WKAR and J-School Bring Home Regional Emmy Wins

The College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci) walked away with two wins from the 2016 Regional Emmy® Awards on Saturday, June 18, at the MotorCity Casino in Detroit.

WKAR, mid-Michigan's PBS station housed within ComArtSci, received an Emmy® award for the original program Curious Crew, the TV show for children focusing on science and technology. The show won for the episode “Levers," in the category Children/Youth/Teens - Program/Special. The School of Journalism (J-School) from ComArtSci picked up its Emmy® award for the documentary film Spare Parts: Human Organ Trafficking in Bangladesh in the category Promotion - Program - Single Spot.

Susi Elkins, interim general manager and executive director of WKAR, and Mike Mihalus, producer of Curious Crew, were awarded the Emmys for their work on the program Elkins remarked on their win, “At the heart of Curious Crewis the hard work and dedication of the cast of kids that make up each show. They exhibit the joy and thrill of discovery so well, that anyone watching wants to give it a try and do what they're doing. That's the very the purpose of the show and I think that's why it's being recognized,” said Elkins.

The 2016 Emmy® award for Curious Crew is the fourth award for the young series. Other awards include being honored by the National Education Telecommunications Association (NETA) for Community Engagement/Impact in 2015, winning Best Mini-Documentary or Series by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) in May of 2016, and winning the Broadcast Excellence Award for Community Involvement from the MAB.

Curious Crew’s third season (currently in production) is set to debut on WKAR-TV in late 2016 or early 2017. The show is supported in part by Fifth Third Bank, TechSmith, Capital Area District Library, LAFCU and The John E. Fetzer Institute Fund of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. Like most WKAR originals, all Curious Crew episodes are available for viewing at video.wkar.org and on many TV streaming devices.

ComArtSci’s academic departments have also been nominated, and have won, a number of Emmy® awards in the past few years. Students and faculty work on films, documentaries and stories every year, focusing on education topics that span the globe.

Spare Parts: Human Organ Trafficking in Bangladesh,from the J-School in ComArtSci, is one of those documentaries. Focused on illegal human organ trafficking, the idea for the film came from Professor of Practice Troy Hale and Professor Sue Carter, and is built on the work of Michigan State professor Dr. Monir Moniruzzaman.

“The documentary… seeks to expose the illegal acts and tragic costs of selling organs,” said Carter. “The tools of journalism can bring information to the public and change to lives. It was humbling to have our work honored by our colleagues in the profession.”

Joined by ComArtSci alumns Kirk Mason and Colin Marshall, Hale and Carter filmed, produced and shared the documentary with the world. An ongoing project for many years, the team is happy to receive recognition.

“We are very honored that our project, "Spare Parts, Human Organ Trafficking in Bangladesh", won an Emmy award this year,” said Hale. “We are very proud that we had 2 former students, Kirk Mason and Colin Marshall, who worked closely on this project. Both of them are now professionals in the field.”

Michigan State University also won an additional four Emmy awards, including Spartan Hockey All-Access “A Place to Go” by Justin Garant for the category Sports- Daily or Weekly Program, Spartan Football All-Access: “The Road” by Ryan McPhail for the category Sports - Programs Series, a commercial by Anthony Siciliano, Kevin Epling and Christopher Buller titled “Thank You for Empowering the Spartan Dream” for the category Commercial - Single Spot, and the 2015 Spartan Vision Reel by Nicholas Baker for the category Editor - Sports.

By Nikki W. O'Meara