Phil Farrar
KOGO reporter Phil Farrar

San Diego radio station Newsradio 600 KOGO has been honored by the Radio Television Digital News Association with a 2022 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award in the large market radio newscast category for Region 2, which covers California, Hawaii and Nevada.

KOGO was the only radio or TV station in San Diego to win a regional RTDNA Murrow award. Regional winners will be advanced to the national competition.

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KOGO’s award was presented for an entry called “KOGO News with Phil Farrar.” Farrar, who relocated to San Diego from Chicago, has worked in the local market since 1992 as a TV anchor, reporter and sportscaster. He joined KOGO in 1997.

A statement by the judges said: “Anchor Phil Farrar smoothly weaved critical, energetic and factual words. Along with his fellow broadcast journalists, they presented an up tempo, moving, relevant, accurate newscast filled with the latest information that covered COVID, other health matters, crime, those pesky robo calls, where to find the best dining in San Diego along with traffic and weather reports.”

“KOGO and the staff are proud to now be considered for a Murrow award on a national level,” said Farrar.

“We are all very proud and very thankful for Phil,” said Cliff Albert, KOGO news director.

The Murrow awards recognize the best in electronic journalism produced by radio, television and digital news organizations worldwide. RTDNA will announce more than 700 regional awards in 14 regions through the end of May. National winners will be announced in summer 2022.

Health Care Communicators Present Annual Awards

The Health Care Communicators of Southern California, a professional networking group, recently presented its Finest Awards recognizing excellence in healthcare marketing and advertising campaigns.

Keith Darce and Steve Carpowich, both public relations managers at Scripps Health, were named Communicators of the Year for their COVID-related communications efforts. The two responded to more than 1,000 media inquiries that resulted in 4,330 impressions and reached an estimated 3 billion people.

Gold, Silver and Bronze awards were presented in 38 categories, including public relations, advertising, digital marketing, writing, collateral and special events. Organizers said 111 entries were received from organizations throughout San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Tri-City Medical Center received 22 awards and Scripps Health took home 12 awards. Other multiple-award winners included University of California San Diego Health (seven awards), Millennium Health (seven awards), Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego (six awards) and Lagrant Communications (five awards).

Four awards apiece went to Loma Linda University, Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Centers and The Super Dentists. Lifesharing won three awards.

Single award winners included American Specialty Health Inc., California Schools, Reveille Inc. and City of Hope Orange County, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego State University School of Public Health, Scripps Research, TrueCare, UC San Diego Health Sciences and Westbound Communications.

Tri-City received the Best in Show award after achieving the highest overall score among all entries.

In a statement, Tri-City said its recent marketing campaigns focused on its 60th anniversary celebration. Anniversary-related marketing projects included “Pockets of Awesome” exhibits, which included photographic art of Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista, as well as “Heroes Live Here” displays that highlighted the work of doctors, nurses and staff.

“The pandemic elevated the public’s awareness of the heroes who have answered the call to care for others,” said Aaron Byzak, chief external affairs officer at Tri-City. “These projects allowed us to honor them and the communities we serve. I am proud of the small but mighty team in external affairs who brought these projects to life.”

Members of the networking group include communications professionals who work in the health care, wellness, biotech, medical device, health information technology and pharmaceutical industries in San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange counties, as well as the Inland Empire.

ALS Association Prepares for Live-Stream Fundraiser Broadcast

The ALS Association in San Diego will present a three-hour, live-stream web TV broadcast of its 2022 Fiesta fundraising dinner starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18. Viewers watching on will include supporters who cannot attend the in-person, fundraiser to be held at the Valley View Casino & Hotel in San Diego’s North County’s Valley Center community.

“The show will be quite a production with red-carpet-style live interviews of attendees, dignitaries and sponsors, along with event commentary and a live broadcast of the event program and speakers,” said Steve Becvar, ALS Association executive director. “We’re excited about it and anxious at the same time.”

Becvar believes the option of offering an online viewing experience to watch an in-person event is a phenomenon other nonprofits will duplicate in the future as a way to increase participation to pre-COVID levels.

“We considered a lot of factors before making the decision to add a live TV broadcast to our in-person event,” Becvar said. “ALS is such a crippling disease that prevents mobility. This progressive and terminal disease takes away the ability to walk, dress, write, speak, eat and breathe. Every 90 minutes someone is diagnosed with ALS, and every 90 minutes someone loses their battle to this fatal disease.

“So, a live broadcast is our way of inviting those families living with ALS the opportunity to be part of the event without being there in person.”

ALS officials are expecting the online audience will greatly outnumber the expected 200 in-person attendees. Tickets to attend are priced at $500 per person or $4,000 for a table of eight seats.

Jane Mitchell doused with beer in 2005 celebration
Jane Mitchell is doused with beer after the Padres clinch the division in 2005.

Hosting the ALS broadcast will be Emmy Award winner Jane Mitchell, a veteran San Diego broadcast journalist. A native San Diegan (she was 1980 Miss Coronado), Mitchell covered the San Diego Padres as an on-air talent for Cox Communications’ Channel 4 San Diego during a 15-year run.

From 1997 to 2011, she also was the producer and on-air host of “One on One with Jane Mitchell,” a monthly TV show that featured interviews with San Diego’s top sports figures from young stars to Hall of Fame members. After 100 episodes and 27 Emmy awards, the show ended in 2011, when the Padres switched game broadcast TV rights from Cox to Fox Sports’ regional network.

Mitchell is a longtime supporter of the ALS Association. Her father, J. Wallace Mitchell, a retired Navy commander known as “Wally,” was diagnosed with ALS in 1991. Wally passed away in 1994 at age 74.

From 2004 to 2012, Jane served as board chair for the local ALS chapter. She was honored at the 2016 ALS Fiesta fundraising dinner with a lifetime achievement award. Today, she serves on the chapter’s Advisory Council.

In addition to conducting interviews before the dinner program starts around 7 p.m., Mitchell will walk around during the poolside reception highlighting the Mariachi band, the silent auction and scenic Valley Center vistas.  

Also planning to conduct interviews with sponsors during the ALS broadcast will be Melissa McElvain, ALS director of development. The presenting sponsor of the 2022 Fiesta is Carlsbad-based Ionis, a pharmaceutical company.

The ALS broadcast also will include information about support and advocacy services provided by the ALS Association and details about future ALS fundraisers, including the group’s Greater San Diego Walk to Defeat ALS in October.

Emcee of the ALS dinner program will be broadcasting personality Ted Leitner, recently named to the San Diego Padres’ Hall of Fame. Leitner was the primary play-by-play radio voice for the baseball club from 1980 through 2020. He has been a broadcaster for 43 years in San Diego and continues to be the voice of San Diego State University Aztec football and basketball.

Dinner speakers will include Steve Fisher, retired San Diego State University basketball coach, and Todd Witt, who is living with ALS. Fisher’s son Mark, who serves in a basketball coaching role at San Diego State University, was diagnosed with ALS in 2011.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain and the spinal cord. There is no cure, cause or no life-prolonging treatments for ALS, often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the New York Yankee baseball player who passed away from ALS at age 37 in 1941.

Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which usually leads to total paralysis. Life expectancy for a person with ALS is within two to five years of diagnosis of initial symptoms.

PRSA to Discuss Strategic Planning

The Public Relations Society of America’s San Diego-Imperial Counties chapter will host a webinar on “Why You Need to Create a Strategic Plan” from noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, May 18, over Zoom.

Discussion topics will include components of a strategic plan, the value of research and how a plan will boost your credibility in the C-suite.

Panel members will include Matt Nagel, chief communications and marketing officer, University of California San Diego; Cheryl Robinson, director of special communications and marketing projects, UCSD; and Arturo Garcia, manager of marketing and communications, Museum of Photographic Arts. The moderator will be Anne Buckley, UCSD.

Cost to attend the webinar is free for members, $15 for nonmembers.

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.