Coon Rapids’ CTN wins national awards

CTN, the city of Coon Rapids’ cable television studio, has won two national awards.

It is the recipient of two first-place honors in the 2014 national hometown media awards presented by the Alliance for Community Media for community cable television programs.

CTN’s awards were in two categories – sports coverage, professional, for “Live Prep Football: Blaine at Coon Rapids” and entertainment and arts, professional, for “Sportsnight.”

This is the 10th straight year that CTN has won a hometown media award for its live prep football coverage of a Coon Rapids High School game, according to Eric Strouse, CTN production supervisor.

For the Coon Rapids Homecoming game against Blaine in the fall of 2013, CTN had a 12-person crew, including production staff plus play-by-play announcers Joe Yund and Howie Shapiro and sideline reporter Jamie Curott. The production crew was headed by Neil Hennen and Josh Udvig.

In addition to reporting from the sidelines, Curott presented segments recorded earlier of Homecoming week activities such as the pep rally and parade, while she interviewed one coach at the beginning of half-time and the other coach right before the second half began, Strouse said.

The live broadcast also featured the half-time show of the Coon Rapids High School danceline, the Cardettes, he said.

According to Strouse, it is the experience, especially on the technical side, that sets CTN’s prep sports coverage apart from others.

“It has the attention to detail that some other sports broadcasts can’t provide,” Strouse said.

This includes the audio that enables viewers to hear the calls made by the official, instead of trying to interpret the hand signals, as well as the sounds of the game from the stands and the quarterback calls, he said.

In addition, CTN is also able to show graphics throughout the game, Strouse said.

“Sportsnight” is a half-hour, weekly show that is broadcast on Mondays during the Coon Rapids High School sports seasons.

A couple of shows are also aired during the summer months when new coaches at Coon Rapids are introduced and the athletic director looks ahead to the fall season, according to Strouse.

It is scripted and hosted by Yund with Hennen heading the production side, Strouse said.

This is a show that does not just focus on the school’s high profile sports like football, basketball and hockey, but all boys’ and girls’ sports, he said.

“We cover different events every week,” Strouse said. “We make sure we provide good coverage of all the sports.”

Winning the awards is very gratifying because the programs are as popular as they are because of the commitment of CTN’s staff “to do the very best they can with limited resources,” Strouse said.

“We look forward to continued success with the support of the city and the community,” he said.

Award winners will be honored at the 2014 hometown media awards celebration Aug. 7 in Philadelphia, in conjunction with the Alliance for Community Media’s annual conference.

CTN does not anticipate sending a representative to the conference to receive the awards; they will be sent in the mail, according to Strouse.

Coon Rapids began producing cable television programs in May 1986, but became a single city cable TV community at the beginning of 1997 when the city pulled out of an eight-city cable commission.

CTN produces programs on three separate channels, 15, 16 and 19, and in 2001 moved into a state-of-the-art facility adjacent to the Coon Rapids City Center.

Over the years it has won more than 30 national and regional awards.

Funding for the city’s cable TV operation does not come from property taxes, but from user fees paid by Comcast, the cable TV operator in Coon Rapids, as well as from the sponsorship program and production services project.