The Vermont Association of Broadcasters has announced the 2015 inductees into its hall of fame at the VAB Hall of Fame Banquet, Dec. 5 at the Hilton Burlington.
The individual inductees are Vox AM/FM owner and General Manager Ken Barlow, WJOY(AM) morning host Ginny McGehee and Local 22 WVNY(TV)/Local 44 WFFF(TV) Operations Director Ken Kasz.
Barlow began his broadcasting career at WCFR(AM) in Springfield, Vt., while still in high school. After college, he worked as a full-time DJ and programmer at WKNE(AM) in Keene, N.H., WDOT(AM) in Burlington, WKBR(AM) in Manchester, N.H., and WPTR(AM) in Albany, N.Y. He returned to Vermont and bought WVNR(AM) in Poultney. Later, as a partner in Vox Communications and the Vox Radio Group, he put WCVP(FM) and WXPS, now WXZO(FM), on the air. The group also obtained WEZF(FM) and WEAV(AM). The group sold the stations to Capstar, which merged with Clear Channel, which eventually sold the stations back to the group. Barlow and his wife also purchased WVTK(FM), licensed to Port Henry, N.Y., with studios in Middlebury. He continues to do a regular air shift for WVTK.
McGehee is the longest-serving full-time female radio personality in state history. A native of Philadelphia, she began her career at WNBZ(AM) in Saranac Lake, N.Y., in 1980. In 1983, she moved to Burlington after being hired by WJOY Program Director Joel Najman. Outside of a stint as the afternoon DJ on WQCR(FM), now WOKO(FM), she has spent most of her time at WJOY. She and Steve Pelkey began hosting the weekday “Breakfast Table” program in 1993, and she has hosted the show by herself for 15 years. McGehee serves as public service director for all five Hall Communications stations in Vermont. She received a Distinguished Service Award from the VAB in 2011.
Kasz began his broadcasting career while attending SUNY Fredonia. He worked as an intern and part-time master control operator at WUTV(TV) in Buffalo, N.Y., while getting his degree, and then worked full-time for WUTV for a dozen years before joining WVNY(TV) in Burlington as director of broadcast operations. A 10-year veteran of the VAB board of directors, including two years as VAB president, Kasz spearheaded efforts to increase subsidies to all Vermont radio and television stations to ensure FCC compliance through the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program. He also helped all Vermont stations with financial assistance to complete a mandatory upgrade of all Emergency Alert System receivers.
Additionally, the 2015 Broadcaster of the Year award will be presented to the WPTZ(TV)/WNNE(TV) news team for its coverage of the Dannemora prison escape in neighboring, Dannemora, N.Y.
WPTZ(TV) news reporter and Vermont PBS host Stewart Ledbetter will receive the VAB’s Distinguished Service Award. Ledbetter is being honored for his 31 years of work as a news reporter, news anchor, news director, bureau chief and senior political reporter for WPTZ(TV)/WNNE(TV), and for his eight years as the host of “Vermont This Week.” Recently, Ledbetter and his colleagues were recognized as a national Edward R. Murrow award winner for his station’s ongoing coverage of the DCF crisis in Vermont.
The Alan H. Noyes Community Service Award will be presented to Rutland radio station WSYB(AM) in honor of their WSYB Christmas Fund campaign. The station has conducted its campaign for more than 40 years, raising more than $1 million to provide gift cards to needy families.