Student-run KRFH Wins National Award - Humboldt State Now

Student-run KRFH Wins National Award

KRFH-AM, Humboldt State University’s student radio station, has won the annual Best Newscast 2009 Award from College Broadcasters, Inc., Hummelstown, PA, an educational advocate for student broadcasters and collegiate electronic media.

KRFH was one of four finalists nationwide in the Best Newscast category and its five-minute entry minute took top honors in CBI’s National Student Production Award competition. Three Humboldt State seniors, Myles Cochrane, Channing Washington and Elizabeth Westwood, prepared and delivered the newscast. CBI judges said the overall package and presentation impressed them. “A real effort was made to create a newscast that the KRFH audience would want to listen to and it was refreshing to hear a student station that understood and respected its audience,” they said in their citation. “The newscast clearly targets a young audience and the style is very appropriate for [the station’s] core listeners.”

Judging is based on content and community service as well as writing, editing, news judgment and use of audio. CBI represents students in electronic broadcasting nationwide and fosters public dialogue about issues pertaining to student-run media, including legal issues.

The students are enrolled in JMC 333, the Radio News Workshop offered by HSU’s Department of Journalism and Communication. Cochrane anchored and produced the newscast last spring and contributed the main report, an update about Somali piracy in the Gulf of Aden off the Somali coast where civil war rages. “Myles’s story was the centerpiece,” said faculty advisor Zoe Walrond, “a well-produced update on the arrest of a Somali pirate and the possibility he would be tried in the United States. A music bed under his story added tension.”

Walrond said the newscast opened with “jazzy music” that the trio chose as the recognizable news theme for spring semester. Cochrane edited the audio’s pitch to resemble 1930s radio. Elizabeth Westwood read headlines about Iraq, African women on a sex strike to protest their husbands’ aggressive behavior and dogs genetically engineered to glow in the dark. Channing Washington spotlighted a local fishery and wrapped up the newscast with the latest about HSU sports. Each student reported by name and recorded his or her report.

Students produce a newscast Monday through Friday that airs at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. KRFH broadcasts are fed through a carrier current and are aired regularly in the Depot and various campus locations. The station also is heard on and delivery is provided by StreamGuys of Arcata, whose originators are KRFH alums.

All three winners are majoring in journalism with a broadcast news emphasis. Cochrane plans a career focused on creativity whether in radio, television or music. He works the six-to-midnight on-air shift at KSLG, which bills itself Humboldt County’s newest rock station. He is on the air seven nights a week while attending school full time.

Westwood hopes to report on politics and other salient issues for National Public Radio. “She is the KRFH public relations manager this semester and has excelled at promoting KRFH events on campus,” Walrond said. She too attends school full time and works part time.

Washington plans to study sports broadcasting in graduate school and her goal is a slot at a sports network, preferably ESPN.

“As faculty advisor, I’m thrilled their determination and creativity have been recognized at the national level,” Walrond said. “The students in the Radio News Workshop work very hard. It’s not easy to produce a daily five minute newscast with actualities, current national and local headlines and originally-reported stories that affect their core audience, HSU students.”