WKAR-TV at Michigan State University received two awards from the National Educational Telecommunications Association.
The public media station took home NETA's award for Community Engagement/Impact for the WKAR original TV series "Curious Crew." The station also captured the Local Culture Award for the WKAR original TV special "Sweetie-licious: A Slice of Life."
"Our local programs are rooted in the stories and talent of our community, yet they resonate and inspire audiences everywhere," said Susi Elkins, TV station manager for WKAR. "That's the ultimate goal, and why we are so honored to have our work recognized by our colleagues at NETA."
Formed in 1967, NETA is a professional organization that serves public television licensees and educational entities in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The NETA Awards were presented Oct. 5 at the annual NETA Professional Development Conference in Tampa, Fla. The WKAR programs were selected from 300 nationwide entries for two of the 29 annual awards that recognize achievements in community engagement, instructional media, promotion and marketing, and content production for online and broadcast media.
"Curious Crew" joined WKAR's line-up of children's programming in 2014. The original series features eight episodes with award-winning educator Rob Stephenson and a cast of inquisitive kids ages 8 to 14. The young explorers from across mid-Michigan take a hands-on approach to scientific exploration. More than 280 kids responded to open auditions, with 60 selected to participate in the show or as part of a promotions team hosting community events at local libraries and schools.
"Another major aspect of 'Curious Crew' is the attention it has garnered among the college-level research community," said Gary Reid, WKAR director of broadcasting. "Several research teams at MSU have coalesced around the program and are undertaking studies design to enhance the coverage, presentation and reach of the program."
Curious Crew returns to air the week of Thanksgiving. Back-to-back episodes air Monday, Nov. 23, at 5 and 5:30 p.m., and again on Friday, Nov. 27, at 5 and 5:30 p.m. The full 10-episode season begins its run Monday, Dec. 21, in its regular time slot on Mondays at 5:30 p.m., with encores at 11 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
"Sweetie-licious Slice of Life: A Farm to Table Gathering" first aired in late September 2014 and featured award-winning baker Linda Hundt of Sweetie-licious Bakery Cafes. The station's lifestyle original special recorded Hundt on location at her rustic family farm in DeWitt, Mich., as she and her daughters Ellie and Betsie prepared a farm-to-table meal for friends and family. The program featured three cooking demonstrations, how-to tips, and lively footage of diners enjoying the resulting meal.
"Television is awash with celebrity chefs, aggressive cooking competitions, and how-to programming of all kinds," said Reid. "For 'Sweetie-licious' to rise above and cut through all that clutter is a true honor."
WKAR-TV produces seven local programs in the areas of music, news, sports and science, as well as special coverage for events like the annual State of the State address and Lansing's Silver Bells in the City. Original specials and independent productions have also become a regular part of the local programming line-up with a focus on lifestyles and topics of interest to the mid-Michigan community. Many productions leverage the skills and talents of MSU students who work alongside staff to create professional, high-quality features.
Support for local programming is made possible from station members and partners. To watch WKAR, learn more about local programming, or to find out more about becoming a station member or donor, visit wkar.org.