December 14, 2020

This Monday, the Chicago/Midwest Board of Governors has its last meeting of the calendar year. It’s a been a different year, to say the least. Our chapter’s board has met virtually since March and has managed business in this way for the remainder of the year, going through a change of presidents within the chapter and the planning of a unique virtual ceremony during that time.

Not surprisingly, due to pandemic’s effect on the economy, entries for this year’s NATAS Chicago/Midwest Emmy® Awards were down compared to last year.

But despite this real challenge, the 62nd Annual Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards was a real success, with unprecedented involvement from all of our chapters. I want to especially thank our presenters at the Emmy Awards, who featured their respective home markets throughout the show.

Those presenters should definitely be mentioned here: Tanja Babich (WLS), Ray Cortopassi (WGN); Kristin Crowley (WREX); Leon Hendricks (WEEK); Ryan Jenkins (WTMJ); Jesse Kirsch (WLS); Wayne Larrivee (Green Bay Packers Radio Network); Erika Maldonado (WGBO); Sandy Maxx (Milwaukee PBS); Emily Ogden (WEEK); Jessica Porter (WKOW); Vahid Sadrzadeh (WBND) and Lexi Sutter (WMAQ).

Also, many thanks to the national personalities who contributed to the virtual broadcast with their “shout-outs” to our chapter, including CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell; NBC White House correspondent Peter Alexander; “Good Morning America” meteorologist Ginger Zee (ABC); Jerry Springer and “Chicago Fire” actor LaRoyce Hawkins.

Our Emmy Production committee did yeoman’s work throughout the planning of this event. I’d like to commend our committee chairman, John Schippman, for his great coordination of the event, which began in the summer as we began our initial plan of contacting presenters. Also doing invaluable work on the Emmy Production committee were board members Diana Borri, Chris Cangilla, Jessie Garcia, Pam Grimes, Justin Kulovsek, Alefiyah Master and, of course, the Executive Director of the NATAS Chicago/Midwest chapter, Rebekah Cowing.

Pat McGann

And of course, Pat McGann was brilliant as host. Pat has hosted our event before, but this was a unique challenge for him due to its virtual nature. But Pat had some outstanding ideas to exploit the virtual nature of the show —including a Zoom call with Chicago TV personalities — and he executed those ideas with John Schippman and his crew beautifully.

Finally, I wanted to thank the more than 600 peer judges from the following chapters who judge our chapter’s 900 entries for the 2019-2020 awards’ year: Boston/New England (nine MA, CT, RI, ME, NH, VT markets); Heartland (12 CO, KS, NE, OK markets); Lower Great Lakes (eight OH, IN, PA); Lone Star (19 TX markets); Mid-Atlantic (nine PA, NJ markets); Mid-South (twelve TN, NC, AL markets); New York (eight NY, NJ, CT markets); San Francisco/Northern California (ten CA, HI, NV markets) and Suncoat (15 FL, LA, AL, PR markets).

As you can see, it takes hundreds of people to stage this annual event. Let’s hope that sometime in late 2021 we will be able to gather again in person to celebrate your achievements.

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While we haven’t made a determination on -how we will present the 2021 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards, this decision has already been made with regards to the national Emmy events.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced earlier this month that all national award ceremonies will be held virtually in 2021. That includes the National Sports, Daytime, News & Documentary and Technology & Engineering Awards events.

Adam Sharp

NATAS President & CEO Adam Sharp said that there was potential to return to live events later in 2021, but that it was not feasible to stage all national events during the latter third of the year.

“The current timetables articulated by manufacturers project mass availability of vaccinations for the entire U.S. population by mid-summer 2021, potentially permitting a return to more traditional in-person ceremonies later in the fall,” Sharp said in an email to board presidents earlier this month. “However, we have determined that delaying our 2021 events to possibly allow for a compressed calendar of in-person Emmy® ceremonies late in the year would result in unacceptable delays to our awards cycle for 2022.”

Sharp also said that NATAS is preparing to go back to in-person events in 2022.Three honorees from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame were honored in a recent half-hour program produced by the WBA. The show, seen here, showcases the contributions of three past Hall of Fame inductees: Don Seehafer (inducted in 2002), Rosa Bartell Evans (inducted in 1997), and Bob Uecker (inducted in 1994).

2013 scholarship recipients.Members: Here’s your “before-the-end-of the-year” reminder to support the NATAS Foundation and the Trustees Scholarship with your tax-deductible contribution. The money goes to the foundation, which provides five national scholarships for students aspiring to careers in television.

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