March 09, 2009

Corporation for Public Broadcasting honors WSIU

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- WSIU Public Broadcasting, the broadcasting arm of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, received an award this weekend from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

WSIU earned a “My Source Community Impact Award for Education” for testimonials showcasing two of its education projects, “Biz Kid$ Bash,” and “Raising Readers in Southern Illinois.”

“My Source” is a national campaign developed by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting to engage people in a dialogue about the power of public broadcasting to inform, enlighten and enrich public life. The awards recognize the educational services provided by public broadcasting stations and highlight the local connection between stations and the communities they serve.

“WSIU is excited to receive this award for our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of life in our region,” said Beth Spezia, educational outreach coordinator for WSIU. “Through My Source, we’ve been able to share stories that have meaning in our communities. These are the public's stories of community impact -- they are the storytellers -- and we congratulate our community partners, educators, parents, and students on their role in achieving this national distinction with us.”

An awards ceremony for winners was Saturday, March 7, in Washington, D.C., as a part of the CPB/PBS-hosted Council of Chief State School Officers Legislative Conference.

Using a grant provided by CPB, WSIU launched its local My Source campaign last fall, showcasing people from Cape Girardeau to Mount Vernon as they shared personal stories about WSIU's impact in their lives and communities.

Promotions director Monica Tichenor and TV producer Jak Tichenor coordinated WSIU's local My Source campaign; Jak Tichenor produced the two My Source TV testimonials named in the award. In all, WSIU has produced and aired more than 30 TV and radio testimonials, with several more in the works for release later this spring. A print and web ad series also ran in local newspapers, online, and in WSIU's program guides to members.

WSIU also expanded its My Source options by working with Jan Thompson, an associate professor in SIUC's Department of Radio-Television, to create a hands-on learning opportunity for students in Thompson's Advanced TV Production class. Several groups of students worked together to produce four, 30-second My Source TV testimonials for course credit. In addition, Byron Francis, a graduate student in professional media management, and Jun Kim, a senior in radio-television, assisted WSIU Radio's Lisa Morrisette with testimonials featuring local public radio fans.

WSIU's award-winning entries include a 30-second TV testimonial taped at WSIU's “Biz Kid$ Bash,” in August 2008 with support from the SIU Credit Union and Carbondale's University Mall. Based on the PBS financial literacy series Biz Kid$, the Biz Kid$ Bash brought a diverse group of more than 30 area kids together to learn how to create, finance and market their own businesses. SIU Credit Union staff, WSIU staff and SIUC students worked with young entrepreneurs from as far away as Cairo. The TV testimonial features Jessica Mellen, branch manager of the SIU Credit Union in Carbondale, who says that WSIU is her source for “community education that really makes a difference.”

WSIU's second award-winning entry includes a 60-second TV testimonial focusing on “Raising Readers in Southern Illinois,” a grant-funded project through CPB and PBS that uses public media content to teach literacy skills to at-risk children between ages two through eight years old. WSIU’s participation in this multi-year project includes reading camps based on the PBS KIDS series “SuperWhy!,” educator and parent training, literacy materials, and research toward new national literacy policies. WSIU's My Source testimonial for “Raising Readers in Southern Illinois” features Robbie Koen, site supervisor of Southern Seven Head Start in Cairo. Koen shares how WSIU is her source for “giving children in Cairo a head start in reading and learning.”

To view WSIU's award-winning My Source TV testimonials and other My Source submissions, visit and select the My Source feature, or go directly to and click on different sections of the local mosaic to see, hear, and read what people are saying about their experiences with WSIU and public broadcasting. WSIU also welcomes additional My Source testimonials from the public, which can be submitted online.