Note: This is a past article from September 12, 2016
You can find the current Las Vegas Society News article HERE
By Dr. Adele Zorn
Eric Bonnici Executive Director NVBF and Mary Beth Sewald NVBA President and
The 21st Annual Nevada Broadcasters Association (NVBA)
and Foundation (NVBF) HALL OF FAME GALA–recognizing and showcasing
excellence in Nevada's radio and television industry was a momentous
celebration. The Gala was
held at the Four Seasons Hotel.
Hall of Fame
NVBA Awards were:
Award: NV Governor Brian Sandoval and Kathleen Sandoval
Award: Senator Gordon
Smith, President & CEO, NAB
Achievement Awards: Emily Neilson and Paula Francis
Honors: Tony Sacca and the late
Broadcasters (39) Inductees
The Nevada Broadcasters Association is dedicated to protecting,
promoting, enhancing and strengthening Nevada’s broadcast industry. As a
lobbying organization, NVBA seeks to educate Nevada's local, state and
federal officials and other community leaders about the issues, concerns and
challenges Broadcasters face. The NVBA also serves as Nevada’s voice for
Homeland Security, Public Warnings and Nevada's Voice for AMBER Alert.
The evening started with a Cocktail Reception and
Silent Auction. All money raised at
the Hall of Fame Silent and Live Auctions goes directly to support the
(NVBF) Nevada Broadcasters Foundation’s Tony and Linda Bonnici Broadcasting Scholarship Fund. This
scholarship is unique in that it is a scholarship by Broadcasters for
the very best broadcasting and journalism students in Nevada and empowers
them to pursue their dream by awarding scholarships. The Broadcasting
Scholarship Fund provides up to full tuition scholarships to students
attending Nevada’s Colleges and Universities. Eighty-five (85) scholarships
have been awarded over the past six (6) years to talented and dedicated
students of Broadcasting in Nevada. The Class of 2016 was presented and
filled the stage along with the very capable and passionate
NVBF founders – Tony Bonnici,
(President) Linda Bonnici (Vice-President) and
Eric Bonnici (Executive Director).
Linda and Tony Bonnici with 2016 NVBF Scholarship Recipients
Kristine Anderson NV Broadcasters Foundation
Nevada Army National Guard
entered the main ballroom for dinner, program and ceremonies. All stood in
allegiance for the National Anthem beautifully sung by Staff Sergeant
Michael Rusell of the Nevada Army National
M.C. Chet Buchanan
Caroline Beasley CEO and CFO Beasley Media Group
Buchanan, KLUC FM Las Vegas was Master of Ceremonies. He introduced Mary
Beth Sewald, President, CEO Nevada Broadcaster Association who spoke and
welcomed everyone. Next, Todd Brown, Chairman
of NVBA Board of Directors talked about the NVBA. Caroline Beasley CEO, CFO of NV
Beasley Media Group and the National Beasley Network was next to speak.
The Honorary Awards were then presented. Each of the
Honorary Awardees had a video shown about them with esteemed notables
praising their efforts. They were
then introduced by a distinguished well-known individual before they took
the stage and were awarded their prized award.
Each spoke and had the opportunity to express themselves.
Governor Brian Sandoval and Mrs. Kathleen Sandoval awards speech
President’s Award – Governor Brian Sandoval and First
Lady Kathleen Sandoval. Both spoke and were thrilled with their award. Kathleen is Director of Operation for
the Children’s Cabinet and feels so blessed she is able to work with and
Pinnacle Award – Gordon H. Smith NAB President and
CEO. Senator Harry Reid introduced him with glowing adjectives, although
during the time both were Senators they were political adversaries on
Senator Harry Reid introduces Hon. Gordon Smith Pinnacle Awardee
Gordon Smith - Pinnacle Award
Both Reid and Smith had their lives complicated by the
serious issue of suicide. Reid thanked Gordon Smith for his innovation in
bringing this issue that is not usually talked about into public awareness.
This helps in many ways and may even prevent suicide and if not, may help
those in its aftermath.
Gordon spoke, received a
standing ovation and thanked all for his Award.
Tony Sacca - honoree with Josette Leblond and Dr. Adele Zorn
Honoree Special Honors was awarded toTony Sacca for 50 years in Show
Biz. Since 1988 Tony has been on Television and has produced over 1200
episodes featuring hundred of celebrity interviews and more on his shows
“Entertainment Las Vegas Style A look Back” and “Classic Vegas
Entertainment”- both airing locally and nationally. His theme song is “Las
Vegas The Greatest Town Around” which Tony wrote.
Tony told about his background and thanked many who helped.
Honoree Special Honors was awarded to the late Rich
Abajian General Manager and Co-owner of Findlay
Toyota. Rich Abajian had suddenly passed
away February 2016. His amazing Life Story was told and was combined with
sadness and humor. His accomlishments and humanitarism would make a lifetime story for more than
one person. Television commercials with John Barr were clever and funny and
“I will do anything to sell you a Car” became retained by the public. Rich
Abajian’s wife was called onstage to receive his
Rich Abajian - posthumously honored
Emily Neilson - Lifetime Achievement Award
Two remarkable women Emily Thomas Neilson and Paula
Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree Emily Thomas Neilson.
KLAS Chief Investigative Reporter and Anchor admirably introduced Emily and
told some stories about her.
Neilson is now retired from KLAS after 35 years. She told how she rose
through the ranks from secretary to President and General Manager of CBS
Affiliate KLAS TV. Her emphasis was mostly in the news department. Under
Emily’s leadership she launched the first local television website in the
U.S. and started the first Investigative Unit resulting in four prestigious
national awards for the station and its team.
Achievement Award Honoree Paula Francis Anchor KLAS TV
Gary Waddell introduces honoree Paula Francis
Paula Francis - Lifetime Achievement Award
Paula Francis and Husband
Gary Wadell retired KLAV long term Anchor delightfully told
some stories about the time they worked together He then introduced Paula
acceptance speech told about her experiences at KLAS and how she feels
broadcasting the news with true facts is a privilege.
Best TV Anchor in Las Vegas and called “The Face of Channel 8” during the 28
years she was on KLAS TV. Paula
served as Anchor, Reporter, Host, started Buddy Check 8 campaign for Breast
Cancer Awareness and has received many humanitarian wards for her community
involvement. Paula gave some good advice to those now in the business of
Broadcasting and thanked many who had helped her. I’ve known and admired
Paula Francis ever since she was Paula Dilworth on Channel 13. Her
naturalness and smiling face has created her popularity and longevity with
the public. Paula retired in April from KLAS and is really missed by the
Station and the Public.
and Awards continued between individual dinner courses that were presented
in exceptionally unique arrangements and all extremely delicious.
Cucumber wrapped Baby Greens Salad with Spiced Poached Pears,
Roasted Apples, Almond Brittle and
Duet Entrée: Soy Mirain Glazed Salmon and Baby Bok Choy
Red Wine Braised Short Rib, Grilled
Vegetables and Whipped Potatoes
Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake
Dark Chocolate and Caramel Sauce
Cinnamon Ice Cream
Then it was
time for the
39 Nevada Broadcasters to
be inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of
Fame. Each inductee has served broadcasting a minimum of 20
years, with 5 of those years in Nevada. Each inductee was called onstage,
given their award, and had their picture taken with NVBA President Mary Beth
Chuck N. Baker - one of the 39 Broadcasters inducted into the Hall of Fame
Former Nevada Governor and U.S. Senator Richard Bryan and Dr. Adele Zorn
names of the 39 inductees for me to mention in this article, however a
beautiful booklet had all Inductees and Awards pictures and Bio included.
I do want to
mention a particular Inductee Bob Fisher
. In 1994 Robert Bob Fisher was the first full time professional
President and CEO of the Nevada Broadcasters Association
until his retirement in 2014. Many significant achievements occurred
under his leadership that still continue.
John Daly and Dr. Adele Zorn
Inductee, John Daly who no longer lives
in Nevada but was a very popular and significant Nevada Broadcaster. In
1990, John became KTNV-TV 13 Las Vegas Main News Anchor and
Managing Editor. Under his leadership and innovative
broadcasting, KTNV ratings jumped from last place to a competitive second
place. Although living back East
with his lovely wife Teri, John (very handsome) is still very much involved
in Broadcasting venues.
inductees, an amazing amount of Broadcasters from different areas of Nevada
attended and were recognized.
Unfortunately, many Broadcasters had passed since the
last Gala and a Memorial Video
was shown to acknowledge
An exciting Live Auction had fabulous items including
an adorable puppy dog and brought in $44,550 for the Nevada Broadcasters
Auction winner of puppy dog
And so ended
an incredible evening dedicated to BROADCASTERS.