Lyons Township High School’s radio station, WLTL 88.1FM, took the “Best Radio Station in the Nation” at the 10th annual John Drury Awards on Saturday, held at North Central College in Naperville.
Lions students garnered a wealth of first-, second- and third-place prizes across the board, enough to triumph over other participating schools from as far away as Connecticut and California. (Listen to some of the award-winning pieces here.)
“They just really worked really hard putting together the best pieces that they could, asking for advice, redoing them, revising them every step along the way to just have the best work that they could have out there,” said WLTL station advisor Chris Thomas. “I think the awards speak for themselves on how the work turned out.”
The 2012 victory is WLTL’s fifth (previously won in 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2009), and the first after a two-year lull. Thomas said that last year the station was ranked out of the top three and took home relatively few prizes, a bit of a wake-up call.
“They kind of got complacent, almost, just that they’d been winning so much and it was kind of expected we would win again,” Thomas said. “Well, other schools had stepped up their game.”
For the students, falling so far off—“They kind of took that personally.”
The station rededicated itself in several ways, including taking on several new categories. Perhaps most notably, LT swept all three top places in the News Feature category, in which they’d never placed even once before.
“At the end of the day, and I’m very proud to say this, it was their best work that won this award,” Thomas said.
First place awards: Brendan Dzwierzynski (Best Newscast), Ben Kasl (Best News Feature Story and Best Promo), Christine Pond (Best PSA), Karl Laubacer and Evan Boyd (Best Radio Drama—Adaptation).
Second place awards: Camille Suknovich (News Feature Story), Mike Maicke (Sportscast), Jacom Alderman, Sarah Delisi, Brendan Dzwierzynski and Camille Suknovich (PSA), Ben Kasl, Adam Jumpa, Charlie O’Connell, Matt Van De Sompele, Kara Lane, Ryan Foster and Caleb Tackes (Radio Drama—Original)
Third place awards: Brendan Dzwierzynski (Newscast), Karl Laubacher (News Feature Story), Collin Thomas and Joe Rocco (Promo).
According to an LT press release, “The John Drury High School Radio Awards were created to acknowledge excellence in high school radio broadcasting around the nation.” All award-winners are offered a $1,000 scholarship to North Central College.