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Judy O’Bannon program wins regional Emmy

The Judy O’Bannon-hosted ‘Communities Building Community’ television program, now in its second season, has won a regional Emmy.
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences made the announcement Saturday at the Cleveland Regional Chapter Emmy Awards at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland.
The regional Emmy competition included programs by stations in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Bloomington, Muncie and West Lafayette; Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Youngstown and Toledo, Ohio, and Erie, Pa.
‘Communities Building Com-munity’ won in the category of regularly scheduled public affairs programs. Specifically, it was Episode 212: ‘From Many, One,’ which represented the second season and won the judges with its tales of diversity weaving its way into Indiana communities.
‘I’m quite pleased with that category because I think it recognizes the subject area as not fluff. The category itself to me is very encouraging,’ O’Bannon said.
O’Bannon’s belief in the series and idealistic approach to the programming isn’t just television. In fact, when O’Bannon gathered the original research for the program, she didn’t know that ‘CBC’ would be the result.
While working on a statewide Main Street downtown-revitalization program, O’Bannon traveled around Indiana to inform and listen. She collected many tales of community-minded endeavors, and these became the inspiration for ‘CBC.’
This is producer Gary Harrison’s third Emmy, but, he said, ‘they are all very exciting’ to win.
‘The production process begins with sort of a little story committee of about a dozen people. These people have feelers out all over the state to find good people who are doing good things: making their communities stronger, strengthening neighborhoods, strengthening whole towns,’ Harrison said.
Three or four short pieces are chosen to support a common theme. Each half-hour episode begins with an introduction by O’Bannon. She ties the segments together, asks questions and leaves the audience with ‘action steps’ to get them involved.
When she receives plaques and awards, ‘I usually think it’s because I married a guy who did well, and it’s nice that they recognize a part of the team,’ O’Bannon said, referring to her late husband, Frank L. O’Bannon, who died two years ago during his second term as Indiana’s governor.
The Emmy is different, however.
‘This feels really nice because it’s a product that was measured against other products. To see that it had real merit in the eyes of people who don’t come from that human service provider background that I do, I really feel good,’ she said.
However, she said, she isn’t required to wear a ‘tight slinky dress and walk down a runway.’
The second season of ‘Communities Building Commun-ity’ did not air in Southern Indiana. O’Bannon said that she hopes the third season will appear on Kentucky Education Television, as the first one did, and be available to viewers here in Harrison County.
One episode slated for the upcoming season will include a vignette featuring the Harrison County Fair. Through 4-H, county extension programs, fair boards and other groups, fairs build community all year long, O’Bannon said.