DCTV Honors the Best at Viewers' Choice Ceremony

The Washington Informer Wins in Sports Category

Barrington M. Salmon | 6/24/2013, 2:17 p.m. | Updated on 6/26/2013, 3 p.m.
Tsedey Aragie was recognized by public access channel DCTV with two awards for excellence: New Producer of the Year and ...
Denise Rolark Barnes, publisher of The Washington Informer, accepts an award at the DCTV Viewers' Choice Awards on June 22, 2013. The Informer was recognized for an interview marking the resurgence of boxing in the District of Columbia.

Tsedey Aragie always knew she wanted to work on documentaries and feature films and this past weekend, she reaped the rewards of her hard work.

Aragie, born in the District and raised in New Jersey, was recognized by public access channel DCTV with two awards for excellence: New Producer of the Year and Innovative Program of the Year for creativity, production quality and audience impact.

“I was surprised I got an award,” she said. “I feel blessed. I’m so very grateful to those who contributed to the show.”

For the past two years, Aragie has produced “The 30-Day Health Challenge,” where, in addition to imparting important health information, she also recruited people to begin to change their eating habits and lifestyles over a 30-day period.

Aragie said she sees the impact of poor health habits and practices and resolved to do her part to help reverse the negative health trends that affect so many people through holistic and nature modalities.

“Your health is your wealth because it should not in any way be undermined,” she said following the awards ceremony. “Often we think things are too big and we’re intimidated. We help people to overcome this.”

“Everyone we know is suffering. My parents don’t take any medication and they’re borderline everything. Over the course of 30 days, some people have lost 10 to 30 pounds, others stop using inhalers or taking blood pressure pills.”

Bob Thomas, the station’s vice president of operations, marveled at Aragie’s progress.

“It’s hard to do but Tsedey came here a year ago and now, she did all this stuff. I really appreciate her growth,” he said. “The awards are very important because they allow not-famous producers to become known.”

Among the winners at the June 22 event was The Washington Informer which won in the Sports category for an interview marking the resurgence of boxing in the District of Columbia. Publisher Denise Rolark Barnes gladly accepted the award.

“This is a great team to work with,” said Barnes, of the Informer’s collaboration with DCTV. “Boxing is my favorite sport. We have a new gym in Southeast and growing talent that’s emerging. Thanks to everybody who helped pull this together.”

DCTV Board Chairman Kojo Nnamdi – host of The Politics Hour on NPR WAMU, 88.5 FM – said DCTV is the only TV station of its kind in the District and plays a pivotal role in public discourse.

“The reason I came to Public Access television 20 years ago is because after working in commercial radio and public TV, most people still didn’t have access to media,” said Nnamdi. “All you have to do is be a resident of a particular area. It takes people and makes them into TV producers, cameramen and personalities.”

“What the awards do is show that some of these same people have arrived and that they can compete with others in the industry. This is a great example of democracy.”

Board member and Ward 7 resident Janis Hazel agreed.

“Whenever the people speak, when the community speaks up in support of program activities, they will prevail. Fifty-four thousand viewers voted for programs, which is a marked increase. We’re expanding our reach in this broadcast medium and streaming as well. This is a huge area of growth and I’m excited for the producers.”

Nnamdi and DCTV CEO Nantz Rickard said over the past year, the station served 600 members, completed upgrades “and amplified all voices in the public square.” Camera rentals are up, as is the rental of editing suites as more people create and distribute programs. In all, Nmandi said, DCTV aired 8,700 hours of programming which was broadcast 24 hours a day.

“The changes we’re making are important as we meet the challenges of this media,” Nmandi said. “Commercial and local media continues to be undermined. We have to protect and promote this vital role in democracy, commercial access and participation.”

Forty-nine entries were judged in nine categories and viewers voted for their favorite programs. In addition, eight producers and production teams earned Awards of Excellence. The number of votes received this year doubles that of previous years.