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Winners of ‘Jack McMullen Memorial Radio Production Contest’ announced

Radio Production Contest Winners
Seated, from left: Zak Risha, Matthew Fife and Carolyn J. Ciarlo McMullen; Standing, from left: Stephen Dzambo, Kelly Huston, Adam Filburn, Dr. Evelyn Hovanec, Judge Fred C. Adams, Brian Mroziak, and John A. McMullen II. (Photo by Susan Brimo-Cox.)
5/16/2011 —

The winners of the “Jack McMullen Memorial Radio Production Contest” at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus were named at a special awards presentation May 5 at the campus. Zak Risha of Uniontown, Pa., a sophomore secondary education student, was named the winner for his entry, “Changes in Fayette County I’ve experienced in my 22 years.” The runner-up was Marshall Fife of Coal Center, Pa., a junior business major, for his production titled “Boxing in S.W. PA.”

Awards plaques and cash prizes of $250 and $100, respectively, were presented to the winners by three of the contest judges and John A. McMullen II. The winners’ entries will become part of the Oral History Project at the Coal and Coke Heritage Center, and Risha has been interviewed on-air by WKPS at State College, Pa., and WMBS in Uniontown.

McMullen instituted the contest to honor his father, John “Jack” McMullen, who passed away in 2005. For nearly 50 years, Jack McMullen was a radio personality, news director, disc jockey and play-by-play announcer on local radio stations. The contest was proposed as a learning experience for Penn State Fayette students.

Six Penn State Fayette students submitted entries in the competition. The other students and their entries included Stephen Dzambo, “Transitioning from high school to college: a true learning experience”; Adam Filburn, “Observations of a retail cashier”; Rachel Franks, “How technology has changed teens”; and Kelly Huston, “For the kids, my experience as a THON dancer.”

Contest judges who presented the awards included Judge Fred C. Adams, Fayette County Court of Common Pleas, retired:  Dr. Evelyn Hovanec, Penn State Fayette associate professor emerita; and Brian Mroziak, WMBS’ station manager. The other judges were Robert Eberly Jr. of Hilton Head, S.C., and Boshra Gheopreal, program manager of WKPS, The Lion—“The Voice of Penn State.”

McMullen gave the keynote address in which he honored the student’s efforts “at this particular audio art called radio, and to single out the best among you,” and went on to memorialize his father. In describing his father’s career, McMullen remembered one of his father’s famous abilities: “Jack McMullen was fearless as a public speaker. He was a grand raconteur—a fancy French name for a great story-teller. I never saw him prepare. He just got up there and improvised and charmed.”

McMullen also recognized Dr. F. Russell Filburn, senior instructor in communication arts and sciences who coordinated the contest, and Bobby Salitrik, Penn State Fayette’s multimedia specialist who assisted the students in the audio production of their entries.

Sponsors of the contest are John A. McMullen II of Oakland, Calif., a Penn State alumnus, and Carolyn J. Ciarlo McMullen, widow of the honoree. Plans to continue the contest next year and make it a permanent fixture are under consideration.

Listen to or read the transcripts of the winning contestants.

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