By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The Heartland Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recently announced the 2013 winners at its annual ceremony. OETA-The Oklahoma Network received four of the night’s coveted Emmy Awards.
OETA won Emmy Awards for Community Service (Lessons from the Dust Bowl), Informational Program (Stateline) and two nods for Gallery (Cultural Feature and Informational Feature).
The Community Service Emmy Award recognized the Oklahoma Network’s yearlong project inspired by Ken Burns’ film The Dust Bowl. OETA worked in partnership with state conservation groups including the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and the USDA-NRCS.
Oklahoma News Report host, OETA Deputy Director and Managing Editor Dick Pryor said, “OETA won Emmy awards from the Heartland Regional chapter in 4 categories, including the prestigious Community Service Emmy for our work in conjunction with Ken Burns’ documentary, The Dust Bowl. We received 11 total nominations.”
OETA Deputy Director of Network News and Public Affairs Bill Perry, a Regional Vice President for the Heartland Chapter, helped organize the ceremony.
Perry said, “Probably the most challenging Emmy to win was for Community Service. OETA’s entry illustrated the dedicated ‘follow though’ we gave viewers when airing the wonderful nationally broadcast ‘Dust Bowl’ film by Ken Burns.
“Rather than just let viewers see what happened in history, OETA took to the road in many communities, discussing contemporary soil and water conservation techniques that can be used to prevent this disaster from ever happening again.”
The statewide initiative used screenings of the film across the state to provide critical conservation information and resources designed to help communities prevent and combat drought.
Perry continued, “Utilizing expert support from the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, OETA project manager Ashley Barcum staged successful town hall meetings throughout the state that provided educational value to those who needed it in their own backyards. The Oklahoma News Report also produced several stories that addressed specific conservation issues in various parts of Oklahoma.”
Stateline, OETA’s documentary series focusing on the issues and concerns of all Oklahomans, won for its “Power to the People” episode that revealed how the state’s electric companies restore power after violent storms.
“The Emmy awarded to ‘Stateline: Power To The People’ also validated OETA’s efforts to educate Oklahomans,” Perry said. “This program, which also won first place in three other broadcast contests, showed in intricate detail the heroic effort it takes to rapidly restore electricity to areas hit by storms.
“When the lights go out, customers call the company, but it’s the crews who immediately plunge into the brutal aftermath to put the puzzle back together. This was their story, and it gave credit where lots of credit was due.”
OETA’s arts and culture series Gallery won for “Inclusion in Art,” a cultural feature about African American artist Nathan Lee who runs an outreach program for minority artists in Oklahoma City.
Perry said, “This piece explored the great strides made in giving opportunities to minority artists in Oklahoma.”
The series also won for “March to the Stadium,” a behind-the-scenes look at the marching bands of the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.
“This piece gave viewers a first-hand look at what it is like to practice and perform in a huge University level marching band,” Perry said.
Perry noted that special tiny HD cameras were imbedded in the bands during their performances, showing a perspective never seen previously except by band members themselves.
Oklahoma’s only statewide public television network, OETA exists to serve the public interest and enrich the lives of all Oklahomans by focusing the power of media to advance education, culture and citizenship.
Perry said, “OETA is extremely proud of the four wins at the annual Heartland Chapter Emmy Awards held Saturday July 13 at the Nigh Center at UCO.
“The competitive arena is full of much larger stations, particularly those in Denver, which have more money, larger staffs, and often, more sophisticated equipment. So it’s always gratifying to bring home the gold when they are your competition.”
All of the winning programs can viewed at www.oeta.tv.