For many years, INBA conventions served as host for the annual Illinois Associated Press awards. These competitive categories allowed us to share in the recognition and celebration of the impressive work of broadcasters who serve Illinois markets. It has been one of the highlights of our conventions.
The Illinois Associated Press notified the INBA board this past winter that it would be discontinuing its statewide awards.
One of my first tasks as incoming INBA President was to determine if and how we would continue to provide a space to celebrate the accomplishments of broadcasters through an awards ceremony.
There was quick interest in forming a new awards contest. There was also caution of the time, energy, and financial considerations to conduct an awards program.
INBA formed and ad-hoc (now permanent) awards committee. We discussed best practices in managing a competition with integrity that would be competitive, affordable, and financially viable for INBA.
We named a contest administrator H Wayne Wilson to develop category descriptions and contest rules. We contracted with Rock Our Awards, an industry leader in managing submissions. Additionally, we arranged a “judge swap” with the Iowa Broadcast News Association. INBA membership also voted unanimously to name The INBA Crystal Mic award for Best TV Newscast in honor of two-time INBA Illinoisan of the Year Paul Davis. Davis is a former WGN-TV News Director and past president of INBA. Just before his death in April, Davis called the honor, “A remarkable present– a nice tip of the hat.”
I appreciate the efforts of this committee to focus on a smaller scale initially with an eye on expanding our categories long-term. We feel this year’s categories will represent the “Best of the Best.” The Crystal Mics themselves are pretty impressive pieces of art too for you to share with your team and audience should you snag one this year!
I may have buried the lead here, but what we need now are your entries. We have heard from many stations already, but feel there is room for more. Believe me, the daily deadlines make sitting down and reflecting on the past year and a half a tough task to schedule. But we believe it is essential for us all to look back at the work of our reporters and teams and submit them for consideration to be recognized for their impact on the audience. That’s why we are extending the entry deadline until August 7th.