Tag Archives: John Drury Awards

Jack Caldwell Covers The Super Bowl

WWPT-FM — Staples High School’s award-winning radio station — produces great sports broadcasters as regularly as the New England Patriots used to win Super Bowls.

Jack Caldwell is the latest in that long and storied line. He’s smooth and steady. He prepares well. He knows his stuff. He’s good.

In addition to play-by-play, he does music and news. This year’s, he’s WWPT’s executive director. In his spare time, he’s broadcast director for the student newspaper Inklings.

His sports cred comes naturally. He comes from a long line of baseball fans. His grandmother told stories of listening to Vin Scully call Brooklyn Dodgers games; together, Jack and she discussed their favorite (and least favorite) announcers.

His father Chris is in sports marketing. He’s worked at every Super Bowl since XXXIV (that was in 2000, for you non-sports fans). So Jack and his dad have never had a chance to watch the big game together.

This year — as an early graduation present — Chris took Jack to Minnesota. He tried to get 2 tickets, but wasn’t sure if he could. They decided they’d watch Super Bowl LII together — even if that meant doing it at the hotel.

Sunday morning, Jack’s dad surprised him with 2 tickets.

Jack Caldwell and his dad at the Super Bowl.

Before the game on Sunday morning, Jack attended an event with broadcast personalities Trey Wingo, Tony Romo and Cris Carter. After, he chatted with them. When he said he was an aspiring broadcaster, Romo and Carter posed for this photo with him.

You’ll notice Jack’s wearing his WWPT logowear. Fans were allowed to do “mock” broadcasts on a set at US Bank Stadium. This was Jack’s first broadcast ever with his father.

I’m not a betting guy, but I bet Jack’s broadcast was better than any other fan who stepped into that booth.

It was a working weekend for Jack. He watched and learned as much as he could.

WNBC reporter Bruce Beck — an avid WWPT-FM supporter and mentor — allowed Jack to shadow him as he worked.

On Saturday — despite 6 inches of snow — he explored many media sites, and visited the ESPN set. The Lombardi Trophy was there. Well, an ice sculpture replica of it, anyway.

As for the game: Jack’s a Jets fan; his dad likes the Lions. Going in, they were “reluctantly” rooting for the Eagles. But when the training scene from “Rocky II” was shown as Philadelphia’s hype video, they were won over for the night.

It was a fantastic weekend. There’s nothing like sharing the Super Bowl with your dad.

Especially when you can take a photo like this, moments after the final whistle.

BONUS STORY ON JACK CALDWELLAs a sophomore, knee surgery forced Jack into a wheelchair for 6  months.

His favorite sport to call is ice hockey. When the Wreckers made the state semifinals — at the “Yale Whale” arena — he worried he could not get to the press box.

WWPT friends and family helped him up, then helped him set up equipment. He called the game — an overtime Staples win.

That support meant a lot to Jack. It meant even more when that broadcast earned him a 2nd-place award in the national John Drury radio competition.

Last year, Jack and the station won honors in every Drury category they entered.

WWPT-FM faculty advisor Geno Heiter (left) and student broadcasters jump for joy after earning 12 John Drury Awards.

The Super Bowl — seeing media row and shadowing Bruce Beck — was a fantastic experience. Jack learned a lot about “real world media,” and looks forward to sharing that knowledge with everyone involved in media at Staples.

For his senior internship at May, he’ll work on the “Anna & Raven Show” on Star 99.9 FM. He hopes to study broadcast journalism in college (he will hear from schools in March).

After that — well, like other WWPT sportscasters, the sky’s the limit.

The Super Bowl was an important weekend, Jack says.

“I got to have a real fan experience,” he notes. “So if I begin to cover events for real in broadcasting, now they won’t seem as daunting.”

Radio And Robotics Raves

There are 12 categories in the John Drury High School Radio Awards.

Staples’ WWPT-FM was nominated in 7 of them — sometimes more than once.

Yesterday — at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois — they won 1st place in every category they were nominated for. The teenagers (and advisor Geno Heiter) snagged a total of 12 awards, in news, sports and public affairs.

Including the big one: Best High School Station in the Country.

The winners! WWPT-FM faculty advisor Geno Heiter is in shades and a beard, at right.

Congratulations to these Staples students — the next generation of radio stars:

1st Place
Best Newscast:
Cooper Boardman, Channing Smith (“WWPT News Update”)
Best Public Affairs Program: Jackson Valente, Jarod Ferguson (“A Better Chance ‘Social Justice’)
Best Radio Drama Adaptation: Staples Players and Audio Production classes, with support from WWPT (“Dracula”)
Best Sports Play-by-Play:  Cooper Boardman, Jack Caldwell (Football — Staples vs. Darien)
Best Sportscast: Buster Scher (“Knicks — Past 2 Seasons”)
Best Sportstalk Program:  Cooper Boardman and Jack Caldwell (Staples Field Hockey State Championship Show)
Best High School Station: WWPT-FM

2nd Place
Best Sports Play-by-Play:  Cooper Boardman (Basketball — Staples vs. Danbury)
Best Sportstalk Program:  Jack Caldwell (Interview with NHL announcer Chuck Kaiton)
Best Sportscast:  Luck McManus, Hunter Duffy (NASCAR championship interview)

3rd Place
Best Newscast: Zachary Halperin, Nieve Mahoney, Jack Moses (Politics — Election Reflection)
Best Sportscast:  George Goldstein, Sam Zaritsky (Fulmer Trade)

WWPT-FM faculty advisor Geno Heiter (left) and student broadcasters jump for joy after earning 12 John Drury Awards.

Also yesterday, Staples sophomores Nick Durkin, John McNab and Daniel Westphal, and freshman Nathan Wang won 5 awards — including 1st Place Overall — in the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center’s New England competition, in Sandwich, Massachusetts.

The quartet — competing as Team Curriodyssea, which is not affiliated with the high school — designed, built and programmed underwater remotely operated vehicles.

Team Curiodyssea members (from left) Daniel Westphal, Nathan Wang, John McNab and Nick Durkin.

Team Curriodyssea also won golds for Engineering Evaluation, Highest Score on the Underwater Challenges, Technical Report and Poster Display.

They advance to the international competition next month in Long Beach, California, where they’ll face 27 other teams from North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Sounds like a great story for WWPT!

Zito And Honeycutt Grab Radio Gold

It’s a good thing the Staples Media Lab is big. There’s room for TV production classes, a radio station and recording studio, plus plenty of high-tech equipment and offices.

Teachers and students need all that space to make magic. And, to store all the trophies they win for their work.

The latest hardware was handed out last weekend at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. As usual, Staples won several John Drury Awards — the country’s top honors for excellence in high school radio broadcasting.

But this year was extra special. Jim Honeycutt and Mike Zito were named Co-Faculty Advisors of the Year. It’s the 1st time a school has had 2 honorees — and it came just a few months before both legends retire.

The pair were cited for their long service to WWPT-FM; their cutting-edge work, and their contributions to the school and community. Nominating letters of support poured in from Staples athletic director Marty Lisevick, citing the duo’s work in creating robust sports coverage; assistant principal James Farnen, attesting to their dynamic classroom environment, and past and present students, describing the instructors’ sometimes life-changing impact.

Mike Zito and Jim Honeycutt (rear) stand with WWPT-FM's Jack Caldwell and Cooper Boardman -- and some Drury Award trophies. Behind them is a mural -- painted by Staples art students -- on the wall outside the Media Lab.

Mike Zito and Jim Honeycutt (rear) stand with WWPT-FM’s Jack Caldwell and Cooper Boardman (and some Drury Award trophies). Behind them is a mural — painted by Staples art students — on the wall outside the Media Lab.

Sunday’s awards ceremony was emotional, Zito admits. He and Honeycutt have known one each other since the 1970s — when neither was yet teaching.

Honeycutt was a musician, who built the sound system for Barnaby’s in Bridgeport. Zito was the DJ there.

“We were in and out of each other’s lives for years,” Zito says. “Then we had the good fortune of establishing the media department at Staples.”

He arrived at the high school 14 years ago, from Coleytown Middle School. Honeycutt — formerly a Long Lots Middle School social studies and Staples computer teacher — had already moved into TV, radio and recording instruction.

WWPT- FM has won many Drury Awards. In 2011, it was named best high school station in the US.

WWPT- FM has won many Drury Awards. In 2011, it was named best high school station in the US.

The Media Lab now encompasses WWPT-FM and the Staples Television Network — both after-school activities — and classes in TV, radio, film, audio production and graphics.

Broadcast coverage includes live sports events, Staples Players’ shows, Candlelight and other concerts, graduation, even elections.

“On Back to School Night and when we talk to 8th grade parents, we like to say that there are many ways kids can find their place at Staples,” Zito says. “Some do it in arts, athletics or science. Others find a home here.”

For he and Honeycutt, being honored for helping students feel comfortable — and discover a new passion, perhaps even their life’s work — is “a real nice cap to our own careers.”

But the teachers are just as proud of the other Drury Awards won last weekend.

Cooper Boardman, Adam Kaplan and Zach Edelman were honored for Best Sports Play-by-Play radio broadcast. It was not even a Staples game — the trio earned kudos for their work on the girls basketball state finals (Wilton vs. South Windsor) at Mohegan Sun.

Boardman arranged that coverage on one day’s notice.

Boardman, Edelman and Jacob Bonn came in 2nd, in the same category, for their broadcast of the Trumbull-Stamford FCIAC basketball championship.

In addition, Boardman placed 2nd (Best Sportstalk Program) for his interview of ESPN personality Jonathan Coachman; Boardman, Edelman and Bonn took 3rd for Best Sportscast (“WWPT Sports Update”). Jack Caldwell was a national finalist for his Sportstalk interview with hockey goaltender Mike Liut.

WWPT_logo

But wait! There’s more!

Honeycutt’s Audio class and David Roth’s Theater 3 class took both 1st and 2nd place for “Best Radio Drama – Adaptation.” They were cited for parts I and II of “A Christmas Carol.”

Finally, WWPT was runnerup for Best Radio Station in the country. It’s the 6th consecutive year the FM outlet was either 1st, 2nd or 3rd.

It was quite a weekend for WWPT, and their advisors. So what’s ahead for the duo, once they retire in June?

Honeycutt will enjoy his grandchildren, who live nearby.

Zito and his wife head to Austin, Texas. “It’s a great music town,” he notes. “I hope to get into radio there.”

He will not win any more Drury Awards. But SXSW — watch out!

To watch the award-winning live radio adaptation of “A Christmas Carol,” click below.

 

 

Wrecker Radio Rocks

Anyone who has listened to WWPT-FM broadcast a Staples soccer, football or basketball game knows:  It’s like no other high school radio station in the nation.

Now the rest of the country knows it too.

Yesterday, at the John Drury Awards in Illinois, “Wrecker Radio” earned several huge honors.

DJ Sixsmith’s sportstalk show was named the best in the US.  So was his daily sports update show, in the “Best Sportscast” category.

There were 3 individual 2nd place finishes:  Eric Gallanty for “Best Public Affairs Program”; Sixsmith, Ben Meyers and Jake Chernok for “Best Sports Play by Play,” and Gallanty for his sportscast.

Finishing 3rd were Gallanty and Sixsmith –twice.  One award was for their play-by-play of last Thanksgiving’s Staples-Greenwich football game; the other, for their sportstalk show.

Brendan Rand was a finalist for 2 separate newscasts.

And The Big One, for which the entire staff (and school)  should be proud:  WWPT-FM was named the 2nd Best High School Radio Station in the Country.

You won’t hear a lot of chest-thumping about those awards on Wrecker Radio.  The high school students are too professional for that.

So we’ll do it for them.  

As your motto says:  Don’t stop the music.

Or the sports.  Or news.

Congratulations to all at WWPT-FM!

Celebrating yesterday at the John Drury Awards ceremony (from left): Mike Zito, Eric Gallanty, DJ Sixsmith, Brendan Rand and Jake Chernok.






Wrecker Radio A Winner

WWPTWWPT-FM — “Wrecker Radio,” the Staples station — has limited range.  But its signal is making waves across the country.

PT’s student broadcasters were named finalists for 5 John Drury Awards.  Nominees and winners for Druries — the most prestigious high school radio achievements in America — are chosen by Chicago broadcast professionals.

In the final 5 are:

  • Best Sports Talk Program:  DJ Sixsmith, Mike Nussbaum and Eric Gallanty (Two Guys and a “Gal”)
  • Best Sportscast:   Eric Gallanty (Sportscast Update)
  • Best Radio Drama Adaptation:  David Roth’s acting class and Jim Honeycutt’s audio production class  (A Christmas Carol)
  • Best News Feature Story:  Mike Friedson and Naveen Murali (The Challenge)
  • Best Sports Play by Play:  Ryan Crofts, Eric Stefenson and Brendan Rand (Staples vs. St. Joseph basketball)

Thanks to success in these categories, WWPT is now in the running for Best High School Radio Station in the country.  Winners will be announced November 7.