When the winners of this year's Gracie Awards were announced Monday, I wasn’t sure if I’d be writing about them.
The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation bestows the honors each year for “exemplary programming created by, for about women” in all facets of media. I remember Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey won one back in 2008 (a year before they were inexplicably canned from WGN AM 720), but otherwise I haven’t paid much attention to the awards, which are named after the late comedienne Gracie Allen.
What piqued my interest this time were two press releases I received from CBS Radio touting its winners among this year’s recipients. One release came from CBS Radio nationally ("Eight CBS Radio Women Are Honored With A 2016 Gracie Award") and the other from CBS Radio Chicago (“WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM’s Felicia Middlebrooks and Lola Vanderpuye Win Prestigious Gracie Awards”).
Both releases highlighted the awards for “Anchor - News or News Magazine - Local” for Felicia Middlebrooks, morning news co-anchor at WBBM AM 780 and WCFS FM 105.9, and for “Imaging - Local [Chicago Cubs Baseball]” for Lola Vanderpuye, production coordinator for WBBM Newsradio.
But when I searched online for a complete list of this year’s winners, a third Chicago name appeared: Cited for “Afternoon Drive Personality - Local” was Shila Nathan, who until a few weeks ago worked for WUSN FM 99.5, the CBS Radio country music station. The award honors Nathan specifically for her performance at US 99.5, where she’d spent nearly two years.
So what gives?
Was her omission an oversight by CBS Radio? Or was it a deliberate (and incredibly petty) snub because Nathan now works for Cumulus Media at a country station in New York? I asked the people who sent out the publicity, but I never heard back from either one.
As far as Nathan is concerned, she’s not making a big deal about any of it. Other than mentioning the award on Facebook, she declined to comment. “I’m not very good at promoting myself so I just left it there,” she said. “Didn't know what else to do.”