CTN wins national awards for sports programming

Contributing Writer

Sports programs have earned CTN, the city of Coon Rapids’ cable television station, first- and second-place awards from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors.The awards were presented at the association’s annual conference in Seattle, Washington, Sept. 14.

“Sportsnight” took first-place honors in the sports programming category, while the station’s live coverage of a Coon Rapids versus Anoka boys’ basketball playoff game won a second-place award in the live sports event category.

Eric Strouse, station manager, who traveled to Seattle for the conference, was delighted by CTN’s continued success in this national competition.

“CTN has been successful every year,” he said. “It’s awesome and due to the work of the staff who rise to the challenge to do the best they can all the time.”

CTN competes against community television stations that have larger staffs and bigger budgets, Strouse said.

According to Strouse, the “Sportsnight” half-hour show, showcases all Coon Rapids High School sports activities and has run on a weekly basis for more than 20 years during the high school year.

But it also has specials in the summer months to introduce new coaches at the high school, Stouse said.

For example, this past summer, a “Sportnight” special focused on new Coon Rapids High School football coach, Mal Edwards, he said.

One reason for the success of the “Sportsnight” program in national competition is Joe Yund and Howie Shapiro as commentators and co-hosts, according to Strouse.

“They have been together on the show for 20 years and have a really good rapport and knowledge of Coon Rapids High School sports,” Strouse said.

In addition, the work of Neil Hennen, longtime producer/director, was a major factor in winning the award, he said.

The program does not just highlight the games of the high-profile sports like football, basketball and hockey, but also less visible sports like golf and skiing with a camera crew at events, Strouse said.

Yund (play-by-play), Shapiro (color) and Hennen (producer) were also very much involved in the second-place award for the live sports event, along with director Josh Udvig, for the Coon Rapids/Anoka boys’ basketball playoff game last season, according to Strouse.

“What also helped was that it was a very exciting game and finish,” Strouse said. “The lead went back and forth the whole game and Coon Rapids won with a three-point shot at the buzzer.”

Four cameras were used at the game and the production was good technically with pre-production work, graphics and interviews, he said.

CTN also earned honorable mention for its 2016 live election program in the election coverage category and its original programming in the programming excellence category.

For the programming excellence category, CTN entered a compilation of clips from all its programs, including sports, government meetings, community events like concerts and the Fourth of July parade, news shows and its “Community Journal,” Strouse said.

The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors’ government programming annual awards recognize excellence in broadcast, cable, multi-media and electronic programming produced by local government agencies with categories covering a variety of programming, according to the organization’s website.