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Western Michigan University Student Radio Station Wins Two National Awards

March 15, 2024

Glen Dillon, assistant director of student media, and WIDR staff earned nine total nominations and two awards at the 2024 IBSNYC Conference March 1 and 2.

Western Michigan University's student-run radio station, 89.1 WIDR-FM (Kalamazoo), won awards for Best Radio Drama and Best Faculty Advisor at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) Conference in earlier this month. WIDR’s nominated material competed with over 3,000 entries from 100 schools at the annual conference, which brings together college and high school media groups from across the globe.

"IBS is an excellent opportunity for students to network with colleagues from around the country and internationally as well," explains Glen Dillon, assistant director of student media. “It’s (also) an excellent way for the students to put their work out there with their contemporaries and see how it matches up.

"(The conference) gets tons of submissions from around the world, and ... if you are nominated, you’re in the top 2-3% of all the material that’s been submitted. To be selected out of the number of entries they receive is really impressive."

Their winning submission, "Luna Rose," joins the growing catalog of creative student-driven audio dramas known as WIDR Tales. Written by Austin Vetor, an English student, and produced by Ryan Misiak, a multimedia arts technology student and WIDR production director, the 30-minute audio drama follows Interpol Inspector Vivian Wilmore (Tasha Loomis, a film, video and media studies student) on her hunt for the infamous art thief, Luna Rose. With the help of her partner Leo (Cully Cooper, a film, video and media studies student and WIDR general manager) and the support of her mysterious new girlfriend, curator and art expert Isabella Perez (Logen Crandall, an English student and WIDR program manager), Vivian dedicates her life to bringing the world’s most wanted woman to justice. Marshall Nesbitt, a digital media and journalism student, and J-Stevo, a film, video and media studies student, also lent their voice talents to the project.

"Winning the award was a great feeling!" Misiak says. "The amount of work our staff and production team put into bringing this drama to life was tremendous. We are currently working on our 7th radio drama this year and are happy to see we’ve been heading in the right direction."

The team secured nominations for seven other conference awards, including Best Spot News Interview, Best Station Contest, Best Giveaway, Best Website, Best Phone App, Best Liner/Sweeper and Best Use of Graphics.

"One of the things that I’ve worked on is to get the students to recognize that the work they do is worth it," Dillon says. "The group of students who worked on ("Luna Rose") did a lot of work, and it paid off because it’s a really good piece of audio entertainment."

This year, students recognized Dillon's own work at WIDR with a nomination for Best Faculty Advisor. A WMU and WIDR alumnus with a 30-year career in radio, Dillon's guidance and unwavering commitment to the Student Media Group made him a worthy recipient in the eyes of WIDR program staff.

"We nominated Glen for Best Faculty Advisor because of his constant support for our ideas," says Crandall. "His door is always open, and while he provides his extensive knowledge on radio to refine our goals, he gives us the freedom to execute the work ourselves."

"Glen has an almost perfect balance of giving us liberty and making sure we don’t set the house on fire," agrees Vetor, adding Dillon's approach "allows us to grow and shape WIDR into what we want, and what we think it should be."

The nomination came as a surprise for Dillon, who recently celebrated his 10-year anniversary as the SMG assistant director.

"To win was just crazy," he says. "I dig working with students. I really have a lot of love for WIDR, specifically, because of my experience coming to Western a bazillion years ago, finding WIDR and having it change my life. ... All I want is for (students) to be successful and have a good time while they're here. To get that recognition is really very nice and much appreciated. I am humbled by the recognition."

Listen to the award-winning audio drama and this year’s IBSNYC 2024 nominations on WIDR's website.

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