Eden Prairie-based KMSP-TV (FOX 9) and the City of Edina won regional Emmy® awards on October 14. The Viking Drive station won three statuettes. A series of videos hosted by Edina City Manager Scott Neal was one of a pair of Emmys that now decorate the neighboring suburb’s city hall. Neal served as Eden Prairie city manager from 2002 through October 2010.
The winners on Viking Drive
FOX 9’s creative services unit won two of the three statuettes. Journalist Tim Blotz was honored as the best news anchor in Minnesota, western Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota, the region served by the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Announcing the newest of his broadcasting honors on LinkedIn, Blotz wrote, “Television and journalism is (a) team sport. If not for my producers and managers who nearly always say ‘yes’ when I come to them with a crazy idea for presenting a story, none of this would have happened.”
Tim Blotz’s sample reel includes several news stories.
The FOX 9 creative services unit wins were earned by two of its promotional spots: Everything Is Better With An Audience for “The Jason Show” and Wake Up With FOX 9, a reimagined version of a popular promo with a perky jingle that premiered more than 20 years ago.
“Nostalgia is kind of a big deal right now,” said FOX 9 creative unit vice president and producer Burke Daneman during a phone interview. “The jingle is kind of an earworm that people could kind of connect back to.”
The previous version of Wake Up With FOX 9 had been mothballed for about eight years. It featured co-anchors Tom Butler and Alix Kendall and meteorologist Keith Marler riding a light rail train. Its Emmy-winning remix debuted on Super Bowl Sunday in January. Joining Butler, Kendall and Marler on the Blue Line are several new faces, including co-anchor Kelly O’Connell.
“People basically grew up with the jingle,” says Daneman. He recalls that during the spot’s long hiatus, fans would approach Tom, Alix or Keith at community events like the State Fair and launch into song: “Hey! Wake up to FOX 9 … The FOX 9 Morning Newsssss …”
The creative team, managed by David Pint, figured it could spin the spot’s concept a bit for an encore. “So we went back to the light rail and redid it,” says Daneman, one of the spot’s four producers.
The jingle’s upbeat, let’s-get-the-day going hook is propelled by a few new lines and a fresh arrangement. Edits jump between the KMSP-TV newsroom and the Blue Line with smiley reaction shots, selfie posing and traffic reporter Kendall Mark entering the car and a dozing Marler being nudged awake.
The Jason Show: Everything Is Better With An Audience promo won its regional Emmy in a category for single spot, program image promotion.
The humorous, 29-second spot, helmed by producer/director Michelle Truax, features host Jason Matheson at a Spyhouse Coffee House, coaxing his dog Mr. Big, jogging with fans, and sparking reactions from cohost Kendall Mark and other Spyhouse caffeinators to one of his sly quips.
The spot mirrors the quickstep pace of a show that dances with all things pop culture. It features national and local celebrities, cooking segments, gossip, silly and sass. Inspired by the live audience shows of David Letterman and Johnny Carson, “Jason Matheson brings late night to daytime,” says Burke Daneman. Launched in 2015, Jason’s brand of daytime TV currently airs in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester, Eau Claire, Sioux City, Seattle, Chicago, and Orlando.
See the sidebar below for information on seeing “The Jason Show” in person.
The winners at Edina City Hall
Neither Edina City Manager Scott Neal nor producer Scott Denfeld attended the 2023 regional Emmy Awards fête at the Radisson Blu Hotel at Mall of America. Perhaps their expectations for their nominations were not that high.
But get this, their video series “On the Job,” seen on SWTV Channels 16 and 798 and YouTube, won in the interview/discussion category over a Twin Cities Public Television “Almanac” interview with Jesse Ventura, a Viking Network interview with Kirk Cousins, and KMSP’s talk duel “Enough Said” with Dan Barrio, Justin Gaard and producer/referee Lori Fisher.
Think about it: A local municipal official chatting with, say, a fire hydrant flusher just upstaged an NFL superstar, a former governor/pro wrestler/media magnet and two in-your-face ruminators.
“On The Job” showcases various City of Edina workers showing their executive boss Scott Neal what they do, how to do it and the chance to actually do it. For starters, Neal has flushed a fire hydrant, chalk-striped a baseball diamond and learned how Edina protects and archives crime scene evidence.
“I do think that sometimes we do assume that the normal things going on around that create and sustain civilization are boring,” says the veteran municipal leader. “But the likes of creating public safety, fixing roads, supplying clean water and treating sewage are really more interesting the more we think about it.”
The Upper Midwest Emmy Award judges agreed. So, too, do viewers.
“I can’t compete with the former governor or Kirk Cousins or anything FOX 9 does,” says Neal. “It’s all the people who put ‘On The Job’ together that really make it hum.”
Scott Denfeld, the lead video creative on the Scott Neal project, also won a regional Emmy as the top video essayist in the Upper Midwest.
Writer Jeff Strate serves on EPLN’s Board of Directors. Jeff is also a television producer, but is not a member of the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
LINKS TO THE WINNING SPOTS
KMSP’s Wake Up With FOX 9.
Earlier versions of Wake Up With FOX 9.
“The Jason Show” promo Everything Is Better With An Audience.
Edina’s “On The Job: Lifeguard” video.
Edina’s “On the Job: Street Sweeper” video.
ATTEND “THE JASON SHOW” LIVE
Tickets for “The Jason Show” are free but can only be requested online. Tickets are not available at KMSP-TV.
Audience members can expect to spend two hours inside the Viking Drive TV station for the live broadcast. They will be greeted and prepped by audience coordinator Aaron Schwab. “The Divine Schwaberino,” says Jason, “is the Bette Midler of the Twin Cities.” After the show, audience members get chat time with Jason and one of several local celebrity sidekicks pinch-hitting for Kendall Mark, who is on leave with her new baby boy.
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