Winners announced in Illinois APBA 2018 contest

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — Winners have been announced in the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association 2018 contest.

The awards were announced during the Spring Convention of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association, Saturday, April 13, in Normal, Illinois.

Thirty broadcasters submitted 273 entries in the contest, which featured news, sports and investigative reporting as well as features, documentaries and newswriting from 2018.

The Associated Press is a not-for-profit news cooperative representing 1,400 newspapers and 5,000 broadcast stations in the United States.

Winners in the 2018 Illinois APBA Broadcast Contest:

TVI/Metro TV

Best Spot News: 1, WLS-TV, Chicago, “Mercy Hospital Shooting”; 2, WLS-TV, Chicago, “Plane Lands on Lake Shore Drive.”

Best Sports Report: 1, Jeremy Ross and Don Stanke, WBBM-TV, Chicago, “Hold Your Breath”; 2, Mike Bush and Scott Suppelsa, KSDK-TV, St. Louis, “Lesson in Sportsmanship.”

Best Light Feature: 1, WLS-TV, Chicago, “Sofia Sanchez’s Journey”; 2, Mike Bush and Tom Stasiak, KSDK-TV, St. Louis, “Jerseyville Rodney.”

Best Hard News Feature: 1, WMAQ-TV, Chicago, “The Mysterious Flight of Taylor Clark”; 2, Jeremy Ross and DeAndra Taylor, WBBM-TV, Chicago, “You Look Good for a Dead Man.”

Best Series or Documentary: 1, WLS-TV, Chicago, “Catholic Church Crisis”; 2, WLS-TV, Chicago, “Marc Winner Convicted.”

Best Investigative Report: 1, WMAQ-TV, Chicago, “You, Too: The Public Cost of Sex Harassment”; 2, WLS-TV, Chicago, “Code Red.”

Best Digital Presence: 1, WLS-TV, Chicago.

Best Newswriter: 1, Mike Bush, KSDK-TV, St. Louis; 2, Jeremy Ross, WBBM-TV, Chicago.

Best Reporter: 1, Jeremy Ross, WBBM-TV, Chicago.

Best Newscast: 1, WMAQ-TV, Chicago; 2, WLS-TV, Chicago.

Outstanding News Operation: WLS-TV, Chicago.


Best Spot News: 1, WREX-TV, Rockford, “Dixon High School Shooting”; 2, WREX-TV, Rockford, “Embezzlement Accusations Hit RAEDC.”

Best Sports Report: 1, Elizabeth Wadas and Stephanie Mattan, WQAD-TV, Moline, “Redneck Fishing”; 2, Derek Bayne, WREX-TV, Rockford, “Leader, Coach, Mom: The Story of Misty Opat.”

Best Light Feature: 1, Dee Dee Gatton, WICS-TV, Springfield, “Saints Flight”; 2, Caitlin Knute and Emily Ogden, WEEK-TV (NBC), East Peoria, “Making It: The Joe Stamm Band.”

Best Hard News Feature: 1, Kristin Crowley, Ale Alvarez and Josh Morgan, WREX-TV, Rockford, “Candid Conversations”; 2, Taylor Utzig and Josh Morgan, WREX-TV, Rockford, “Avoiding Tragedy.”

Best Series or Documentary: 1, WREX-TV, Rockford, “Out of the Darkness – Shining a Light on Domestic Violence”; 2, Denise Hnytka and Stephanie Mattan, WQAD-TV, Moline, “Marine Bootcamp.”

Best Investigative Report: 1, Kristin Crowley, Audrey Moon and Mary Sugden, WREX-TV, Rockford, “Bitter Custody Battle Leads to Violent Altercation”; 2, Rachel Droze, WICS-TV, Springfield, “Overtime Gold Mine.”

Best Videography: 1, Andy McKay, Jenny Hipskind and Anthony Panicucci, WQAD-TV, Moline, “Savanna Bridge Implosion”; 2, Randy Biery, KWQC-TV, Davenport, “Ride the Train.”

Best Digital Presence: 1, WREX-TV, Rockford; 2, A.J. Bailey and Cody King, WICS-TV, Springfield.

Best Newswriter: 1, Kristin Crowley, WREX-TV, Rockford; 2, Caitlin Knute, WEEK-TV (NBC), East Peoria.

Best Reporter: 1, Elizabeth Wadas, WQAD-TV, Moline; 2, Taylor Utzig, WREX-TV, Rockford.

Best Newscast: 1, Mariah Hart and Lon Lucas, WEEK-TV (NBC), East Peoria; 2, Angelique Kaczynski, WCCU-TV, Champaign.

Outstanding News Operation: WREX-TV, Rockford.

Radio I/Metro Radio

Best Spot News: 1, WBBM-AM, Chicago, “No Mercy”; 2, WBBM-AM, Chicago, “The Jason Van Dyke Verdict.”

Best Sports Report: 1, Adam Hoge, WGN-AM, Chicago, “Adam Hoge and The Bears”; 2, George Ofman, WBBM-AM, Chicago, “Rocky Wirtz.”

Best Light Feature: 1, Bob Kessler, Rivet, Chicago, “MacArthur Park Turns 50: A Tale of Two Recipes”; 2, Andrea Darlas, WGN-AM, Chicago, “A Few Good Women.”

Best Hard News Feature: 1, Mike Krauser, WBBM-AM, Chicago, “Cat Rescue”; 2, Miles Bryan and Rob Wildeboer, WBEZ-FM, Chicago, “State Board Regularly OKs Gun Licenses Despite Police Warnings.”

Best Series or Documentary: 1, Jesse Betend, Rivet, Chicago, “Life After It’s Over”; 2, Dometi Pongo and Ryan Burrow, WGN-AM, Chicago, “From the Mountaintop: The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

Best Use of Sound: 1, Ryan Burrow, WGN-AM, Chicago, “Convention in Chaos – 50 years later”; 2, Sarah Karp, Joe DeCeault and Cate Cahan, WBEZ-FM, Chicago, “One High School, Two Walkouts.”

Best Digital Presence: 1, WBBM-AM, Chicago.

Best Newswriter: 1, Mark Friedman, WBBM-AM, Chicago.

Best Reporter: 1, Ryan Burrow, WGN-AM, Chicago; 2, Lisa Fielding, WBBM-AM, Chicago.

Best Newscast: 1, WBBM-AM, Chicago; 2, Jennifer Keiper, WLS-AM, Chicago.

Outstanding News Operation: WBBM-AM, Chicago.

Radio II/Local Radio

Best Spot News: 1, Ethan Kruger, WCMY-AM, Ottawa, “New Year’s Eve Fire Destroys Downtown Business”; 2, Lee Gaines, WILL-AM, Urbana, “Obama Visits U Of I Campus, Urges Students to Get Out and Vote.”

Best Sports Report: 1, Brad Palmer, WSIU-FM, Carbondale, “Carbondale Teen Makes MLS Debut”; 2, Eric Stock, WGLT-FM, Normal, “Friday Night Lights Out: Football’s Uncertain Future.”

Best Light Feature: 1, Rich Egger, WIUM-FM, Macomb, “The Blind Swine: It’s The Cat’s Pajamas”; 2, Rachel Otwell, WUIS-FM, Springfield, “A Biker Meet-Up With African-American Roots.”

Best Hard News Feature: 1, Christine Herman, WILL-AM, Urbana, “Out of Options, Parents Trade Custody for Treatment”; 2, Rich Egger, WIUM-FM, Macomb, “Dark Days.”

Best Series or Documentary: 1, Christine Herman, WILL-AM, Urbana, “Continuing Mental Health Coverage”; 2, WGLT-FM, Normal, “Skipping School: Illinois’ Teacher Shortage.”

Best Investigative Report: 1, Ryan Denham and Mary Cullen, WGLT-FM, Normal, “Police Diverge on Approach to Speeding Tickets”; 2, Lee Gaines, WILL-AM, Urbana, “Illinois Prison System Spent Less Than $300 on Books Last Year.”

Best Use of Sound: 1, Rich Egger, WIUM-FM, Macomb, “The Blind Swine: It’s The Cat’s Pajamas”; 2, Connie Kuntz, WNIJ-FM, DeKalb, “The Beauty and Science of Bird Banding.”

Best Digital Presence: 1, WVIK-FM, Rock Island; 2, Ryan Denham, WGLT-FM, Normal.

Best Newswriter: 1, Ethan Kruger, WCMY-AM, Ottawa; 2, Susan Stephens, WNIJ-FM, DeKalb.

Best Reporter: 1, Ryan Denham, WGLT-FM, Normal; 2, Susan Stephens, WNIJ-FM, DeKalb.

Best Newscast: 1, Brian Moline, WILL-AM, Urbana; 2, Charlie Schlenker, WGLT-FM, Normal.

Outstanding News Operation: WGLT-FM, Normal.


Visit AP’s blog at

A list of winners along with judge’s comments are posted to our website at

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