SUU Student Takes Top Honors in National Broadcast Awards

Published: February 17, 2009 | Read Time: 3 minutes

An SUU student has taken the national championship, so to speak, in collegiate broadcasting journalism. 

SUU student Chris Holmes, a Master's of Professional Communication major, from Cedar City, Utah, has won the Broadcast Education Association's (BEA) Best of Festival Award after multiple rounds of balloting from more than 40 judges from across the country and some 394 separate entries. This overall award recognizes the best among first place finishers in a variety of categories. 

The award came from Holmes' production of his radio sports feature "Rolling Rubber Halftime Report: Death of Steve Hodson" in which he chronicles the life and death of the late SUU Women's Basketball Coach which was originally aired during the Southern Utah at North Dakota State football game on November 8, 2008. 

Reflecting on his inspiration for the award-winning piece, Holmes said, "I had long been inspired by, and wanted to do a feature on SUU women’s basketball coach Steve Hodson’s eight-year battle with multiple cell myeloma. Steve typically underwent radiation and chemo treatments just before and just after each season, and in October 2008, knowing that Steve was undergoing his usually preseason treatments, I approached him about a story. What I didn’t know was that this round would prove Steve’s last. At the time of the story’s airing, Steve was quickly fading. I was inspired by his incredible courage and fight." 

Ken Fischer, Broadcast Education Association Festival News Division Chair from the University of Oklahoma spoke to the decision that faced this year’s judges and placed Holmes at the top of the pack, saying, "It was a very competitive year. The News Division had a record number of entries this year. Professionals from across the country judged the entries. If Chris had only made our list of top three in any of our 11 categories – let alone win the top honor of all – he would have been considered among the best in the nation." 

Cal Rollins, SUU-FM Station Manger said, "Chris' honors validate our belief that Southern Utah University broadcasting students can and do compete successfully against the best in the nation. We relish in the opportunities to compete head to head against not only collegiate competition, but also with professionals in the industry. Our students feel confident that if they choose to compete against the most talented of their peers, that they have a platform from which they can perform and succeed here at SUU's campus station." 

Holmes is proud to bring home the honors for SUU, saying, "I am gratified with the recognition that may come to the program and station here at Southern Utah University. The Department of Communication and KSUU have a long tradition of excellent student training and production. I hope to be a part of the continuation and further development of this tradition." 

Holmes also gained multiple second place honors in the Radio Hard News Reporting competition for his "Vietnam Veterans Memorial" and in the Radio Feature Reporting group for a separate broadcast piece speaking of the late Coach Hodson, entitled, "Steve Hodson." 

Holmes will accept the national award along with these additional titles in a formal presentation this April at the BEA and National Association of Broadcasters convention in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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