Goshen College broadcasting students Riley Friesner and Kadie Spoor won awards from the Broadcasting Education Association’s 2020 Festival of Media Arts, earning them a spot at an awards ceremony and conference in Las Vegas in April. 

Friesner, a senior, won first place for best on-air personality and an award of excellence in the PSA/promotional/commercial category. Spoor, a junior, received an award of excellence in the best on-air personality category and is this year’s recipient of the $3,000 BEA Abe Voren Scholarship Award.

Being recognized with a national BEA award takes “a lot of hard work, and no one works harder than those two,” said Jason Samuel, general manager of Goshen College’s radio station, WGCS 91.1 FM. Friesner and Spoor have part-time radio jobs in the South Bend radio market, and both plan to pursue radio after college. 

Friesner, who will graduate with a broadcasting major and music for social change minor in April, was also the first place winner for best on-air personality last year and was the recipient of another award the year before. 

Best on-air personality is “like the holy grail for college DJs,” Samuel said. “The competition is fierce.” He added that this year is the seventh time a GC student has won that award. 

Spoor, who received an award of excellence for best on-air personality, won the same award in the same category last year. She said she was initially disappointed that she didn’t improve over last year, but Samuel told a different story. 

He said it’s not clear whether the top finisher scored a single point or a tenth of a point higher than the other awardees. “At the top, the margins are razor thin,” he said. 

The BEA awards represent only one competition in a series of submission deadlines that begins in late October and ends in early February. In two weeks, the entire Globe Media team will travel to New York City for another awards ceremony. 

The Globe staff spend months preparing their submissions for various competitions, Samuel said, and often work through the night leading up to deadlines.

For the New York competition, Spoor said she was in the radio station from 9:00 p.m. until 8:30 a.m. putting the final touches on her submissions. 

In years past, Goshen College Student Life provided money to cover the flight to Las Vegas for Friesner and Spoor. This year, no financial support is available. 

To help cover costs, Friesner said she applied for a multimedia journalist position with the BEA. If accepted, she would receive some compensation for travel and housing at the Las Vegas festival. 

Spoor and Friesner said hands-on and peer-to-peer learning in the Globe Media team have helped them hone their craft. 

At WGCS, “I’m on air five days a week,” Friesner said. “I would never have that opportunity at a larger school like Ball State.”

Samuel also credited the entire globe team with the recent and upcoming awards. He said he doesn’t know that Friesner and Spoor “could be the best DJs in the country if they didn’t have not just the station and the faculty but also the other staff members.” 

“In New York, we’re up for best station in the nation, again,” he added. That’s not just because of a few people, he said, but because everyone plays an important role at the station.