alan Beck, Emmys Committee co-chair in his introduction to the presentation of the awards."

Pictures from the 2000 Emmys Awards and Silver Circle Gala. (click on thumbnail to view larger image)