The enthusiasm of youth, the wisdom of a veteran, humor and surprises marked the 11th annual Carroll Community Television Channel 19 Vollie Awards on Friday night at Antrim 1844 in Taneytown.
The annual ceremony honors the best of the station's programming created by its volunteer producers. Awards were presented in 11 categories; in addition, three special awards were given, the last of which took the recipient and audience by surprise.
George Shearer, a veteran of Channel 19 since its inception in the mid-1980s and last year's producer of the year, was called to the podium to present this year's award.
"Well, I know it's not me," he joked before opening the envelope containing the name of the 2000 producer of the year. He stared at the card before turning it toward the audience and announcing, "It's me."
As the crowd applauded and laughed, many rose to their feet in a standing ovation for the man who has helped to produce more than 300 shows for Prestige Cable's community access television channel.
"It's a pass-the-torch type of thing, or it's supposed to be," Shearer said of the award presentation.
He described what he does at the station: "I'm the guy who sits in the back and pushes the buttons."
But he does much more, said Steve Mednick, another Channel 19 veteran producer whose shows Shearer frequently directs.
"George is a totally selfless individual -- hard-working, good for the self-esteem and creativity of those doing programs," Mednick said. "He's a mentor to youth; he's patient, tolerant and willing to put in the hours so they become the producers of the future."
One such youthful producer won two awards. Jon Corun, a 17-year-old Westminster High School junior, tied for the best-edited program and was named rookie producer of the year.
Corun, whose dream is "to be a 3-D animator with video on the side," has been a Channel 19 producer for two years since taking production classes at Carroll Community College.
His winning program, "Too Hot for Broadcast 3," tied with Susan Thornton's "Carroll Women '99" as the best-edited program last year. The rookie of the year award, as well as producer of the year, are selected by the producers.
The work that earned Corun top rookie status included four programs and three talk shows, including "The Tom Show," a late-night talk show, and the "Dragon Master" action show.
A panel of judges chose program winners from more than 30 entries. The other winners, all of whom received plaques, were:
Best First Project: Chris Crocetti for "I Want to Rock No. 1."
Best Studio Talk Show: Dick Slechter for "Impact! (Witchcraft)."
Best Educational/Instructional Program: Tina Richardson for "All That Grows (No. 9)."
Best On-Camera Talent: Tina Richardson for "All That Grows (No. 14 with Sherry Fisher)."
Best Religious/Spiritual Program: Tom Forsythe for "Y2K Youth Forum."
Best Documentary: Ken Birnie for "Green Nations."
Best Music Entertainment Program: Susan Thornton for "Flower & Jazz Festival."
Best Live Event Director: Ken Birnie and Greg Whitehair for "Wine in the Woods."
Best Entertainment Program (Non-Musical): Terry McDonald for "Mr. Rainbow (Litter)."
Best Community-Related Project: Dean Wilson for "Midnight Madness on Main Street."
The Outstanding Service Award, presented to a member of the Channel 19 Advisory Committee, went to Dave Miller for the second consecutive year.
The evening's program included clips of Channel 19's new shows, and blooper outtakes.