CTN Studios receives six national awards

CTN Studios, the city of Coon Rapids’ cable television operation, won a host of national awards last week.

CTN was the winner of two first-place awards, one second place, a third place and two honorable mentions at the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors’ 28th annual government programming awards in Orlando, Fla., Sept. 19.

“We have won several awards from the association in the past, but never this many and with two first places,” said Eric Strouse, CTN production manager.

“We were pleasantly surprised. We did not expect this many awards.”

No one from CTN Studios traveled to Florida to attend the convention so the awards will be mailed, Strouse said.

The first- through third-place awards will be in the form of a orb-shaped trophy, while CTN will receive plaques for the honorable mentions, he said.

CTN took first place in the live sports event and sports programming categories.

The live sports event was the telecast of the 2012 Andover and Coon Rapids football game.

Joe Yund and Howie Shapiro called the game backed by a 10-person production crew with five cameras and five people in the HD (high definition) production truck doing audio, video replays and directing, according to Strouse.

“It’s a big operation and we have a good team working together” Strouse said.

The “Sportsnight” first place award in the sports programming category was for a single episode of “Sportsnight” that runs weekly during the high school sports season focusing on Coon Rapids High School sports.

Anchored by Yund and Shapiro, the show is produced by Neil Hennen, who handles all technical aspects of the production, including editing and shooting highlights of all high school sports action, not just football and basketball, Strouse said.

Occasional episodes of “Sportsnight” are broadcast during the summer months, he said.

For example, this past summer, there was a “Sportsnight” show focusing on the new coaches at the high school, Strouse said.

The second-place national award was for the tape delay telecast of the 2012 “Coon Rapids Summer Concert Featuring Rockie Lynne” at Sand Creek Park in the community event coverage category, operating budget over $300,000.

The “CTN News” weekly show placed third in the news series category, operating budget over $300,000 division.

This award was not for a single episode, but a composite, Strouse said.

CTN’s 2012 election coverage earned honorable mention in the election coverage category, so did a composite of CTN’s government programming in the programming excellent category for operating budget between $400,000 and $1 million.

The government programming includes CTN’s live coverage of Coon Rapids City Council and Coon Rapids Planning Commission meetings as well as the “Council Comments” show with Mayor Tim Howe, according to Strouse.

He said the entries are judged on technical merit, the quality of the behind-the scenes production and community impact.

For the 2013 government programming awards competition, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors received more than 670 entries from the United States and Canada.

There were 67 categories covering a variety of programming, including community events, documentary, public affairs and public service, interview and talk shows, performing arts, sports, election coverage and children’s issues.

“Our winners continue to demonstrate excellence in programming and we are thrilled to honor and celebrate their achievements,” said Tony Perez, association president.

“We congratulate these winners for actively supporting community programming’s role in building stronger, more connected communities.”

The association, founded in 1980, provides support to its members on many local, state and federal communications laws, administrative rulings, judicial decisions and technology issues impacting local government.

The city began producing cable TV programming in May 1986.

At the beginning of 1997, Coon Rapids pulled out of an eight-city cable commission and became a single cable TV community television entity.

This allowed the city to expand programming to three separate channels, Channel 15, 16 and 19.

Channel 15 focuses on community programming including news, sports, concerts and feature shows, while Channel 16 has government programming including city of Coon Rapids, county and state issues.

Channel 19 showcases programming from other access stations as well as other professional programming emphasizing education and wellness.

Channel 14 was added later as a community information board for non profit events and listings.

CTN Studios moved into a new state-of-the-art facility on the campus of the Coon Rapids City Center in November 2001.

The building is over 8,000 square feet and has two studios with a central control room, master control, a voice-over room, tape storage room, four edit suites and an office area.

It also has a two-stall garage to house a mobile production truck, then in 2007 the station purchased a second larger production truck. The older equipment from the smaller truck was moved into the larger truck while the studio control room equipment was moved into the smaller truck.

In 2011 the larger truck was re-equipped with high definition technology for higher quality productions and additional future revenue generation capabilities, according to the CTN page on the city’s website.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]