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WUTC FM 88.1, the National Public Radio affiliate licensed to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, has been awarded a 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for feature reporting.
WUTC’s winning entry, produced by WUTC news director Michael Edward Miller, was #NoogaStrong: New 'Chattanooga Rain' Song Honors Staff Sgt. Wyatt, Who Was One of the Fallen Five. The award is bestowed by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA).
“We at WUTC are honored to have received the Murrow award for Chattanooga Rain,” Miller said. “That piece and the others in the Operation Song radio documentary that WUTC produced represent the true spirit of community radio: that radio has the power to draw us together and share a common experience.”
WUTC’s entry was in the in the Region 8 Small Market Radio category, which includes radio stations in Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
The Edward R. Murrow awards recognize the best electronic journalism produced by radio, television and digital news organizations around the world.
“To be selected by the RTNDA, which dedicates itself to maintenance of journalistic ethics and the preservation of the free speech rights of broadcast journalists, is an amazing honor,” Miller said.
"Remarkable journalism is being done every day in newsrooms across this country," said RTDNA Chair Vincent Duffy in announcing the 2017 awards. "We're proud to recognize the most outstanding ways journalists are keeping the public informed, holding the powerful accountable and enhancing the quality of life in their communities."
"Those who want proof of the important role journalists play in our society need only look at the work we highlight with the Edward R. Murrow Awards," added RTDNA Executive Director Mike Cavender. "This is where real news happens."
The award marks the second time that WUTC has been honored by the prestigious journalism association. WUTC previously received an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2013 in the audio news documentary category for Just Plumb Gone: A Year After the Tornado in Apison, Tenn.
The Chattanooga Rain feature grew out of WUTC’s association with Operation Song, a Nashville-based nonprofit established in 2012 that uses songwriting as therapy to empower veterans, active-duty military and their families to share their stories musically by pairing professional songwriters with active and veteran military personnel and their loved ones.
The music therapy outreach program began working with veterans in the studios of WUTC—the public radio station on the University of Tennessee Chattanooga campus—early in 2016.
At the invitation of American Forces Network (AFN) radio, WUTC produced a 2016 Memorial Day program featuring segments from Operation Song. The special aired on Memorial Day over AFN to active-duty military and their families worldwide and can be heard online at WUTC.org. It marked the first international broadcast of a WUTC-produced radio documentary.
The Radio Television Digital News Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. “Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Murrow set as a standard for the profession of electronic journalism,” stated the RTDNA in making the announcement of the winners.
This year, RTDNA awarded 751 regional Edward R. Murrow Awards in 16 categories, including Overall Excellence, Breaking News, Investigative Reporting, and Excellence in Innovation. RTDNA received nearly 4,300 entries during the 2017 awards season.
Regional recipients of the Murrow awards automatically advance to the national Edward R. Murrow Awards competition, which will be judged in May. National awards, including those for network news organizations, large digital news organizations and for students, will be announced in June. The national awards are presented at the RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala at Gotham Hall in New York City on October 9.