WESTMINSTER — Winning the only category for which he was nominated, a 17-year-old Liberty High School senior was voted best crew member Friday night atCarroll Community Television Channel 55's 2nd annual Vollie Awards.
Amid magic, music and mirth, Jeff Mather took one of four Vollie Awards voted on by the volunteer producers of the community access channel. The event, attended by nearly 100 people, was held at the Wakefield Valley Golf Club.
"Being only 17, this means a lot," Mather said.
The best crew member award was based on the person's production ability and skills,the number of programs worked on and overall contribution to the success of Channel 55.
The son of Larry and Betty Mather of Eldersburg, Mather said he became involved with Channel 55 after seeing the group in action during a kick-off celebration two years ago at Cranberry Mall.
To no one's surprise, the top award, Best Overall Volunteer, again went to George Shearer, who received $250 and a framed certificate.
Two other awards voted on by the producers went to David Blair as Rookie of the Year and Ken Birnie for Best Producer.
A fifth special honor, The Middleton Award, for the person who contributedthe most behind the scenes, went to Paul Warnken, a member of the Carroll Communications Guild, a support group for Channel 55.
The Vollie Awards were introduced last year "to honor our producers and volunteers, because they're the ones who do the shows," said Channel 55 Director Paul LeValley.
"The original idea behind access TV was togive people a medium for self-expression where the only standards they needed to meet were their own," he said.
Because of the limitedappeal to such narrow broadcasting, frequently the producer was the only one watching his program. In recent years, however, the general public started watching access TV, he said.
"Producers have responded by drastically improving the quality of their programs," LeValleysaid. "There's less vanity video and more service video, less extremism, but more excitement, less demagoguery and more intelligent discussion of the issues that affect us all."
The 1992 awards saw an increase in the number of nominations, from 52 to 61, and more variety in the type of programs. Brief clips of the nominated shows were presented before winners were announced.
Program winners were:
* Best First Effort and Best Educational/Instructional Program: "The Art of Craft," by Estelle Sanzenbacher and Lynn Reeder.
* Best Documentary: "Trollies Thru The Heart of Maryland" by Bob Johnson.
* BestEntertainment Program: "Crazy Ed's Used Video Show No. 6" by Andy Gray and Greg Whitehair.
* Best Director Edited-on-Tape Program: KenBirnie for "Good as it Gets."
* Best Director Live-on-Tape Program: Tom Forsythe for "Silent Reign."
* Best On-Camera Talent: Jay Graboski and Mary O'Connor for "OHO School."
* Best Informational Series: "Out and About" by Bob Johnson and Sallie Mallick.
* Best Entertainment Series: "People and Places Around the World" by Milton Briggs.
On behalf of the guild, Bob Johnson presented the top SPINE(Supporting Producers' Interests with Never-ending Encouragement) award, the Key Vertebrae Award, to LeValley. He also gave a SPINE awardto coordinator Doris White and to producers Sanzenbacher and Forsythe.