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WDIY’s ‘Teen Scientist’ and Digital Strategy Win 2023 PA Association of Broadcasters Awards

'Teen Scientist' host Rayna Malhotra (left) and Membership and Development Director Shamus McGroggan (right) with the station's previous awards from the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. Malhotra and McGroggan will receive their 2023 Excellence in Broadcasting awards at this year's ceremony on May 5 in Harrisburg, PA.
'Teen Scientist' host Rayna Malhotra (left) and Membership and Development Director Shamus McGroggan (right) with the station's previous awards from the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. Malhotra and McGroggan will receive their 2023 Excellence in Broadcasting awards at this year's ceremony on May 5 in Harrisburg, PA.

The Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters (PAB) has announced that WDIY 88.1 FM, Lehigh Valley Public Radio, has won two 2023 Excellence in Broadcasting awards.

WDIY's monthly program, Teen Scientist hosted by Rayna Malhotra, won for Outstanding Radio Public Affairs Program/Program Series. WDIY's app and digital strategy, managed by Membership and Development Director Shamus McGroggan, won for Outstanding Use of Digital Media.

The announcement came in late February as the PAB named winners in several different categories for radio and television stations in the Commonwealth.

Both of this year’s awards are repeat wins for WDIY. Teen Scientist last picked up an Excellence in Broadcasting award in the Outstanding Radio Public Affairs Program/Program Series category in 2021, and the station’s app also won in the Outstanding Use of Digital Media category in 2022.

The PAB's award ceremony will be held in Harrisburg at the Harrisburg Hilton on Friday, May 5.

A full list of the 2023 radio and television winners is available at the PAB website.

Teen Scientist

Teen Scientist is a monthly 30-minute public affairs program hosted by Moravian Academy student Rayna Malhotra (’24). Teen Scientist features one-on-one interviews focused on groundbreaking innovation in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines — entirely from a teenage perspective. Recent episodes of Teen Scientist have featured former NASA astronaut and fighter pilot Terry Hart, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital President and CEO Dr. James Downing, and the Coriell Institute for Medical Research President and CEO Dr. Jean-Pierre Issa.

Teen Scientist began in 2019 hosted by Rayna's sister, Rhea Malhotra. Rayna took over hosting duties in 2020 when her sister graduated from Moravian Academy. The show is engineered by WDIY News and Public Affairs Director Sarit Laschinsky.

Teen Scientist is a part of WDIY's Youth Media Program, which is a free service provided to Lehigh Valley students age 14-18. The Youth Media Program has mentored and trained over 200 high school students in audio production, writing, and journalism since first launching in 1999. Current Youth Media Program shows airing on WDIY in addition to Teen Scientist are Teen Connect and Teen Money Matters.

WDIY’s App and Digital Strategy

WDIY’s digital strategy was recognized by the PAB for its multi-pronged and multi-year approach to growing the station’s listeners outside of the traditional FM broadcast audience. In 2020, WDIY launched its new app, which included the popular two-week music show archive. This was followed the next year in 2021 with all of WDIY’s public affairs programs being made available on major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and NPR.

In 2022, the station debuted a revamped line-up of public affairs programs. The new line-up added 14 locally-produced programs hosted by community members. The new programs complimented an already robust public affairs schedule which featured collaborations with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce (On Every Main Street, started in 2019), the Leonard Parker Pool Institute for Health (HealthBEAT, started in 2020), and the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (Plan Lehigh Valley, started in 2021).

Throughout 2022, the expanded coverage and discussions on WDIY presented the station with an opportunity for new outreach. WDIY grew listeners for these new programs and new channels digitally using the station's social media pages, website, email campaigns, and the online outreach of its community partners.

WDIY Membership and Development Director Shamus McGroggan, who manages the station’s online activities, implemented the digital strategy with assistance from fellow WDIY staff and board members.

Growing Accolades

WDIY's latest wins from the PAB come on the heels of the station winning 13 professional broadcasting awards in 2022, the highest for any Lehigh Valley-based radio station that year. Last year's awards included 8 Keystone Media awards and 5 PAB Excellence in Broadcasting awards.

Reacting to the news at the time, WDIY Executive Director Greg Capogna said, “These awards are a wonderful testament to our small but dedicated news team of staff and volunteers and their true connection with our community and their stories. For a station of our size to receive this number of awards is a remarkable achievement.”

The Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters

The PAB is a membership-driven trade association which was the first state broadcast association in the nation. According to their website, the PAB "encourages the highest standards in broadcasting and recognizes programming of excellence and achievement through our annual awards."

Shamus is WDIY's Membership and Development Director, responsible for managing the station's membership activities, grant writing, public relations, and online activities. He is also the producer and host of Tape Swap Radio.
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