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Vermont Broadcasters Recognize First Female President

Annual ceremony also notes community service efforts

Candis Leopold

As part of this year Hall of Fame class, the Vermont Association of Broadcasters will induct the first woman who served as the organization’s president. The organization will also honor other broadcasters and stations in its annual ceremony Dec. 6 at the Burlington Hilton.

Candis Leopold has worked in radio sales in Vermont since 1981, starting at WNCS in Montpelier. She later worked for WKXH and WSTJ in the Northeast Kingdom before being named sales manager for Hall Communications stations WIZN and WBTZ in 2010. She served more than 12 years as a member of the VAB board, including four years as president, the first woman to hold that position. She continues to serve as a legislative liaison for the VAB.

Other inductees include Tim Johnson, a radio news reporter for 40 years. He began his career at WKVT in Brattleboro and moved to WTSA in 1997, where he co-hosts the morning show with Steve Cormier. Johnson is a former VAB Distinguished Service Award winner.

Former WCAX(TV) Adirondack Bureau Chief Jack LaDuke has been operating a camera and reporting the news for 65 years, including 30 years for WCAX. His career has taken him to Europe and Latin America. LaDuke and his wife, Marina, established the public broadcasting system in El Salvador. He continues to contribute stories to Mountain Lake PBS, despite his retirement.

Tim Johnson

The 2014 Broadcaster of the Year Award will be presented to Fox44/ABC22 Vice President and General Manager Roger Hess. Hess started the annual Feed A Family food drive, created a partnership with the regional Red Cross, joined multiple anti-cancer campaigns, walked and biked for diabetes, MS and heart disease research and took part in the Spectrum Sleepout, which raised nearly $200,000 for at-risk youth.

The Teffner-Snyder Award for excellence in a career behind the scenes will be presented to Jim Oliver, chief photographer for WCAX(TV) and a former VAB Distinguished Service Award winner. The award is named for the late VAB President and WCAX engineer Ted Teffner and VAB treasurer and WJOY engineer Dennis Snyder.

Judy Simpson of WCAX(TV) and recently retired WOKO air personality Thom Richards will also be honored with VAB Distinguished Service Awards.

Simpson began her Vermont TV news career at WVNY in 1985 and soon became the first female TV news director in state history.

Richards began his radio career in his native New Hampshire. He moved to the Burlington area in 1978 and worked at both WDOT and WVMT before taking his on-air and production skills to WQCR (later WOKO) in 1985. He also gathered news for WJOY and helped launch oldies station WKOL. He held down the afternoon drive slot for WOKO for many years. He also devoted himself to community service.

Three radio stations will also be honored with Community Service Awards.

Jack LaDuke

WGLY and The Light Radio Network will receive the Alan Noyes Community Service Award for their “Wheelchairs for the World” event. The Essex-based network of radio stations collected 200 wheelchairs and walkers to distribute to Third World countries.

WEZF(FM) is honored for its efforts to raise money for cancer research. Its signature event is the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, held October in South Burlington, which has raised $1,757,000.

Mitch Terricciano of WIZN will also receive a VAB Community Service Award. Terricciano the parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes, organized the “Mitch & Company Cornhole Tournament,” which raised $750 in donations for the local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund.