Central Great Lakes Chapter Announces Partnership with the Colts to host Awards Gala

INDIANAPOLIS – After two years of virtual awards shows, the newly-renamed Central Great Lakes chapter of NATAS is excited to announce that its 53rd annual Regional Emmy® Awards will be held on June 25, 2022 at Gridiron Hall in the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, headquarters of the Indianapolis Colts, the official sponsor for next year’s gala.

The recently-renovated banquet hall is directly adjacent and connected to the Colts’ indoor practice field at the team’s headquarters and practice facility, providing an exciting football-themed backdrop for the annual awards show honoring the best and brightest in the television industry across our region.

“We’re extremely honored to partner with the Colts and invite our nominees out to Indy,” said Central Great Lakes chapter president Dan Spehler. “Outside of a few small watch parties, we haven’t been able to gather in person these last two years, and we can’t wait to celebrate the occasion in style with everyone again in June.”

The Central Great Lakes chapter would also like to recognize Tabatha Starcher, director of brand engagement and business development for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, who was instrumental in forming this new partnership with the Colts.

“The NFL and its franchises submit amazing work both on the national and regional to the Emmys® every year,” said Starcher. “It’s exciting to be partnering with the Indianapolis Colts and we look forward to working with them in delivering a great ceremony as we celebrate our return to ‘in-person’ events in 2022.”

“The Great Lakes Chapter is excited about bringing the awards gala to Indy for the 4th time,” said CGL executive director Bob Hammer. “Since annexing most of Indiana to the then ‘Cleveland Chapter’ in 1988, we have seen tremendous response from the television professionals in the Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and West Lafayette markets.  We are adding new categories to include streaming and internet video, which opens new areas for Emmy® recognition.”

The call for entries for next year’s awards will go out on Dec. 1st, with entries being accepted through the end of January at the chapter’s website (GreatLakesEmmys.tv) and via EmmyExpress.

More specifics about the gala will be announced in the coming weeks and months, including the safety guidelines for next year’s gala, in accordance with state and local protocols, along with potential remote participation options for those who cannot attend the event in person.

Gridiron Hall is located within the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, along W. 56th street near I-465 on the northwest side of Indianapolis.

Announcing The Central Great Lakes Chapter’s Centered on Excellence Webinar Series

The NATAS Central Great Lakes chapter is excited to announce the first edition of our “Centered on Excellence Webinar Series” starting this month!

On Tuesday, Nov 16th at 7:30pm, we’re holding our first online webinar for students & professionals, with our first webinar focusing on broadcast media’s role in society during these very polarized times.

“Informing our Viewers and Earning Their Trust in Divisive & Dangerous Times” will feature WEWS chief investigative reporter Ron Regan, former WTHR political reporter Kevin Rader, former CNN/ WRTV reporter Cheryl Jackson, and Carolyn Robinson from the Solutions Journalism Network.

Panelists will discuss a wide range of related issues, and can field questions from participants who can watch the webinar live on our CGL Facebook page, and ask questions in the comments or live via Zoom. (We’ll make the Zoom webinar link available to participating classes or to other participants upon request)

We’ll have additional sessions in the coming months, focusing on award-winning writing advice for reporters and producers, covering our communities with an eye toward diversity & inclusion, and advice on how to get a job in the ever-changing television industry!

Please share with others who may be interested, and let us know if you’d like to participate, or simply join us live on Facebook on the 16th!


It’s almost that time of year! The Central Great Lakes chapter’s Call For Entries goes out on December 1st so be sure to take stock of all your award-worthy work from 2021, and don’t forget to renew your membership so you’re all set to get started on the entry process starting next month. And stay tuned for more exciting announcements in the coming days about our plans for the 2022 gala!


We’re sending out big congratulations to two of our student organizations in Northeast Ohio- St. Edwards High School and Hoover High School for their nominations to the national Student Production Awards from the NATAS foundation!

“The future journalists, analysts, correspondents and entertainers of the next generation will be found among these talented young nominees represented here,” said Adam Sharp, President & CEO, NATAS. “Highlighting their work and encouraging their pursuit of excellence is one of the primary mandates of our Foundation.”

“The Foundation of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is thrilled to honor the incredible work of these talented students,” said Danielle Mannion, Education Chair, NATAS. “The students faced extraordinary challenges and produced dynamic and compelling stories. We also wish to acknowledge the dedicated work of their teachers who supported the productions.”

Winners will be announced in a livestream from NATAS this month.

We’d also like to congratulate Central Great Lakes governor Terri Cope Walton as she departs WRTV after 23 years to head to Jacksonville as the new Vice President/General Manager at WJXT/WCWJ-TV!

Terri has brilliantly left her mark in Indianapolis is so many ways, and has been such a great addition to our board of governors, where she’s still planning to serve through the end of her term next year- congrats again Terri- we’re going to miss you!

Central Great Lakes Chapter Mentorship Initiative

Hello friends,

The Central Great Lakes chapter is delighted to share news of some exciting mentorship opportunities for our membership! We understand the importance of giving back to our industry by using our expertise to help with the next generation of media professionals.

In the coming weeks, we plan to launch a series of webinar events for our student and professional members to learn more about what it takes to succeed in our industry, and we’re looking for experienced (or retired) professionals who might be willing to share their expertise with our members.

Please email dspehler@emmyonline.tv if you’re interested in participating.

We’ve also been invited to participate in a mentorship initiative with The Catalyst Story Institute – a year-round educational and professional development institute empowering creators to bring their narrative stories to fruition. (Click here to view the Catalyst timeline.)

Through this initiative we’re looking for members who might be willing to volunteer to be connected with a specific mentee. Each mentee has been vetted by The Catalyst Story Institute and will be hand-picked for their mentor based on their experience. It’s a great way to use your talents to help others!

If you are interested in participating in this program, please complete the survey below. We look forward to bringing you more opportunities in the future and thank you for your membership!

Mentorship Registration Link: link to the mentor signup survey

Interested in learning more about Catalyst’s annual festival?

Please go to their website at https://www.catalystories.org/

NATAS Mentors who wish to be Mentors are able to attend at no cost other than hotel accommodations, which are available at a discount.

General attendance to the Storieroad event includes (valued at $399, waived for NATAS mentors):

  • A festival pass
  • A festival submission
  • Access to Catalyst Institute virtual and in-person seminars
  • 2 (1-on-1 meetings) with our creative team
  • Their program listed in Catalyst’s content database

The mentor program is for a few selected creatives who come to Catalyst either via the institute or the festival entry process who are ready to move forward in their professional careers.

As a NATAS mentor in the Catalyst program, you would be asked to:

  • Work with at least 1 mentee each year
  • Meet individually (or virtually) with each mentee at least twice to discuss their career paths & offer creative notes on their current project/productions/shows
  • Offer at least one career training opportunity such as shadowing on a production, working in a studio, connection to a potential job, etc.

News & Notes from chapter president
Dan Spehler

Dan Spehler

Hello NATAS friends-

It’s time for some exciting news about the future of our chapter!

As we welcome our new board members and officers who began their terms this month, it’s also time to complete the transition to our new chapter name, Central Great Lakes, which formally becomes our new name Sept. 1st with the start of the new fiscal year.

This past weekend, our new board met virtually to discuss our plans for the year ahead, including the transition to the new name and the mission we continue to build for our chapter, focusing on education and encouraging excellence in our industry as we aim to showcase what’s truly “central” to our cause.

In the coming weeks and months, you’ll see a new web site, new and expanded social media campaigns, and new initiatives launched to help expand our educational efforts.

We’re also working to find new ways to incentivize and show appreciation for our many chapter members who help judge entries from across the country. Your efforts are crucial to the process as we award excellence throughout the industry, and additionally, it’s a great way to see some of the amazing work being done in other regions that might inspire an idea or two of your own.

Stay tuned!

It’s certainly been an interesting couple of years, and while we’re disappointed we weren’t able to gather in-person for this year’s gala, we’re proud of the work put in by my very talented predecessor John Stealey and his team which made our live virtual show a huge success, and we’re hopeful that next year we can all reunite again for the 53rd annual Regional Emmy® Awards.

We’ve got a great team in place for the year ahead, including several new officers and governors:

  • President – Dan Spehler
  • Ohio VP – Carl Monday (2nd term)
  • Indiana VP – Vickie Binkley
  • Secretary – Susanne Schwibs
  • Treasurer – Jim Stunek
  • Trustee – Steve Warren
  • Trustee – Megan Simpson

Newly elected governors: Jasmine Crighton, Heather Schramm, Adam Snow

Returning governors: Jonathan Adkins, Terri Cope-Walton, Joe Cromer, Mitch Davis, Matt Eck, Jennifer Feick, Jonathan Shelley

Indeed, I’m honored to have the opportunity to succeed John as chapter president this year and look forward to working with our executive director Bob Hammer and meeting with our membership across the region to hear some of your thoughts and ideas on the future of our chapter.

We’re all looking forward to an exciting year ahead and we’re eager to share more with all of you soon!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any ideas, suggestions or concerns related to our chapter.

I’m available via email:

dspehler@emmyonline.tv or president@nataslgl.org (new web address coming soon)


This past June, we welcomed seven new honorees into the Silver Circle, and I wanted to offer some personal congratulations for our new inductees. Among them: FOX8’s Lou Maglio, who I’ve watched and admired for many years, and Bob Donaldson, my longtime colleague at FOX59/CBS4 Indy.

Bob and I have traveled the country together covering major news stories, and we’re honored to recognize his many years of broadcast excellence in our region.

I’ve also spent time (many years ago) working with two of our inductees from WEWS, photographers Rich Geyser and Tom Livingston, whom I interned with in my native Cleveland. They’re both excellent photojournalists who’ve contributed greatly to their station’s success through the years.

We’re also welcoming three longtime broadcast executives into the Silver Circle this year, WFYI’s Clayton Taylor, WTVG’s Mel Watson, and WKBN’s David Coy, who have all enjoyed very successful careers here in our region.

Congrats to all of our inductees! And if you know of someone deserving of recognition in our Gold or Silver Circle, please let us know by filling out the Gold & Silver Circle nomination form on our web site.


If you don’t already subscribe to or follow Poynter on social media, it’s truly a great resource for broadcast journalists, especially in the midst of these challenging times.

From advice on how to deal what they call the ‘Unreality Crisis’ involving stories of controversial factual debate to helping journalists deal with trauma and concerns about our own mental health, they’re always worth reading and following for some great advice on how to navigate some of the challenges journalists currently face.

We’re looking forward to connecting you with some of these resources and engaging our chapter in similar educational discussions on the media’s role in society, what we’re doing well, what we could be doing better, and how to earn and keep the public’s trust through these unprecedented times. And as we prepare to mark 20 years since the events of September 11th, 2001, we’ll also be looking back at the brave and inspiring work many of you have done over the years to mark that tragic occasion in our nation’s history.

Thanks again for all you do to inform and inspire your viewers! We have an extremely talented chapter and we can’t wait to see the award-winning work you all have been doing this year!

Nominations Announcement

Nominations for the 52nd Annual Central Great Lakes Chapter Emmy® Awards will be announced on Thursday, April 29th, 2021. The list of nominees will be posted to our Facebook page in the morning, and to our website by noon.

Seven-Time Emmy® Winner & Longtime Board Member, Charles “Bud” Ford dies at 92

CHARLES EDWARD “BUD” FORD, JR. passed away at the age of 92 on May 23, 2019. He was born in Montesano, Washington on May 18, 1927 to Charles E. Ford and Dorothy (McDermont) Ford. Bud grew up in Seattle and Spokane, WA. When Bud was 17, he enlisted in the Army. Due to his linguistic ability he was trained to speak Japanese at the University of Minnesota and Yale University and became an interpreter during and following World War II. Bud was assigned duty in Japan weeks after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. He supervised the construction of two radio stations in Sasebo, Japan for Armed Forces Radio.

After the war, Bud earned his degree in Speech at Washington State University and attended graduate school in Broadcasting at Northwestern University. In 1950, Bud moved to Cleveland to work for the NBC radio network and TV as a writer, director and producer. There he met his loving wife of 47 years, Terese (Terry) J. Trivison, who passed away in 2002. In 1955, Bud and Terry moved to New York City where Bud worked at WNBC as producer/director. In 1962, he was appointed Director of Operations for WJZ-TV in Baltimore, MD. Returning to Cleveland in 1967, Bud became General Manager and partner in the multi-media company Visual Techniques. In 1972 he joined Meldrum & Campbell Advertising (later merged into Marcus Advertising) as Director of Radio/TV where he produced “Academic Challenge” and “Cash Explosion.” His various commercials earned seven Emmy Awards. In 1986 Bud was elected to the Cleveland Board of Governors of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) and served in many positions nationally and for the Cleveland chapter. He was inducted into the NATAS Silver Circle in 1996 and the Gold Circle in 2005.

Bud dedicated his life to serving others, particularly at his Church (Gesu) where he was an usher, sacristan, lector, Eucharistic Minister, Scoutmaster and track coach among other ministries. Bud also volunteered at the Cleveland Play House where he and Terry cooked meals for the actors and were members of the Men’s and Women’s Committees. He was honored as the Volunteer of the Year in 2005. One of Bud’s greatest loves throughout his life was the Boy Scouts. He became an Eagle Scout in 1942. He received the Distinguished Eagle Award in 2014 in recognition of his professional achievements and exemplary volunteer leadership service to his community. He served in numerous positions at the Troop, District and Council level in the former Greater Cleveland Council, including Scoutmaster at Gesu Church, the Executive Board and as Council Camping Chairman. He received the GCC Silver Beaver Award in 1990 and the St. George award in 2003 from the National Catholic Committee on Scouting. He was actively involved with the Tinnerman Canoe Base in Ontario, Canada and was Head Commissioner at Beaumont Reservation Scout Camp where he renovated buildings and assisted with summer camp programs even into his mid-80s!

Bud was a caring friend and neighbor to many and a devoted family man. His life was full of unwavering faith and demonstrated grace and love. He will be greatly missed and was an inspiration to all. He was a wonderful husband to his late wife, Terry, a loving father of Anne Marie (Tom) Blank, Timothy C. (Lori) Ford, Michael R. (Anne Elizabeth) Ford, Mary Ellen (Greg) Keller, and John D. (deceased). Devoted grandfather to Jeffrey (Elana), Peter (Kellie) and Kevin Blank, Rebecca Douglass, Andrew, Daniel, Elizabeth and Carolyn Ford. Dearest brother to the late Richard D. Ford (Nancy) and brother-in-law to Leanne R. Trivison, Dominic (Joan) Trivison and Lorrie (deceased) (John) Robbins. Son-in-law of the late Betty and Domenic Trivison.

Friends received at THE SCHULTE & MAHON-MURPHY FUNERAL HOME, 5252 MAYFIELD RD., LYNDHURST (BETWEEN RICHMOND AND BRAINARD) SUNDAY, JUNE 2 FROM 2 – 6 P.M. Prayers Monday, June 3 at the Funeral Home at 9:15 A.M. followed by Mass of Christian Burial at Church of the Gesu, 2470 Miramar Blvd, University Hts. at 10 A.M. Burial will follow at Lake View Cemetery. A reception and celebration of Bud’s life will be held in McAuley Hall at Gesu after the cemetery service. Special thanks to Bud’s support group including family members, Scouters, Play House friends, special neighbors, the doctors at University Hospitals, the caregivers with Daughters with Degrees and the caring staff at Hospice of the Western Reserve, David Simpson Hospice House. Those wishing to make a memorial contribution are asked to consider the Lake Erie Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Church of the Gesu, or the Cleveland Play House. (ARRANGEMENTS BY ST. JOHN FUNERAL HOME OF BEDFORD 440-232-1155)