UW-Eau Claire’s student-run radio station is the proud recipient of two 2019 Wisconsin Broadcasters Association awards. Converge Radio was presented with two Student Awards for Excellence on March 2 for two major student-produced projects. All entries must have been produced in their entirety by full-time students enrolled in any Wisconsin Broadcasters Association member university during 2018, and must consist of original material produced by the students submitting the piece.
Converge received a first-place award in the General Entertainment Program (Radio) category for their radio drama, "Bend in the River." The program was a major collaborative effort between undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and community members. Award winners include current student Eli Klatt, alumni Nathan Baughman and Charlotte Kupsh, faculty members Jim Rybicki and BJ Hollars, and alumnus and former faculty member Ken Szymanski.
“It is incredible to see the amazing amount of work that goes into these radio dramas,” says Converge station manager Scott Morfitt. “Between the fine writing and great team of volunteer actors, we have one of the best teams in this community. These are a labor of love and it’s great to see this collaborative effort honored.”
The second award came in the form of a second-place honor in the News Series/Documentary (Radio) category for the "Sounds of Eau Claire" podcast — a public history initiative studying the roots and dimensions of the current musical moment in the Chippewa Valley. "Sounds of Eau Claire," which began in 2017, focuses on what it means to be a “music city” in western Wisconsin and what traditions, sounds, events and people contribute to that regional identity.
The specific award-winning episode was a story focused on the house-show scene in Eau Claire where community members hold independent punk and indie rock concerts in their basements, bypassing the traditional venue model. The podcast was created by both journalism majors and students pursuing other majors, such as advertising, biology and history. Award-winners included alum Jack Bertelsen and current students Lawton Menard and Carissa Dowden.
“It’s thrilling that a team of history majors and our producers could work together to craft an expert narrative that not only chronicles a punk show at Taco John’s but also comments on the state of our music community,” Morfitt says.