SYRACUSE -- When you see several TV stations airing the same thing at the same time, you know it's a big deal. It doesn't happen often. But last spring, several local stations turned their competition into cooperation. Together, they produced and simulcast "Protecting Our Children," a one-hour special to raise awareness of child abuse. Almost a year later, the rare joint effort is getting new attention in the form of a New York Emmy Award nomination. And public broadcaster WCNY-TV has four additional nominations of its own.
We just learned about the nominations thanks to an email from CBS5 (WTVH) anchor and managing editor Michael Benny. (Organizers revealed the list of nominees last week, while your editor was on vacation.) On the official nominee list, Benny is named as one of the producers for the special, along with Matt Mulcahy of CNY Central sister station NBC3 (WSTM) and Dan Cummings from ABC affiliate NewsChannel 9 (WSYR-TV). But it's the WCNY-TV call letters listed on the official nomination list, with the public station's Amy Manley and Curtis Jetter listed as the broadcast's primary producers.
Back when the special was first announced, Mulcahy said WCNY-TV acted “as Switzerland, the obvious neutral turf” where managers and journalists from the various competing stations gathered to plan the special, along with representatives from the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center.
Telling us about the nomination, Benny said, "This was a major undertaking, and a public service - which is at the heart of our mission... all of us... every station."
The special aired last April 25 on WCNY first, followed by a simulcast on WTVH, WSTM-TV, WSTQ-LP, WSYR-TV, YNN, 9wsyr.com, CNYCentral.com and YNN.com. Later that night, a third showing was offered on My 43 (WNYS-TV). It was only the third time in at least the last 25 years that all of Syracuse's television stations banded together to raise awareness of a particular topic. About 20 years prior to "Protecting Our Children," the stations coordinated an effort to prevent teen drug use.
"Protecting Our Children" is nominated in the "Societal Concerns: Program/Special" category. It's up against four other entries from News 12 New Jersey, WRNN-TV, NJTV and WNBC-TV, all located in the New York City metropolitan area. You can watch the special in its entirety on CNYCentral.com.
The full list of New York State Emmy Award nominees includes four more nods for Syracuse's PBS affiliate, as follows:
In a press release on the station's website, WCNY President and CEO Robert J. Daino said, "We are proud to be recognized by these Emmy nominations, which are a testament to the quality of the programming WCNY is dedicated to producing as Central New York’s only locally owned media company. Education and in-depth, balanced reporting are at the heart of what we do, whether it’s examining all sides of a community issue or documenting our region’s unique history.”
Winners will be announced at the 56th Annual New York Emmy Awards Gala. The black-tie event is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 15 at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. Tickets can be purchased for a mere $350 for New York NATAS members, and just $400 for non-members. All kidding aside, we wish our hometown nominees all the best, and we'll be hoping to hear more good news come mid-April!
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