RSU Public Television Production Team Nominated for Two Heartland Emmy Awards

Rogers State University Public Television captures the visual language of storytelling with excellence, and the individual nominations for two 2020 Heartland Emmy Awards demonstrates the success and talent of its production team.

“I am so proud of the RSU Public TV production staff. We have very good professional storytellers. This crew worked hard on these projects,” Royal Aills, general manager of RSU Public TV, said. “It takes a lot of time to produce documentaries that can compete for an Emmy on this level. Their love for what they do shines in these productions.”

The successful productions were submitted under the direction of Production Manager Tim Yoder. Currently in his 29th year with RSU Public Television, Yoder is the longest tenured employee in the station’s history. Prior to his position at RSU, Yoder spent 10 years at the Tulsa CBS affiliate KOTV and was one of the most awarded television news photographers in the region.

“It is nice to be nominated but the biggest honor, for me, is that people allow us into their private lives to tell their stories,” Yoder said. “I feel blessed to have been able to share people’s experiences for nearly 40 years.”

The first production, “Kerry Vincent: Queen of Cakes – The Final Competition,” was nominated in the Documentary-Cultural Category and captures the drama, personalities and excitement of the 25th and final Oklahoma Sugar Art Show competition. The production follows Vincent, along with several contestants, as they spend countless hours designing and perfecting every detail of their cake for the competition at the Tulsa State Fair.

The competition has been featured on the Food Network and other major media outlets. Nominations in this category must possess excellence in the production of a 60-minute formal and structured television presentation with dramatic impact of an event.

“The production of Queen of Cakes took approximately 10 months to complete. As we were wrapping up production, Kerry announced that the final curtain was drawn, and the show was ending,” Bryan Crain, senior producer and director for RSU Public TV, said. “She didn’t tell anyone until that exact moment. Fortunately, I hadn’t powered down the camera and we were able to capture the moment. It was a successful show, and we were proud to help tell her story.”

The second production, “Perspectives: Eva Unterman, A Holocaust Survivor’s Story”, was nominated in the Interview /Discussion/ Program/Series/Special Category and tells the firsthand account of Holocaust survivor Eva Unterman. The segment was featured by Sam Jones, longtime RSU TV host who was deeply moved by Unterman’s story.

Nominations in this category must possess excellence in the production of a 30-minute spot with 75 percent unscripted interview material where both the interviewer and interviewee are visible on camera.

Unterman tells her harrowing story about her time spent in concentration camps in Nazi Germany. Emily Spivy, producer and director of RSU Public TV, said interviewing Unterman was a powerful experience. 

“Eva was very matter of fact in her responses, but you could still hear the hurt, anger and frustration in her voice. She was sad for the friends she lost during that time, and she feels the same type of persecution is happening again,” Spivy said.

RSU Public TV has been awarded four Heartland Emmy Awards in total and been nominated an additional five times. The winners of the 2020 Heartland Emmy Awards will be announced July 25 through an online ceremony.

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which was founded in 1947, and the Emmy Award stand for the best in the television industry. The national academy is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing outstanding achievement, raising industry standards and improving the quality of television. Dedication to excellence is pursued every day by members of its 19 chapters across the country.

RSU Public TV is Oklahoma’s only university licensee. The station, based on the RSU campus in Claremore, reaches more than 1.3 million homes and serves 22 counties in northeast Oklahoma. RSU Public TV can be seen on Cox Cable channel 86 and 87, in Bartlesville on Cable One Channel 4, over the air on channel 35.1 and on Dish and Direct TV channel 35.