Late last month when the Alabama Broadcasters Association handed out its annual “Best in Broadcasting Awards,” dedicated to honoring the year’s best in television and radio, our local TV news stations took home a few prestigious awards.

As the battle for ratings supremacy rages on between Mobile’s three television stations, WPMI-TV — long considered the upstart to “legacy” stations WKRG-TV and WALA-TV — landed two impressive “Abbys,” as the awards are known. The biggest of those was “Best Newscast in Alabama,” the contest’s premier award. Local15 also took home another one of the biggest awards when reporter Christian Jennings’ coverage of police shootings in Baton Rouge won the “Best Hard News Story” Abby. The story was unusual in that Jennings broadcast from Baton Rouge.

“We are grateful to be recognized by our peers for this outstanding recognition for our news coverage, and we will keep fighting to earn the respect and trust of our viewers in the Mobile-Pensacola market,” said Robert Totsch, general manager/market director for Mobile-Pensacola. “We are committed to our viewers by alerting and protecting, along with being a watchdog for the people. A recent example of this commitment came on the morning of April 3. During one of the first severe weather events of the spring we stayed with storm coverage to its conclusion. During the height of the storm our competitors broke away for paid programming and food segments on a lifestyle show.”

WKRG-TV took home three Abbys — the most of any local station. Reporter J.B. Biunno was recognized as the state’s top reporter. He also helped WKRG take home the “Sports Reporting” Abby for his interview with Pensacola-based boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. and a look back at the controversial 1988 Olympic boxing championship, where it is widely acknowledged Jones was “robbed” of a gold medal because of rigged judging in favor of the host country’s boxer. And the station’s chief meteorologist, Alan Sealls, won the “Weather Anchor” Abby, adding to his ever-growing box of accolades.

WALA-TV’s Kati Weis took home the “Best Investigative Reporter” Abby for her story, “Fox10 New Investigates: Testing the Waters, Part 1 and Part 2.” In this report, Weis tested water from local water systems and public parks, and also got results from both Baldwin and Mobile county schools’ testing of some of their older facilities. While the overwhelming majority of the testing showed no problems locally, Weis did discover one house in Bayou La Batre with a lead level twice the legal limit.
The Abbys were awarded Saturday, March 25, at the Hyatt Regency in Hoover.

More awards
JJPR, a Daphne-based public relations firm, recently took home five Medallion Awards, including “Best of Show,” from the Public Relations Council of Alabama.

The awards ceremony, recognizing outstanding work in the PR field, was held April 4 in Birmingham.

JJPR won “Best of Show” and a Medallion Award for work done for the Haint Blue Brewing Co. in Mobile. The agency also received an award for work done with Baldwin County Economic Development, Children’s of Alabama and Innovation PortAL.

“We’re honored to be able to produce award-winning work for our clients,” said JJPR President Jennifer Jenkins, APR. “Our clients inspire us — the collaboration and partnership we have with them drives our creativity and desire to help them succeed.”