WVIA Named A Finalist For Nine Public Media Awards 

The National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) has announced that WVIA is a finalist for nine Public Media Awards in several different categories. This year is the 55th Annual Public Media Awards. 

The Public Media Awards, presented by NETA, honor their member’s work in the highest caliber community engagement, content, education, and marketing and communications.

WVIA’s works were announced as finalists in the following categories; Education Resources for the Community, Cultural Feature, Annual Report, Integrated Marketing Campaign, Promotion, Social Media, and Special Events. 

A standout production that was named as a finalist in multiple different categories is WVIA’s original documentary ROAR: The Story of the Southern Columbia Football Tigers. ROAR was released on May 12, 2023, after months of building anticipation and awareness through various promotions, culminating in a community pep rally held at Southern Columbia High School with a special showing of the film the day before the official public release on May 11th. 

“ROAR became something more than a football documentary to me. I got swept up in the drama of the season and the emotions of the players while capturing this incredible story,” said filmmaker Alexander Monelli. “It’s awesome to not only see the film recognized nationally by NETA, but all of the marketing and promotional efforts as well. So many people at WVIA touched this project and I think we all produced something special that I’ll never forget.”

WVIA’s Mind Over Matter, Season 2, a mental health initiative presented in conjunction with Geinsinger, was also named as a finalist. Mind Over Matter began as a television program, but quickly led to a podcast as well. The success of the program has resulted in a renewal for a third season, debuting in fall/winter of 2023.

“Our team is honored to be recognized by our public media peers for the content that we produced​ highlighting the people and places in the communities of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania which we are proud to serve,” said Ben Payavis II, Chief Content Officer at WVIA.

The 55th Annual PMA winners will be announced on Sunday, September 10, 2023, at the 2023 NETA Conference and CPB Public Media Thought Leader Forum in Grand Rapids, MI.

With the exception of the overall excellence categories, stations competed within their divisions based on their station size. Awards are judged by a group of expert panelists from within the public media system, as well as industry professionals working outside of public media. 

WVIA to Premiere Special Presentation

WVIA, Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania’s PBS and NPR affiliate, will present a special program entitled, “Holocaust Warnings, American Antisemitism and Extremism” on Thursday, September 7th, at 9:00 p.m. This program follows a panel discussion and community conversation held at the WVIA studios in June, moderated by WVIA’s Julie Sidoni.

“This project was unlike anything I’d ever been involved in. It took a lot of time, collaboration and research. But it was an honor to interview some of the nation’s most accomplished experts on the topic,” said WVIA News Director, Julie Sidoni. “I hope this project starts important conversations in communities all around Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.” 

The program will feature an in-depth panel discussion with world-renowned scholars, two of which have ties to the local region. The panelists include Dr. David N. Myers, a Scranton native who is a distinguished Professor of History in the UCLA History Department and author or editor of more than 15 books in the field of Jewish history. Dr. Carol Rittner, RSM, born and raised in Camp Hill, PA, who is a distinguished Professor Emerita of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University in New Jersey, and the author or editor of 21 books and numerous essays about the Holocaust. Dr. Alex Alvarez, a Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. He studies collective and interpersonal violence and is also a published author on the subject, and Dr. Kelly McFall, a Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas. His professional interests lie in the history of violence, especially comparative genocide. 

The program will also feature interviews with Holocaust survivors, descendants of Holocaust survivors, and several local high-school students who provide feedback on how the Holocaust and extremism are perceived by younger generations, particularly within the lens of how quickly hateful rhetoric can spread on social media.

“Holocaust Warnings is a timely program that is essential viewing for everyone. It is a reminder that the Holocaust was not inevitable and that we must all be vigilant in fighting against all forms of intolerance and discrimination.” said Ben Payavis II, WVIA’s Chief Content Officer. “At WVIA, we stand against hate, and our hope is that this program will help strengthen the voices of others that are willing to take that stand with us.”

This program examines the roles of the media and our education system in reporting on and educating others about the Holocaust, namely the importance of speaking out against hate as well as intolerance. The Holocaust Warnings production is only the first phase in a multi-year community conversations project for WVIA. 

“This initiative continues to evolve and grow,” says WVIA President and CEO, Carla McCabe. “What started out as a one-off program is now a multi-year initiative which will include an educational component and community outreach events as well as a podcast series on hate, which is currently in development.”

The program will be broadcast on WVIA TV and streamed live on the WVIA website. It will also be available on demand after the broadcast. Encore broadcasts will be aired on Friday, September 8th at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm; Sunday, September 10th at 1:00 pm; Thursday, September 21st at 9:00 pm; and Friday, September 22nd at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. To learn more about Holocaust Warnings, please visit: https://www.wvia.org/holocaust-warnings

WVIA Receives 11 Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy Award® Nominations for Local, Original Programming

WVIA has been nominated by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for 2023 Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy® Awards in multiple Program Feature/Segment categories.

This year, WVIA has been nominated for a station record total of 11 Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy® Awards, the highest number in WVIA’s 57-year history.

The award categories include: Politics/Government- NEWS (Single Report), Diversity/Equity/Inclusion- Short Form Content (Single Report), Education/Schools- Short Form Content (Single Report), Health/Environment/Science- Short Form Content (Single Report), Societal Concerns- Short Form Content (Single Report), Documentary (Single Program), Magazine Long Form (Single Program), Societal Concerns- Long Form Content (Single Story or Program), Promotion-News/Program/PSA (Single Spot), and Video Essay.  

Standout nominations include programs such as WVIA Runs All of Us, It’s More Than Hair, Mind Over Matter, and Agnes 50: Life After the Flood, WVIA’s 2022 documentary project that chronicles the historic hurricane and the economical, physical, and emotional aftermath on the region. 

WVIA last won a Mid Atlantic Emmy Award in 2021 for the production of the VIA Short Takes television episode #103. 

WVIA Chief Content Office and Executive Producer Ben Payavis II said, “WVIA is honored to be recognized by the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and is proud to tell the stories of the people and places of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.”

“I am extremely proud of our talented team,” said Carla McCabe, President and CEO at WVIA. “11 total nominations from Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy Awards is great recognition of the diversity of stories on all of our platforms. It is a privilege to tell the stories that represent our region.”

The content nominated for 2023 features a variety of subjects and covers a range of audiences, both demographically and geographically.

The full list of this year’s nominees and information about tickets can be found at: https://natasmid-atlantic.org/2023-emmy-nominees/

The 2023 Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy® Awards will be presented on Saturday, October 14, 2023 at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square. Tickets go on sale Monday, August 14. Discounted tickets are available through September 8.

WVIA to Broadcast Little League World Series Challenger Game

WVIA, Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania’s PBS and NPR affiliate, will live stream and broadcast the 2023 Little League World Series Challenger Division Exhibition Game on Saturday, August 26, at 10:30 a.m. ET. The game, featuring teams from Lancaster, PA and Syracuse, NY, is being presented by Eggland’s Best.

The Challenger Division is a Little League program for children with special needs. The Little League Challenger Division Exhibition Game was introduced as part of the Little League Baseball World Series in 2001, and quickly became a fan favorite. The exhibition game is a chance for these players to experience the excitement of the Little League World Series and to show the world what they can do.

The game will be played at Volunteer Stadium in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. It will be broadcast and streamed live on WVIA’s website, wvia.org, and on the WVIA PBS app. The game will also be available on ESPN+, and will be available on 22 additional PBS stations, such as WHYY (Philadelphia), WEDU (Tampa), and PCN (Pennsylvania Cable Network).

“We are excited to once again live stream the Little League World Series Challenger Division Exhibition Game,” said Ben Payavis, WVIA’s Chief Content Officer. “This is a special event that gives children with physical and intellectual challenges the opportunity to participate in the Little League World Series experience. It has become something we have looked forward to every year. We hope that viewers will tune in to watch these amazing athletes compete.”

The Little League World Series Challenger Division Exhibition Game is a heartwarming event that showcases the power of sport to bring people together. WVIA is proud to be able to live stream this event and to share it with viewers across the country. Previous WVIA live streams of Little League World Series Challenger Division Exhibition Games can be viewed here

WVIA to Host Free Open House

WVIA, Northeastern, and Central Pennsylvania’s PBS and NPR affiliate, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of WVIA radio with an open house on Saturday, August 12, from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The event will be held at WVIA’s headquarters in Pittston, Pennsylvania. This event is free for attendees. Tours are approximately 45 to 60 minutes long.

The open house will feature tours of the WVIA studios, demonstrations of WVIA’s production facilities, interactive sessions with WVIA staff, refreshments, and giveaways. There will also be a variety of activities for children, including educational and art activities and prizes. Children can participate in a “touch-a-truck” style tour of the WVIA production truck and meet Miss Debbie, the Clubhouse Mom. 

In addition to celebrating WVIA radio’s 50th anniversary, the open house will also be a chance for the public to learn more about the station’s history, programming, and community impact. This will only be the second open house in WVIA’s history. 

WVIA offers a wide variety of educational and cultural programming, including documentaries, children’s shows, local and national music performances, and news and public affairs programming. Over the past 50 years, WVIA has grown to include radio, television, and live programming, and now includes on-demand streaming services and its own in-house news team. WVIA television channels include WVIA TV, WVIA PBS Kids 24/7, and WVIA Create. WVIA’s radio channels include WVIA Radio, WVIA Arts, and the Chiaroscuro Channel. 

“We are excited to celebrate our 50th anniversary with the community and our members,” said Carla McCabe, WVIA’s President & CEO. “We want to thank our viewers and supporters for their continued dedication to WVIA. We look forward to many more years of serving the region and providing the public with enriching and entertaining content.” The WVIA open house is free and open to the public, however, tour spaces are limited so registration is required. For more information or to register for this event, visit the WVIA website.

Upcoming Healthcare Panel Discussion

The Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Myers, Brier & Kelly, LLP, and Maternal and Family Health Services, Inc. invite you to the 2023 HealthCare Panel Discussion.

Rep. Joanna McClinton, Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will engage in a dynamic and informed dialogue with Dr. Julie Byerley, the Dean of the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, and Maria Montoro Edwards, Ph.D., President of Maternal and Family Health, which serves over 90,000 citizens annually in 17 counties.

The panel will discuss workforce challenges and maternal family health issues. The panel will be moderated by WVIA’s Tracey Matisak.

WVIA to Host New Community Conversation Project and Luncheon

WVIA, in partnership with Misericordia University, announces the launch of a new multi-part project entitled, “Holocaust Warnings, American Antisemitism and Extremism.” Through community conversations, broadcast and digital media experiences, and educational curriculum, Holocaust Warnings, American Antisemitism and Extremism, examines the rising vitriol and divisiveness across our country, what that means for the future of our democracy, and how we can educate ourselves to strengthen our diverse community. The project will culminate in a sixty-minute television program debuting in Fall 2023 for regional broadcast and digital distribution and shared with public media stations across the country.

The intentions of this project are to highlight this important issue, facilitate a community dialogue, and create educational content all with the goal of bringing the Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania communities together to understand how hurtful words and unchallenged hatred can lead to violence against others. 

The luncheon will take place on Thursday, June 22, 2023 at 12pm at the Sidney and Pauline Friedman Jewish Community Center, 613 S J Strauss Lane, Kingston, PA. The event will feature a conversation and community discussion with Dr. David Myers, Dr. Alex Alvarez, Dr. Kelly McFall and Dr. Carol Rittner, RSM, moderated by WVIA News Director Julie Sidoni. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.

To register for the Holocaust Warnings community luncheon event, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/holocaust-warnings-american-antisemitism-extremism-community-luncheon-tickets-643103599177

To learn more about Holocaust Warnings, please visit: https://www.wvia.org/holocaust-warnings

WVIA Set to Premiere ROAR: The Story of the Southern Columbia Football Tigers

WVIA will premiere original documentary film ROAR: The Story of the Southern Columbia Football Tigers this Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. on WVIA television. The documentary chronicles the 2022 Southern Columbia Area High School Football Tigers as they chase a PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc.) record sixth consecutive state championship.

Award-winning WVIA filmmaker Alexander Monelli tells the story of their season from the locker room to practices to the sidelines of the games, giving viewers an up close and never-before-seen look at one of the top high school football programs in the state. Located in rural Catawissa, Pennsylvania (near the world-renowned Knoebels Amusement Resort), the film aims to discover what makes the small-town team so successful year after year.

The film will feature interviews with the 2022 Southern Columbia football team and its coaches alongside interviews with former NFL players Henry Hynoski (Southern Columbia, New York Giants) and Bo Orlando (Berwick, Houston Oilers), as well as former WNEP sports director Jim Coles, who covered Southern Columbia and regional high school football for 33 years, and current WNEP sports reporters, Landon Stolar and Steve Lloyd.

“I can’t wait for people to see this documentary about the Southern Columbia high school football team. I spent every day for a year working on this film. I spent the last two months waking up at 3:45am every single day to finish the film properly,” said filmmaker Alexander Monelli. “It’s always exciting when WVIA puts out a new original documentary and I’m just super honored to be a part of that legacy. This company is the home of documentary filmmaking in the region and I’m proud to share this film with all of you on May 11th.”

“What I hope people will say after this documentary is ‘they do things the right way,” said head coach Jim Roth. “As far as the way we work, the way we treat players, the way we interact, and then the rest takes care of itself and translates into wins.”

“Southern Columbia High School football is a unique story, and we are excited to give our viewers an up-close and personal view of this team,” said Ben Payavis II, WVIA Chief Content Officer. “WVIA takes pride in shining a light on the stories of our region and giving them a platform to be shared with the world.”

The trailer for ROAR: The Story of the Southern Columbia Football Tigers can be viewed here: https://www.wvia.org/roar-the-story-of-the-southern-columbia-football-tigers

The documentary film will broadcast on WVIA television and will also be available to watch on WVIA’s YouTube channel at https://youtube.com/live/D3EHpfDDq0I?feature=share and Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/575101254451175/. In addition to the broadcast premiere, there will be exclusive interviews with director Al Monelli, Southern Columbia Football Coach Jim Roth, and former WNEP Sports Director Jim Coles.

WVIA News Matched with Reporter from Report for America

Report for America has placed corps member Isabela Weiss with WVIA News.

Weiss is one of over 60 reporters and photojournalists Report for America has matched with local newsrooms across the country. Weiss, a storyteller turned reporter from Athens, GA, will join WVIA News in July and report on Rural Government.

“It’s so exciting! I’m really looking forward to joining the WVIA team,” said Weiss. “I’m thrilled to get to know NEPA and cover the stories that matter to you.”

Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. An initiative of the nonprofit media organization, The GroundTruth Project, it is structured to harness the skills and idealism of an emerging group of journalists plus the creative spirit of local news organizations.

“WVIA News was thrilled to learn that we’d been chosen to receive a Report for America corps member,” said Julie Sidoni, WVIA’s News Director. “After such a competitive application process, it’s gratifying to know we’re on the right track when it comes to building a journalism department that truly serves the people of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.”

“WVIA has grown a new newsroom from the ground up over the last couple of years and is ready for the opportunity to support our corps member in this role,” said Amy Tardif, Regional Manager for region 1 with Report for America. “We believe she will provide much needed attention to stories about rural government in the 22-county region that have previously gone uncovered.”

Report for America’s work is made possible by the Knight Foundation, Google News Initiative, Microsoft, Spring Point Partners, Natasha and Dirk Ziff, Joyce Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Walton Family Foundation in partnership with the Missouri School of Journalism, The Hearthland Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Just Trust, Lumina Foundation, Posner Foundation, Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation, Henry L. Kimelman Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, Tow Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, Park Foundation, Evelyn Y. Davis Foundation, and other leading philanthropic partners. To learn more about Report for America and its efforts to strengthen communities through public service journalism, please visit www.reportforamerica.org.