One of the highlights of the annual Radio Show is the announcement of the winners of the NAB Marconi Awards, which are awarded to radio stations and on-air personalities to recognize excellence in radio. The award, named after inventor and Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi and established in 1989, honors both the public faces and the behind-the-scenes operators, from the best radio personality of the year to the best college station of the year.
For the first time in 2019, the awards also recognized the best radio podcast in the nation.
Winners came from across the country. From the northwest, the NAB recognized KIRO(FM) in Seattle as news/talk station of the year. From all the way to the southeast, the NAB honored WHQT(FM) in Hollywood, Fla., as urban station of the year.
Small- and mid-market stations are routinely honored alongside their larger-market brethren. This year the NAB honored KIPR(FM) in Little Rock, Ark., as medium market station of the year as well as KWYO(AM) in Sheridan, Wyo., as small market station of the year.
The award is a long time coming for KWYO, which signed on the air in July 1934, making it Sheridan’s first radio station and the second oldest radio station in Wyoming. More than eight decades ago, KWYO began operation with a stack of 2,000 phonograph records that ranged from grand opera to jazz. The station now plays a classic country format.
Familiar big-market radio personalities also made the winners list: Ryan Seacrest was named network/syndicated personality of the year. Familiar big-market stations also were honored, including newser WTOP(FM) in Washington.
The Boston market also had its due this year when the duo Felger & Massarotti of WBZ(FM) were named major market personalities of the year. WBZ was also honored as sports station of the year.
The growing importance of podcasts were also celebrated. The NAB named WCCO(AM)’s “Denied Justice” as the year’s best radio podcast. The program was created in collaboration with the Star-Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis and was based on a series of uninvestigated rape cases.
In an article on the WCCO radio website, podcast creator Jordan Green said that “every time I called those women to get their stories for the podcast, we could sense that they were opening up a vein to bleed the worst day of their life … [in the hopes] that they could change what happened to the next girl, or the next boy. And they did change it. Let me tell you, the laws of Minnesota are changing.”
Following the initial airing of the podcasts, WCCO said that the Minnesota attorney general convened a sexual assault investigative task force to make recommendations for changes in state law.
The Marconi finalists were selected by a task force of broadcasters, and the winners were voted on by the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Selection Academy. Radio personalities and previous Marconi Award winners returned to the 2019 Radio Show to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the award. Emcees and presenters throughout the event included Delilah, Rickey Smiley along with Tom and Kristi of “The Bob and Tom Show.”
2019 NAB Marconi Radio Award Recipients:
Legendary Station of the Year — KRTH(FM), Los Angeles
Legendary Station Manager of the Year — Dan Seeman, Hubbard Twin Cities and
Hubbard North, St. Paul, Minn.
Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year — Ryan Seacrest, Premiere Networks
Major Market Personality of the Year — Felger & Massarotti, WBZ(FM), Boston
Large Market Personality of the Year — Crisco, Dez and Ryan, KSTP(FM), St. Paul, Minn.
Medium Market Personality of the Year — Mike Street, WBTJ(FM), Richmond, Va.
Small Market Personality of the Year — Scotty and Catryna, KCLR(FM), Columbia, Mo.
Major Market Station of the Year — WTOP(FM), Washington
Large Market Station of the Year — KSTP(FM), St. Paul, Minn.
Medium Market Station of the Year — KIPR(FM), Little Rock, Ark.
Small Market Station of the Year — KWYO(AM), Sheridan, Wyo.
AC Station of the Year — KRWM(FM), Bellevue, Wash.
Best Radio Podcast of the Year — “Denied Justice Podcast,” WCCO(AM), Minneapolis
CHR Station of the Year — KRBE(FM), Houston
Classic Hits Station of the Year — WMGK(FM), Philadelphia
College Station of the Year — WRHU(FM), Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y.
Country Station of the Year — KYGO(FM), Denver
News/Talk Station of the Year — KIRO(FM), Seattle
Religious Station of the Year — KKFS(FM), Sacramento, Calif.
Rock Station of the Year — WRIF(FM), Detroit
Spanish Station of the Year — KLOL(FM), Houston
Sports Station of the Year — WBZ(FM), Boston
Urban Station of the Year — WHQT(FM), Hollywood, Fla.