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Local radio feature takes first place in inaugural Texas Broadcast News Awards

 Texas Association of Broadcasters President Oscar Rodriguez presents KETR-FM General Manager Jerrod Knight with a plaque recognizing The Blacklands Café as the top small-market example of Multimedia/Digital Storytelling.
Texas Association of Broadcasters
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Texas Association of Broadcasters President Oscar Rodriguez presents KETR-FM General Manager Jerrod Knight with a plaque recognizing The Blacklands Café as the top small-market example of Multimedia/Digital Storytelling.

The Blacklands Café from 88.9 KETR, hosted by John Mark Dempsey, was recognized as the best example of Multimedia/Digital Storytelling among medium- and small-market stations in Texas.

The Texas Broadcast News Awards recognize outstanding local broadcast journalism produced by member Radio and TV stations serving local communities throughout the state and take the place of the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Awards which were discontinued.

88.9 KETR is proud to have been recognized with dozens of awards over many decades from the TAPB Awards, most of which are on full display for visitors who wonder into the station's studio complex in Binnion Hall on the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus.

The Blacklands Café is promoted as "a coffee shop of the airwaves," a daily dose of trivia and odd holiday recognition coupled with a short but informative visit with one of, as Dempsey calls them, "some of the most interesting people in Northeast Texas." Beyond the feature, heard weekday mornings, the program is also a podcast, boasts a web presence with photos, links, and references to discussion topics, and exists as a Facebook Group where members explore issues of the day, large and small.

"It's always nice to be recognized for good work," says Dempsey, who serves as host and producer. "I really have to thank all of our regular guests whose personalities and voices are already familiar to many people in Northeast Texas for making the Blacklands Café the 'virtual coffee shop of the air.' And also those who contribute to our Blacklands Cafe Facebook group."

"This award, and the many like it over these many years, continue to underscore what we know: that the work we're creating at 88.9 KETR is on par with the best in the state," says station General Manager Jerrod Knight. "Very glad to see The Blacklands Café deservedly recognized this way."

Knight joined broadcasters from around the state as they came together in-person to celebrate the winners on Saturday, April 9 at the Westin Austin at the Domain.

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