Journalism and digital media program wins in intercollegiate broadcast awards

The WRDL radio station newly renovated in 2020.

Submitted by: WRDL FM

The WRDL radio station newly renovated in 2020.


In early March, the intercollegiate broadcasting system or IBS awards were announced for projects done in 2020. Though there was no ceremony due to the pandemic, Ashland still received two first place awards for radio and television. 

The IBS awards are a nationally ranked organization that judges work submitted by schools across the country one time annually per year.

“We joined this organization called the intercollegiate broadcasting system based out of New York,” chair of the journalism and digital media department Dr. Dave McCoy said. “We wanted to be able to gauge ourselves on the progress of what we were doing at WRDL and AU TV-20.”

Not only did Ashland win two awards, they were also finalists in many others. To be a finalist for any award, the IBS committee would have to choose your school in the top five of each category.

“The awards that we placed in this year as finalists was the best public affairs programming, best documentary, best newscast, best use of social media, best use of video in a radio studio which won first place,” general manager of 88.9-FM WRDL and professor Derek Wood said. 

These awards have helped the program in many ways that include validation for current students and recruiting for future students of Ashland.

“We wanted to show the students who are currently in the program that what you are doing here is good, and stacking up well against others,” McCoy said. “You’re also showing the administration of the university that this program is valid and that the co-cirricular media is a valid enterprise and deemed worthy.” 

Recruiting for smaller universities can be difficult, but the department uses these awards to expand their name and raise the rank of the program so more students are interested in enrolling.

“For me it’s always about recruiting. It’s the ability to show those high school juniors and seniors and their parents that we were the only college television station in Ohio to win an award at IBS, which is a national competition,” McCoy said. “In fact, that television show is the number one talk show of any college talk show in the country.”

For AU-TV-20, their award was for best television talk program with Eagle’s Eye. For WRDL, their award was for best use of video in the radio studio that showcased the work that was done over break.

“This is the second first place award that WRDL has won. I won a first place award when I was a student for best women’s basketball play-by-play,” Wood said. “When it is a programming effort, I think it speaks a little more to what the students are capable of. But a promotional effort was a video we could use to generate a buzz about the studio being remodeled.”

Director of broadcasting and operations John Skrada shot the video that won the award and did not even know they were nominated until they had already won.

“I’ll be totally honest with you, I didn’t even know he submitted it. I was just doing it for you guys to look forward to coming back and that this is all going to change,” Skrada said. 

With the department constantly updating equipment and looking for ways to improve, the Ashland University journalism and digital media department looks forward to upcoming chances to keep their name in the award books. 

“We’re adding more with the jib arm and the opens look real nice now and the graphics are really clean,” Skrada said. “Maybe they will submit another one cause if that one won then any of our shows can.”