Local television station nominated for Emmy award

Amy Reinhardt

The local public television station KTWU received an Emmy nomination in the lighting category for its annual production of Washburn University Holiday Vespers in 2014.

This is not the first time KTWU has been nominated. KTWU developed a partnership with the Washburn music department and the Washburn Foundation in 2009.

“It’s really a team effort and we wouldn’t be able to do it without the music department and the support of the Washburn Foundation,” Williams said.

The first Holiday Vespers performance occurred in 2010 for which KTWU received its first Emmy nomination. The station has been nominated every year since the program commenced.

The two individuals nominated in 2014 were Eugene Williams, CEO and General Manager of KTWU, and Bryan Lewis, a contract worker and lighting specialist for Holiday Vespers.

The annual Holiday Vespers celebrates the winter holiday season with a program of seasonal songs recorded live at White Concert Hall on the campus of Washburn University. The Washburn choirs, singers and orchestra perform during the annual program.

“We spend an inordinate amount of hours working on [Holiday Vespers] production-wise, but the real credit goes to the music department,” Williams said.

It takes Williams and Lewis 8-10 hours to get all the lighting set up for the Holiday Vespers program and 7-10 hours to program everything. Williams looks at every song and then decides the appropriate color scheme and pace for each.

“When you’re doing holiday stuff you don’t want to be too over-the-top, but you also don’t want to be too subtle either,” Williams said.

The KTWU station has won multiple Emmys that recognize several staff members from different departments.

The Heartland Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences made the nomination. This non-profit organization, founded in 1947, recognizes outstanding achievement while raising the industry’s standards to improve the quality of television.

The Emmy awards gala will be held Saturday, July 18 in Denver at the Seawell Grand Ballroom and in Oklahoma City at the Oklahoma History Center.

“I try to get as many people at the station to go as possible so they can get a feel for what other stations are doing and the content they’re working on,” Williams said.

This October the KTWU station will celebrate its 50th anniversary and Williams is happy to continue the tradition of being nominated.

“I expect me and the station to be nominated every year because what it does is it forces us to enhance the caliber of work that we do,” Williams said.

KTWU was the first public television station in Kansas and has been in existence for five decades. The station reaches 1.6 million viewers through its broadcasts in eastern Kansas and parts of Nebraska, Missouri and Oklahoma.

For more information, visit www.ktwu.org or call 785-670-1111.