Office of Public Affairs
(315) 341-2265
Aug. 15, 2001
CONTACT: Chris Ulanowski, 312-3232
OSWEGO -- The WRVO Stations recently earned a national journalism award for documenting a controversy involving issues of church and state.
The regional National Public Radio affiliate, headquartered on the SUNY Oswego campus, picked up a first-place honor at the Public Radio News Directors International (PRNDI) Awards in the Interview/Call-In Program category for "Talk of the Region: Religious Bricks."
The show looked at the controversy raised when the Mexico School District decided to remove bricks with messages of a religious nature that had been sold and installed as part of a fund-raiser.
"The program examined the conflict of the separation of church and state," said WRVO News Director Chris Ulanowski, who also hosted the program. "It examines the question of whether a school could allow bricks of a religious nature on the school grounds."
Guests included a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union, arguing in favor of the separation of church and state, and a member of the Rutherford Institute, a group addressing issues of concern for conservatives that represented area religious leaders who wanted the bricks to stay.
People from across Central New York called in questions and opinions during the show, which aired on April 21, 2000.
"This program features kind, intelligent discussion of a controversial issue in a way that is fair and promotes better understanding," according to judging comments. "The host is logical, and always in control, excellently playing the role of gatekeeper on a cutting-edge issue. This is a very listenable show, and likely serves its listeners very well."
WRVO's award came in a class of stations that had three or more employees in their news department. "We were competing against some major market public radio stations," Ulanowski said. In all, 77 awards were handed out at the PRNDI event in San Diego.
A few months ago, WRVO earned six awards, including two first-place prizes, at the 2000 New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Banquet.
The WRVO Family of Stations includes WRVO 89.9 in Oswego, WRVJ 91.7 in Watertown, WRVN 91.9 in Utica, WRVD 90.3 in Syracuse, and WSUC 90.5 in Cortland. Centered in SUNY Oswego's Lanigan Hall, the station broadcasts on the Internet through its Web site,
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