Oscars? Emmys? No, The Vollies

Channel 55 Salutes The Volunteers Who Produce Cable Programming

February 27, 1991|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER -- It was the Academy Awards of community television, complete with live music, program clips and, of course, local celebrities.

There was even a sweep of sorts, as producer Robert Johnson won four awards out of five nominations for the 1991 Carroll Community Television Vollie Awards Sunday night.

"This is unbelievable for me because I didn't think I did that well," said Johnson, 59, of Mount Airy. "I just did what I wanted to do. I'm very humbled."

FOR THE RECORD - The Vollie Award winner in the photo in the Feb. 27 Diversions section should have been identified as Eldersburg resident George Shearer, honored with the grand prize for "Best Volunteer."

The retired Montgomery County schoolteacher won Best Documentary for "Union Mills Homestead"; Best Entertainment Program Event Coverage with Sallie Mallick for "Maryland Wine Festival"; Best Other Entertainment Program for "Sodbuster Soliloquy"; and Best Producer.

Johnson also was nominated for Best Volunteer.

Indeed, after winning his first three awards, Johnson was thanked by the winners ofthe Best Entertainment Series Program for not entering that category.

This first awards ceremony, on the 55th day of the year to honor the community access Channel 55, was a group effort on the part of the producers and volunteers, said director Paul LeValley.

"We wanted to come together and honor our producers and volunteers because they're the ones who do the shows," LeValley said. "We called itthe Vollie Awards because we're focusing on the tremendous effort ofthe volunteers."

Channel 55, financed by Prestige Cablevision,is the community access station for local programming. In the year since the channel's kick-off festivities Feb. 24, 1990, about 70 volunteers have produced some 400 programs "about every conceivable topic," he noted.

Anyone who produced a show for Channel 55 was eligible for nomination in the nine program categories, LeValley said. Program awards were voted on by a panel of four judges.

Three individual awards were voted on by the producers themselves.

Beforegoing into the program awards, LeValley announced another award, to be presented annually and named after the recipient of this first honor.

"We're going to start a tradition by giving a special awardto the person behind the scenes who has contributed the most," LeValley said.

Steve Middleton, a member of the Carroll County and Towns Community Access Committee for eight years, received the first Middleton Award for his efforts in getting the access channel under way.

Then it was Johnson's turn to come to the podium and give LeValley the Key Light Award "for his unselfish dedication to see we keep shining."

Noting LeValley's desire for better equipment, Johnson rewarded him with miniatures of a BetaCam and a Grass Valley Switcher, and a keyboard for a character generator.

Then it was onto the program awards, which included brief clips of the nominees' shows. And the other winners were:

* Best Director for an EditedProgram: Ken Birnie for "Danger and Play."

* Best Director fora Live Program: George Shearer for "Caring and Sharing: Miracles."

* Best Talent: Rhonda Graham for "Counselor's Corner No. 1."

* Best Educational/Instructional Program: Steve Mednick for "Counselor's Corner No. 1."

* Best Informational Series Program: Gorman Tall for "Carroll County Aerobics."

* Best Entertainment Series Program: Andy Gray and Greg Whitehair for "Crazy Ed's Used Video Show."

* Best Crew Member: Sallie Mallick.

* Best Volunteer: George Shearer, who won $250 cash in addition to the framed certificates given to all winners.

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