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Radio Production Students Earn Top Honors in National Competition

Three SUNY Plattsburgh students took first-,  second- and third-place prizes in a public service announcement competition designed to draw attention to the importance of giving monetary donations in response to international disasters.

The Center for International Disaster Information hosted the contest — Public Service Announcements for International Disasters, or PSAid — asking students from across the country to create radio and print public service announcements that demonstrate how the giving of cash, rather than in-kind donations, is the most efficient and effective way to help international disaster victims.

Audio-radio production students Kyle Egna, James Switser and Valerie Ashline were chosen as the top three winners in the radio category.

Egna, a sophomore from Niskayuna, N.Y., majoring in audio production, won the first place award of $3,000 for his PSA, “Cash is Best to Help Disaster Victims.”

Switser, a junior audio production major from Plattsburgh, placed second, earning a $1,500 prize for his PSA, “Roving Reporter Paul.”

Ashline, a senior from Plattsburgh majoring in audio production, placed third, earning $750 for her entry, “Show That You Care.”

Prizes awarded go directly to the students, said Timothy Clukey, associate professor in communication studies.

“I rearranged my syllabus in advanced radio production so that we would be covering material relating to properly crafting public service announcements,” Clukey said. “Students completed their projects with CIDI as their target client.”

Clukey didn’t mandate his students submit their work, “but I highly encouraged it. The PSAid contest was open to students on a nationwide basis, and I was very pleased that our audio students took out all the top audio/radio entries.”

Juanita Rilling, director of CIDI, said the organization wants to “satisfy the public’s hunger to maximize their support of relief operations after international disasters. The students did a great job of explaining that to do good in the right way means making monetary contributions to credible, established relief agencies. I’m thrilled that all PSAid competitors understood this message and conveyed it so clearly, particularly as the world continues to reach out to those affected by unimaginable disasters in recent months.”

Egna, Switser and Ashline were among the five finalists in each category to compete for public votes online. They were selected as finalists from about 60 entries received from students at colleges and universities nationwide. Winners were chosen based on the combined input from both the public vote and a panel of judges.

“The contest results attest to the fact that our audio/radio production students are top-notch,” Clukey said. “Advance students such as these have learned to move beyond the mechanical aspects of production to focus on incorporating elements of artistry as well as properly impacting a target audience.

“I’m glad to see our students achieve such success as undergraduates,” he said. “These types of events can help assure them that their hard work and efforts have a payoff, and I’m sure that even more success awaits them upon graduation. In these tough economic times, it was nice to see so many students win such a large amount of money, and I’m sure the students will put it to good use.”

In addition to the cash prizes, winners may have their PSA distributed nationally. The winners and all entries can be viewed at www.psaid.org.

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