UGA students, Furnad honored at DGK Banquet

UGA telecomm students, Furnad honored at DGK Banquet

Athens, Ga. – Three students from the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and a broadcast news veteran were honored recently during the annual DiGamma Kappa banquet.

Telecommunication students Laura Steele (ABJ ’08), Vanessa Ruffes and Seth Rikard received top student awards while Bob Furnad, a 40-year veteran of broadcast news, was named recipient of the 2009 DGK Distinguished Achievement Award in Broadcasting.

Steele, of Chamblee, and Ruffes, from Roswell, were recognized as the best broadcast interns in Georgia and were recipients of the Esther Award for outstanding performance in a radio or television internship. The Esther Award honors the late Esther S. Pruett, a staunch supporter of students and founding member of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters, sponsor of the award.

Steele graduated in December 2008 with degrees in telecommunication arts and marketing. After interning with PINK magazine and Turner Broadcasting, she began interning with All The Hits Q100, Atlanta’s #1 Top 40 radio station. During summer 2008, she worked in both the promotions and programming departments, learning departmental functions, how the two interact with each other and the sales department, and how to meet the needs of the station’s demographic both in studio and at events. Steele is currently employed with Q100.

Ruffes, a senior broadcast news major, interned at Channel 11 WXIA-TV, Atlanta’s NBC affiliate during summer 2008. She is currently interning at FOX 5 WAGA-TV, Atlanta. A Tallahassee, Fla. native, Ruffes will graduate in May with a minor in Spanish.Her career goal is to be a reporter.

Rikard, a senior telecommunication arts and international affairs major from Marietta, received the WSB Radio Award. The award is presented annually by Atlanta radio station, News/Talk 750 WSB, to a student who shows an outstanding commitment to community service and who plans to embark on a career in radio.

Rikard, who graduates in May, began his radio career at WYHC in Young Harris. His love and passion for the business developed into a career interest while working there. Since then he has worked at Kicks 101.5’s Atlanta’s Country Morning Show and Southern Broadcasting in Athens. He currently works for Cox Radio’s Athens cluster. He produces local news-talk and sports-talk programs, and UGA basketball and baseball games.Rikard’s on-air segments include the high school score board, Home Team program on 960 the Ref, and traffic on 106.1 WNGC. He also has been involved in community blood drives and several relief trips to Gulf Coast areas devastated by hurricanes.

The final recognition of the evening went to Bob Furnad, a retired broadcast veteran who covered seven presidents and 13 political conventions. Named recipient of DGK’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Broadcasting, Furnad adds the UGA honor to his two George Foster Peabody Awards, two Emmys and DuPont-Columbia Award.

Furnad spent 18 years at ABC, where his last position there was senior producer for Good Morning America. He joined CNN in 1983 as its first political director and rose to the position of executive vice president and senior executive producer. Furnad produced all live special event coverage including Gulf War I, the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Moscow revolt, the Moscow coup, Tiananmen Square and the Oklahoma City bombing.

His last three years at CNN, Furnad was president of CNN Headline News, CNN Radio, CNN Airport Network and CNN Newsource. He reorganized and re-launched Headline News, creating new work procedures utilizing the latest technologies resulting in lower costs and more resources for news gathering and creating production elements. He retired in January 2001 after 17 years at CNN.

Also, in 2001, Furnad worked on a television news project for the Kuwait government and, as part of Intelligent Media Consultants, worked with executives at the NDTV networks in India. That same year, he joined the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication as a visiting associate professor. He retired from UGA in May 2006.

DGK is the nation’s oldest student broadcast society and was founded at the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. For more information, see www.grady.uga.edu