Students return from IBS Conference with trophies and rewarding networking experience

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Students return from IBS Conference with trophies and rewarding networking experience

Photo: Jennifer Ives

Photo: Jennifer Ives

Photo: Jennifer Ives

Photo: Jennifer Ives


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By Jessie Kuenzel
Staff Writer

Over the first few days of spring break, while most of us were catching up on sleep and Netflix, twelve members of the Simmons College radio station headed down to New York City for the annual Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) Conference at the Hotel Pennsylvania.

The conference—a three-day affair with panels, live music, and station tours attended by college and high school radio stations from across the country—culminates every year in an award ceremony that recognizes and honors outstanding radio shows and stations.

Students and shows that were nominated included Harry Donnell and Maria Rolsal’s “The Umbrella Press” for the “Best Talk Radio” category; Lisa Nault and Jennifer Ives’ “Shark Stage” for “Best Radio Drama”; and Lisa Nault, Ellen Garnett, and Marjorie-Sarah Atkinson’s “Mix and Match with MEL” for “Best Specialty Show.”

IBS also includes awards for Radio Station management, where Simmons students Caroline Qualey and Danielle Annecston were nominated for “Best Student Manager” and “Best Program Director,” respectively.

Simmons College Radio: The Shark was also nominated as one of seven in the “Best College/University Station (Under 10,000 Students)” category.

Despite tough competition in all categories, The Shark’s “Mix and Match with MEL” won in its category, and took home Simmons’ first victory in several years.

“We’ve been doing mix and match for three semesters,” said co-host Lisa Nault. “This is our second time being nominated and our first time winning, which is very exciting for us. While winning the award was a great experience, we did feel the absence of our other co-host Ellen Garnett, who is studying abroad; having her there would have made the experience complete.”

Nault, who is spending the semester at Marlboro College to  participate in the Movies from Marlboro program, made the long trip from Vermont to New York City to be with her station members during the conference even though Marlboro College’s spring break occurs a full week later than Simmons’.

“It was a really important accomplishment and we’re so happy for the honor,” said Marjorie-Sarah Atkinson, the other “Mix and Match” co-host who was in attendance over the weekend. “But all of our fellow nominees are just as outstanding in their own categories and we’re proud to be members of Simmons College Radio: The Shark with them.”

“The Umbrella Press,” which has since been renamed to “The Umbrella Project” since its IBS nomination, unfortunately did not take home a winning trophy this year, but co-host Harry Donnell was happy for the experience and honor regardless.

“It was cool to be nationally recognized,” said Donnell. “It felt like people cared about our show, and it was nice to know that we’re getting our message out there in a way that’s being appreciated.”

Donnell also made the most of the full days of the many panels and discussions that are held in the Hotel Pennsylvania’s many conference rooms. “I thought that the panels were really helpful,” said Donnell. “It was an interesting experience to talk to other creative industry people. It was cool to share ideas and I got to network with some people who I’m hoping to do some cross-station promotions with in the future. I hope that we get to make some cool stuff out of incidentally meeting by happening to be in the same room at the same time. It was a good energy.”

Even though not all students who attended the conference with Simmons were individually nominated for awards, group activities made the weekend an enjoyable event for all.

“I liked that I got to bond with the rest of the radio staff and get to know them better,” said Simran Gupta, a co-host of “Sunday Bedhead,” which airs on Sundays  at 11 a.m.

With seven nominations over all, more than Simmons has ever held in the past, and the first win since 2013, it’s safe to say that The Shark and its members brought back with them from New York a lot for the college to be proud of.

Be sure to tune in and listen to one of the top radio stations in the country, Simmons College Radio: The Shark, at tunein.com/radio/Simmons-College-s135000.