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Winners announced for 2021 Virginia AP Broadcasters Awards

March 26, 2022 GMT

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) — Winners of the 2021 Virginias Associated Press Broadcasters Awards were announced Saturday at the Awards Banquet and Annual Membership Meeting at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Thirty-seven news organizations in Virginia and West Virginia submitted 587 entries in the contest, which featured news and sports stories from 2021.

Dave Dierks, meteorologist at WCYB-TV, was honored with The Associated Press Robert Gallimore Distinguished Service Award. The Iowa native has been with the Bristol, Virginia, station for 35 years.

The West Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Brenda Danehart, news director at WRTF-TV in Wheeling, West Virginia. She began at the Nexstar station in 1981, first as a reporter and anchor before serving as news director, a position which she has held for the past 20 years.

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The VAPB also awarded two $2,000 scholarships to students majoring in media and broadcast journalism: Jhanvee Patel of West Virginia University and Shelby Walker of James Madison University.

The VAPB is an independent association comprised of local members of The Associated Press, a not-for-profit news cooperative that represents thousands of newspapers and broadcast stations across the United States.

Winners in the 2021 Virginias AP Broadcasters Contest:

COMBINED DIVISION (TV/RADIO):

Best Podcast-Audio: First, Leanna Scachetti and Ben Riquelmy, WDBJ-TV, Roanoke, VA, “Bridging the Great Health Divide: Strokes”; Second, Moriah Sprinkel, Daniel Gray and Cassidy Burton, WQLU-FM, Lynchburg, VA, “School Survival Podcast.”

TVI/LARGE MARKET:

Best Spot News: First, Jon Burkett, Sarah Danial and Ian Ramprashad, WTVR-TV, Richmond, VA, “Bullets Fly on Belt Atlantic: Community Mourns”; Second, Kelsey Souto, WSAZ-TV, Charleston/Huntington, WV, “Flood Damage.”

Best Continuing News: First, Cynthia Beasley, Tony Day and Dominick Sarazen, WSET-TV, Lynchburg, VA, “Liberty University Sexual Assault Allegations”; Second, Jessica Larche, Kelly Dietz and Erin Miller, WTKR-TV/WGNT-TV, Norfolk, VA, “Norfolk Doctor’s Ties to Ivermectin Controversy.”

Outstanding Sports Operation of the Virginias: First, Lane Casadonte and Sean Robertson, WTVR-TV, Richmond, VA; Second, John Appicello, Eric Johnson and Brooke Leonard, WSLS-TV, Roanoke, VA.

Best Documentary or In-Depth: First, Jason Marks, Kevin Romm and Adrienne Mayfield, WAVY-TV, Hampton Roads, VA, “The Patients vs. Perwaiz”; Second, Janet Roach and Adrian Guerra, WVEC-TV, Norfolk, VA, “Donovon.”

Best Light Feature: First, Tom Schaad and Jack Noonan, WAVY-TV, Hampton Roads, VA, “Hampton’s Little England Chapel”; Second, Brad Wilson and Greg McQuade, WTVR-TV, Richmond, VA, “Tommie’s Trash Crusade: If I Don’t do It, I’d Be in a Wheelchair.”

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Best Serious Feature: First, Alicia Cherem, WVEC-TV, Norfolk, VA, “Oyster Reef Memorial”; Second, Brendan Tierney, WSAZ-TV, Charleston/Huntington, WV, “First to Worst.”

Best Sports Feature: First, Alex Littlehales, WVEC-TV, Norfolk, VA, “Triathlete Breaking Barriers”; Second, Greg Moore and Eric Johnson, WSLS-TV, Roanoke, VA, “More Than a Touchdown.”

Best MMJ/One-Person Band Reporter: First, Ashley Boles, WDBJ-TV, Roanoke, VA; Second, A.J. Nwoko, WWBT-TV, Richmond, VA.

Best Reporter: First, Karina Bolster, WWBT-TV, Richmond, VA; Second, Ben Dennis, WRIC-TV, Richmond, VA.

Best Specialty Reporting: First, Chris Michaels and Chase Parker, WSLS-TV, Roanoke, VA, “Tasty Tuesday”; Second, Jackie DeFusco, WRIC-TV, Richmond, VA.

Best Spot News Photography: First, Malcolm Key, WTVR-TV, Richmond, VA, “God Is Gonna Give Me Something Better”; Second, Janelle Pierangelino, WTVR-TV, Richmond, VA, “We Could See the Smoke.”

Best Feature Photography: First, Curtis Akers and Greg McQuade, WTVR-TV, Richmond, VA, “Tomb of the Unknown Turns 100: The Mission Is Going to Embrace You for Life”; Second, Jack Noonan, Kevin Romm and Jason Marks, WAVY-TV, Hampton Roads, VA, “The Show Must Go On.”

Best Multi-Platform Story: First, Leanna Scachetti and Ben Riquelmy, WDBJ-TV, Roanoke, VA, “The Epidemic Inside the Pandemic: How COVID-19 Affected the Opioid Crisis”; Second, WRIC-TV, Richmond, VA, “Lee Monument Comes Down.”

Best Investigative Reporting: First, Kelly Avellino and AJ Nwoko, WWBT-TV, Richmond, VA, “Finding Brittany Renee Williams”; Second, Jenna Zibton, Sarah Tabor and Chase Parker, WSLS-TV, Roanoke, VA, “Nursing Home Investigation.”

Best Website: First, WTVR-TV, Richmond, VA; Second, WSLS-TV, Roanoke, VA.

Best News Promo: First, David Stotts and Rob Byrne, WTVR-TV, Richmond, VA, “Cumberland Hospital 911″; Second, Brandy Brown, WTVR-TV, Richmond, VA, “9/11 Heroes 20 Years Later.”

Best Station Promo: First, David Stotts, Brandy Brown and Victoria Bostic, WTVR-TV, Richmond, VA, “Looking Back and Moving Forward”; Second, Terrell Thompson, Mason Adams and Rob Edmonds, WWBT-TV, Richmond, VA, “Get Your Forecast.”

Best Newscast: First, WRIC-TV, Richmond, VA, “Lee Monument Comes Down”; Second, Chelsea Armstrong, WSAZ-TV, Charleston/Huntington, WV.

Best Weathercast: First, Zach Daniel, Mike Stone and Curtis Akers, WTVR-TV, Richmond, VA, “February Ice Storm”; Second, Spencer Adkins, Bryan Hughes and Joe Fitzwater, WOWK-TV, Charleston, WV, “Ice Storm.”

Best Weathercaster: First, Spencer Adkins, WOWK-TV, Charleston, WV; Second, Andy Chilian, WSAZ-TV, Charleston/Huntington, WV.

Best TV News Anchor: First, Danner Evans, WSET-TV, Lynchburg, VA; Second, Dan Kennedy, WVEC-TV, Norfolk, VA.

Best TV Sports Anchor: First, Nathan Epstein, WAVY-TV, Hampton Roads, VA; Second, Keith Morehouse, WSAZ-TV, Charleston/Huntington, WV.

Best Producer: First, Sarah Callaway, WVEC-TV, Norfolk, VA; Second, Samantha Maneri, WWBT-TV, Richmond, VA.

Best Team News Coverage: First, Tiaira Shoultz, WVEC-TV, Norfolk, VA, “Virginia Beach Oceanfront Shooting”; Second, Brendan King and Ian Ramprashad, WTVR-TV, Richmond, VA, “Robert E. Lee Statue Taken Down.”

Best Old Dominion Heritage: First, Greg McQuade and Brad Wilson, WTVR-TV, Richmond, VA, “Finding Her Roots at Hickory Hill”; Second, WRIC-TV, Richmond, VA, “Honoring Black History.”

Best Mountain State Heritage: First, Brad Rice, WCHS-TV, Charleston, WV, “Traveling West Virginia”; Second, Rob Macko and Elbert Mosley, WOWK-TV, Charleston, WV, “Kimball War Memorial.”

Douglas Southall Freeman Award: First, Jessica Larche, Kelly Dietz and Gerardo Lopez, WTKR-TV/WGNT-TV, Norfolk, VA, “Have You Seen Me? Addressing Disparities in Missing People of Color Cases”; Second, WCHS-TV, Charleston, WV, “Solutions for an Addicted Appalachia.”

Outstanding News Operation of the Virginias: First, Stephen Hayes, Sheryl Barnhouse and David Stotts, WTVR-TV, Richmond, VA; Second, WCHS-TV, Charleston, WV.

TVII/SMALL MARKET:

Best Spot News: First, CJ Paschall and Tony Franklin, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA, “Charlottesville Removes Its Confederate Statues”; Second, WCYB-TV, Bristol, VA, “Hexpol Fire.”

Best Continuing News: First, Isabel Cleary, Riley Wyant and Madison McNamee, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA, “Central Virginia Mail Delivery Issues”; Second, WCYB-TV, Bristol, VA, “Jason Shay Leaves ETSU.”

Outstanding Sports Operation of the Virginias: First, WBOY-TV, Clarksburg, WV; Second, Preston Willett and Danielle Stein, WCAV-TV, Charlottesville, VA.

Best Documentary or In-Depth: First, Kristen Quon and Troy Prater, WCYB-TV, Bristol, VA, “Cry for Help: The Hurley Floods”; Second, Larry Marrs and Riley Phillips, WVNS-TV, Beckley-Bluefield-Lewisburg, WV, “20th Anniversary of Wyoming County Flood.”

Best Light Feature: First, Elizabeth Holmes and Patrick Huddleston, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA, “Elementary Student Helps Neighborhood, One Trash Collection at a Time”; Second, Ian Roth, WDTV-TV, Bridgeport, WV, “Local WWII Veteran Celebrates 100th Birthday.”

Best Serious Feature: First, Kristen Quon, WCYB-TV, Bristol, VA, “Convicted”; Second, Max Marcilla, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA, “Remains of Va. Korean War Veteran Found After 70 Years.”

Best Sports Feature: First, Larry Marrs, WVNS-TV, Beckley-Bluefield-Lewisburg, WV, “A-Train Boxing”; Second, T.J. Eck, WHSV-TV, Harrisonburg, VA, “The T.R. Williams Story.”

Best MMJ/One-Person Band Reporter: First, Elizabeth Holmes, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA, “Crozet Church Uses Brewery to Hold Mass”; Second, Annie Moore, WVVA-TV, Bluefield, WV, “Sugar Grove.”

Best Reporter: First, Kristen Quon, WCYB-TV, Bristol, VA; Second, Laura Bowen, WTAP-TV, Parkersburg, WV, “Water Bill.”

Best Specialty Reporting: First, Heather Williams, WCYB-TV, Bristol, VA, “Motorsports”; Second, Max Marcilla, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA, “Charlottesville City Council.”

Best Feature Photography: First, Rachel Hirschheimer, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA, “Guitars for Veterans”; Second, Tim Davis, WCYB-TV, Bristol, VA, “Pepin’s Pet Projects.”

Best Multi-Platform Story: First, Jamie Green, WBOY-TV, Clarksburg, WV, “The House That Nikki Built”; Second, Riley Wyant and John Early, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA, “Governor Northam’s COVID-19 Briefing.”

Best Investigative Reporting: First, Isabel Cleary, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA, “ACRJ’s Home Incarceration Program”; Second, Rachel Hirschheimer, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA, “Organizations Working to End Child Trafficking.”

Best Website: First, John Lynch, WTRF-TV, Wheeling, WV; Second, Caitlin Piemme and WHSV Staff, WHSV-TV, Harrisonburg, VA.

Best News Promo: First, Taylor Thomas, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA, “Election Pop”; Second, David Mott, WVNS-TV, Beckley-Bluefield-Lewisburg, WV, “Veterans Voices: Honoring Those Who Served.”

Best Station Promo: First, David Mott, WVNS-TV, Beckley-Bluefield-Lewisburg, WV, “Freedom Isn’t Free”; Second, David Mott, WVNS-TV, Beckley-Bluefield-Lewisburg, WV, “Thank a Veteran.”

Best Newscast: First, Steve Rappaport, Kasey Hott and Kristen Cauley, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA; Second, WTOV-TV, Wheeling, WV.

Best Weathercast: First, WVNS-TV, Beckley-Bluefield-Lewisburg, WV, “Ice Storm”; Second, Travis Koshko, AJ Willy and Franklin Spain, WCAV-TV, Charlottesville, VA, “Severe Weather.”

Best Weathercaster: First, Catherine Maxwell, WVVA-TV, Bluefield, WV; Second, Jeff Oechslein, WTOV-TV, Wheeling, WV.

Best TV News Anchor: First, Kasey Hott, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA; Second, PJ Johnson, WCYB-TV, Bristol, VA.

Best TV Sports Anchor: First, Mike Shiers, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA; Second, Nick Farrell, WBOY-TV, Clarksburg, WV.

Best Producer: First, Kristen Cauley, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA; Second, Phyllis Smith, WTAP-TV, Parkersburg, WV.

Best Team News Coverage: First, WCYB-TV, Bristol, VA, “Remembering Officer Chandler”; Second, Todd Baucher and Zach Shrivers, WTAP-TV, Parkersburg, WV, “Stephens Retirement.”

Best Old Dominion Heritage: First, Simone McKenny, WHSV-TV, Harrisonburg, VA, “The Journey”; Second, Heather Williams, WCYB-TV, Bristol, VA, “Marking Wise County’s Dark History.”

Best Mountain State Heritage: First, WTRF-TV, Wheeling, WV, “Veterans Voices”; Second, David Mott, WVNS-TV, Beckley-Bluefield-Lewisburg, WV, “Veterans Voices.”

Douglas Southall Freeman Award: First, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA, “Confederate Statue Removal Process”; Second, WVNS-TV, Beckley-Bluefield-Lewisburg, WV, “Looking Back, Moving Forward, The 1,000 Year Flood.”

Outstanding News Operation of the Virginias: First, WVIR-TV, Charlottesville, VA; Second, WHSV-TV, Harrisonburg, VA.

RADIO I/METRO:

Best Spot News: First, Sandy Hausman, WVTF-FM, Roanoke, VA, “Charlottesville Monuments Removed”; Second, Ian Stewart, WCVE-FM/VPM, Richmond, VA, “Poll Workers Prepare for Another Pandemic Election Day.”

Best Continuing News: First, Ben Paviour and Whittney Evans, WCVE-FM/VPM, Richmond, VA, “Marijuana Legalization in Virginia”; Second, Liz McCormick, WVPB-FM, Charleston, WV, “Closing the COVID-19 Gap.”

Outstanding Sports Operation of the Virginias: First, Randy Leftwich, Greg Roberts and Leonard Wheeler, WFIR-AM/FM, Roanoke, VA; Second, Andrew Rogers, WMUL-FM, Huntington, WV.

Best Documentary or In-Depth: First, Trey Kay and Ryan Katz, WVPB-FM, Charleston, WV, “Those Who Lack Good Oral Health Face Far More Than a Toothless Hillbilly Stereotype”; Second, Megan Pauley, Sara McCloskey and Crixell Matthews, WCVE-FM/VPM, Richmond, VA, “Dreams Deferred: How an Overlooked Type of School Debt Is Affecting Thousands of Students in Virginia.”

Best Light Feature: First, Zack Harold, WVPB-FM, Charleston, WV, “Friends and Family Remember Russell Yann, Iconic Owner of Fairmont Hotdog Hotspot”; Second, Jordan Christie, WHRO-FM, Norfolk, VA, “The Legacy of Grace Sherwood, the Alleged ‘Witch of Pungo’.”

Best Serious Feature: First, Jessica Lilly, WVPB-FM, Charleston, WV, “Woman Underground -- How One W.Va. Miner Found Family and Fatherly Connection in Coal”; Second, Sam Turken, WHRO-FM, Norfolk, VA, “It’s Coming Quicker Than We Realize: Reckoning With a Future of More Flooding.”

Best Sports Feature: First, Ian Stewart, WCVE-FM/VPM, Richmond, VA, “One Year In, Black Girls Hike RVA Still Breaking Stereotypes”; Second, Jessica Lilly, WVPB-FM, Charleston, WV, “Fayetteville Native Takes 7th in Paralympics 100-Meters.”

Best Sports Play-by-Play: First, Joshua Lipowski, WQLU-FM, Lynchburg, VA, “LCA’s State Semi Final Football”; Second, Andrew Rogers and Nick Verzolini, WMUL-FM, Huntington, WV, “Marshall Men’s Basketball v. North Texas.”

Best Reporter: First, Jessica Lilly, WVPB-FM, Charleston, WV; Second, June Leffler, WVPB-FM, Charleston, WV.

Best QA (One-on-One) Interview: First, Gene Marrano, WFIR-AM/FM, Roanoke, VA, “Dopesick-Hulu Interview”; Second, Liz McCormick, WVPB-FM, Charleston, WV, “Returning Home: Berkeley County Special Education Teacher Lifts up Students With Disabilities.”

Best Specialty Reporting: First, Sam Turken, WHRO-FM, Norfolk, VA, “Sea Level Rise and Environmental Coverage”; Second, Ryan Murphy, WHRO-FM, Norfolk, VA, “Race in Hampton Roads.”

Best Investigative Reporting: First, Paul Bibeau, WHRO-FM, Norfolk, VA, “More Than 400 Law Enforcement Calls Came From a Gloucester Assisted Living Facility. Will It Stay Open?”; Second, Ben Paviour, WCVE-FM/VPM, Richmond, VA, “A Historically Black Town Stood in the Way of a Pipeline so Developers Claimed It Was Mostly White.”

Best Website: First, WVPB-FM, Charleston, WV.

Best Station Promo: First, Zane Bowles, WMUL-FM, Huntington, WV, “Robot Station”; Second, Zane Bowles, WMUL-FM, Huntington, WV, “Noisy Neighbors.”

Best Newscast: First, Ian Price, WFIR-AM/FM, Roanoke, VA; Second, Jeff Bossert, WVTF-FM, Roanoke, VA.

Best Radio News Anchor: First, Teresa Wills, WVPB-FM, Charleston, WV; Second, Jeff Stapleton, WRVA-AM, Richmond, VA.

Best Old Dominion Heritage: First, Jahd Khalil, WVTF-FM, Roanoke, VA, “The Appalachian Trail’s COVID-19 Rebound.”

Best Mountain State Heritage: First, Zack Harold, WVPB-FM, Charleston, WV, “Retired Miner Makes Traditional Cream Pull Candy”; Second, Trey Kay and Brad Stratton, WVPB-FM, Charleston, WV, “Us and Them: Blair Mountain.”

Douglas Southall Freeman Award: First, William Fralin, Rick Mattioni and Sean Tubbs, WVTF-FM, Roanoke, VA, “Civil Discussion Series.”

Outstanding News Operation of the Virginias: First, WVPB-FM, Charleston, WV; Second, WVTF-FM, Roanoke, VA.

RADIO II/NON-METRO:

Best Spot News: First, Dori Zook, WINA-AM/FM, Charlottesville, VA, “Another Charlottesville City Manager Up and Quits”; Second, Jack Garrett, WAKG-FM, Danville, VA, “Shooting on Rocklawn Avenue.”

Best Continuing News: First, Jack Garrett, WBTM-AM, Danville, VA, “Ingram Censure and Administrator Firing”; Second, Dori Zook and Tyler Hammel, WINA-AM/FM, Charlottesville, VA, “Sines vs. Kessler Trial.”

Outstanding Sports Operation of the Virginias: First, Austin Bunn, Brandon Burnett and Josh Lineberry, WBTM-AM, Danville, VA; Second, Luke Neer, Adam Hawes and Channing Poole, WINA-AM/FM, Charlottesville, VA.

Best Light Feature: First, Josh Lineberry, WAKG-FM, Danville, VA, “Rotary Donates $50,000 for Riverfront Park.”

Best Serious Feature: First, Jack Garrett, WBTM-AM, Danville, VA, “Governors Announcement at Industrial Park”; Second, Michael Guthrie, WINA-AM/FM, Charlottesville, VA, “Burley School Field Restoration Project - not Just a Field, but a Neighborhood.”

Best Sports Feature: First, Barry Richmond, WAKG-FM, Danville, VA, “NASCAR Noise”; Second, Josh Lineberry, Barry Richmond and David Hutcheson, WAKG-FM, Danville, VA, “Behind the Wall Pre Race Show.”

Best Sports Play-by-Play: First, Channing Poole, WINA-AM/FM, Charlottesville, VA, “Baseball Is Berry Berry Good to UVa”; Second, Austin Bunn, WBTM-AM, Danville, VA, “GW Football.”

Best Reporter: First, Josh Lineberry, WAKG-FM, Danville, VA.

Best QA (One-on-One) Interview: First, Michael Guthrie, WINA-AM/FM, Charlottesville, VA, “How the Economy Will Impact the Housing Market”; Second, Josh Lineberry, WBTM-AM, Danville, VA, “Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce.”

Best Specialty Reporting: First, Michael Guthrie, WINA-AM/FM, Charlottesville, VA, “Where’s the Real Estate Market Heading Approaching 2022.”

Best Multi-Platform Story: First, Jack Garrett, WBTM-AM, Danville, VA, “Caesar’s Expands Plans for Danville Casino.”

Best Website: First, Ginyah Woodson, WAKG-FM, Danville, VA; Second, Ginyah Woodson, WBTM-AM, Danville, VA.

Best Newscast: First, Jack Garrett, WBTM-AM, Danville, VA; Second, Dori Zook, WINA-AM/FM, Charlottesville, VA, “Anywhere but the ER for COVID-19 Testing.”

Best Radio News Anchor: First, Dori Zook, WINA-AM/FM, Charlottesville, VA, “Hospitals and Omicron”; Second, Jack Garrett, WAKG-FM, Danville, VA.

Best Radio Sports Anchor: First, Adam Hawes, WINA-AM/FM, Charlottesville, VA, “Orange You Glad the Hoos Won”; Second, Josh Lineberry, WBTM-AM, Danville, VA.

Best Old Dominion Heritage: First, Josh Lineberry, WBTM-AM, Danville, VA, “Local Hero Salute - Warrick Scott.”

Outstanding News Operation of the Virginias: First, Jay Hart, Dori Zook and Rob Graham, WINA-AM/FM, Charlottesville, VA; Second, Jack Garrett and Josh Lineberry, WBTM-AM, Danville, VA.