The Texas Association of Broadcasters will honor four broadcast leaders at TAB’s Annual Awards Gala. The gala, part of the association’s 61st Annual Convention & Trade Show, is set for Thursday, Aug. 7th from 7-10 pm at the Renaissance Austin Hotel (9721 Arboretum Blvd., Austin, 78759).
“The history of broadcasting in Texas is punctuated by the accomplishments of passionate leaders who cared about community as much as commerce,” said TAB President Oscar Rodriguez.
“The individuals TAB honors this year are no exception. Their contributions have strengthened our industry, expanded economic opportunity and advanced broadcasters’ unique role in building local communities.”
Pioneer of the Year – Larry Safir, Entravision Communications Rio Grande Valley (retired)
Safir’s 44-year career started at the age of 15, selling airtime for the nation’s first Spanish-language radio station – KCOR-AM San Antonio. In 1992, he and his partner purchased a TV license, secured the Univision affiliation and KNVO-TV was on the air in the Rio Grande Valley – the nation’s ninth largest Hispanic market.
He developed and implemented the South Texas DMA’s first Spanish-language TV newscast. He also is credited with developing and executing the broadcast of both a Fox newscast at 9 pm in English and using the same staff for Spanish news on Univision at 10 pm.
Broadcaster of the Year – Tom Ehlmann, KXAS-TV Dallas-Fort Worth
Ehlmann has been president/general manager of NBC5 in Dallas-Fort Worth since 2008.
KXAS-TV was the first TV station in Texas, signing on in 1948. In November 2013, after 65 years in its original facility, the station moved 18 miles to the center of Dallas-Fort Worth into a newly constructed, state-of-the-art building unlike any other TV station in the country. Mindful of its role in the history of the city and state, Ehlmann negotiated a transfer of the historic station site to the City of Fort Worth with provisions that allowed the station to remain firmly within the city limits. He sustained the project planning through an ownership change while maintaining the station’s heralded commitment to local news, including the production of a comprehensive mobile app chronicling the Kennedy assassination in observance of the event’s 50th anniversary.
George Marti Award for Engineering Excellence – Jack Sellmeyer, Sellmeyer Engineering
For more than 60 years, Sellmeyer has been a model of professionalism and competency in the field of broadcast engineering, innovation, research and design. He garnered three patents while working at Collins Radio in Dallas and is the co-inventor of the patented automatic modulation sensitivity control.
In 2009, the National Association of Broadcasters awarded him with their NAB Radio Engineering Achievement Award.
His ability to make complex issues “easy” for GMs, owners and others has made him active in educational work at many industry technical seminars and workshops, especially in the area of AM directional antennas.
Educator of the Year – Dr. Sam Sauls, University of North Texas (retired)
Dr. Sam Sauls has been in the field of education for more than three decades. He has combined his experience in commercial and noncommercial radio to help advance broadcasting by helping educate hundreds in the broadcast field.
He served as a lecturer, assistant professor and associate professor at the University of North Texas for more than 15 years before being named associate chair and director of graduate studies for UNT’s Department of Radio, Television and Film.