Radio Show Earns Award
By Bob Beckstead
as appeared in Daily Courier-Observer, Massena, NY July 7, 2007
MASSENA - A local radio show that saluted local veterans last year has garnered the station a coveted New York State Broadcaster Association Award.
The hour long salute by 1050WYBG to veterans, featuring 11 local veterans talking about their military experiences in Korea, War II and Vietnam, was named the best single public affairs program by the association. It aired on Veteran's Day. "I was very overwhelmed. I'm just thrilled to death," Wade said, "the main thing is, we obviously could not have done this without the 11 Veterans who gave of their time. They're the heroes. Without t hem a lot of things wouldn't have been possible. They made the show."
t was quite an honor to receive the award from television personality Barbara Walters during the 46th Annual NY State Broadcasters Association Meeting, according to General Manager, Curran Wade. He said WYBG was one of only 13 radio stations in the state recognized during the awards completion for excellence in broadcasting. There were 500 entries and 84 awards given out in 28 categories - 13 radio ad 15 television.
The salute aired on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month last year. Wade said the idea for the show actually came from Kiwanian Ken Marlow who was selling "hero bouquets." The hero bouquets were started by Kiwanis International. They're red, white and blue silk carnation flowers that are wrapped up in cellophane with stars, and a red, white and blue ribbon.
Marlow had come into the station and asked if they could do a radio spot for hero bouquets. At the same time, he suggested it would be even better if they could get veterans to come down and talk about their experiences.
Massena resident Leo Beaudet had written a book that spotlighted efforts of area veterans and Wade asked Beaudet if they could use his book as a reference to put the show together.
"He was overwhelmed," Wade said. "We called 30-33 veterans and had 11 come down who had served in Korea, World War II and Vietnam. Some still couldn't talk about it."
They were introduced with their names, ribbons and other information and then talked about their experiences for about 3 minutes. One veteran was with General George Patton the day before he was involved in an accident that eventually claimed his life. The veterans included Beaudet, Al Venier, Gerry Benware, Gregg Reid, Sandy Savoca,George Wright, Richard Kirkey, George Curtis, Carlton Shaver,Herb Deshaies and Steve O'Brien. Another veteran served with Merrill's Marauders, the first Ranger outfit. "As they came down, I guess I got more overwhelmed by what they lived through," Wade said.
He had 25 copies of the program burned onto CDs and gave each of the veterans a copy of it. And the show was so well received that he decided to send it in for competition. "I thought, "If people think it's pretty good, maybe it is," he said.
But winning never crossed his mind. "I figured we had as much chance as a snowball in hell," Wade said, noting they were in competition with stations in much larger markets like Watertown and Plattsburgh..