NATAS Honors New England Broadcasting Superstars

Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 4.32.22 PMSix Outstanding Broadcasters Selected for Silver Circle Induction at The 21st Annual Silver Circle Awards Gala on November 21, 2013

The Silver Circle Awards is Sponsored by Subaru of New England

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Boston/New England Chapter is delighted to announce this year’s Silver Circle inductees honoring six broadcast legends with more than 25 years of distinguished service to broadcasting and the community: Byron Barnett (7NEWS; Boston, MA), Denise D’Ascenzo (WSFB-TV; Hartford, CT), Jerry Franklin (Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Inc ; Hartford, CT), John D. Methia (WLNE; Providence, RI), Joe Mozdiez (WCVB; Boston, MA), and Fritz Wetherbee (WMUR; Manchester, NH). For photography, please contact David Burt at 617-635-3112.

These New England television pioneers will be honored for their lasting contributions to the industry at a gala celebration on Thursday, November 21 at Seaport Boston Hotel-Lighthouse Ballroom, One Seaport Lane, Boston, MA with a reception and dinner at 6PM and the Awards Ceremony at 7:30PM. For tickets, email Jill Jones at or call 617-283-6314.

Silver Circle members are honored for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry. The Silver Circle honors television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the industry for more than 25 years respectively.

The Silver Circle Awards will once again be sponsored by Subaru of New England. The Boston/New England Chapter of NATAS is very grateful to Ernie Boch, Jr., who has generously supported both the Silver Circle Awards and the Emmy Awards for many years.


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Photo Credit: WHDH-TV


Byron Barnett joined 7NEWS in 1983. From crime stories to human interest features to political campaigns, Byron has covered a wide range of major stories of local, national and international interest. Byron, on many occasions, has been reporting on the scene as history unfolded.

Among the blockbuster stories Byron has covered for 7NEWS: the riots in Lawrence Massachusetts in 1984, the release of American hostages from a hijacked TWA flight in Lebanon in 1985, the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster that killed New Hampshire school teacher Christa McAuliffe and six other astronauts in 1986, the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and death penalty trial of bomber Timothy McVeigh, and every presidential campaign since Regan/Mondale in 1984, including the historic campaigns of the nation’s first African American President Barack Obama.

In addition to covering hard hitting news stories, Byron has been the host of the long running public affairs show Urban Update. As host, Byron has delved into issues and controversies affecting the Boston area and interviewed countless news makers and political figures.

Byron got his start at KSTP TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul, working as the Minneapolis City Hall reporter and broke numerous stories in city and county government.

The Emmy-award winning reporter has won many other awards including a Sigma Delta Chi award, the National Association of Black Journalists’ Region One Journalist Of The Year award, YMCA Black Achievers award and several Community Service awards.

Byron graduated from of the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis where he earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism. He was born and raised in Minneapolis. He currently lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children.

Guest presenter: Jonathan Hall

Photo credit: Eyewitness News 3
Photo credit: Eyewitness News 3


Denise D’Ascenzo is a seven-time Emmy award winning broadcast journalist who has also earned distinction as the longest serving news anchor at a single television station in Connecticut. You will find her weekdays on Channel 3, anchoring the 5:00 PM, 5:30 PM and 6:00 PM newscasts.

Denise came to WFSB-TV in 1986 and through the years has been a steady and reassuring presence on the anchor desk, covering all the major local and national news stories of the day. She has also traveled to provide special coverage of such events as 1988 Republican National Convention, the U.S. visit of Pope John Paul the II, the crash of United flight 232 and the arrest of the Washington, DC sniper. In addition to local and national political leaders, Denise has also interviewed celebrities, such as Paul Newman, Bob Hope, Tony Bennett and Oprah Winfrey.

Denise also has a passion for health and medical reporting. She is the host of an Emmy award-winning prime time program, “Advancing Medicine”, and has taken viewers inside the operating room at Hartford Hospital to observe breakthrough surgeries and cutting edge treatments.

In addition to six Emmys, including an Emmy for Best Anchor, Denise’s reporting has also been honored with seven Associated Press awards and a prestigious national Gabriel Award. She has also been recognized for her work with a number of charities including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Mary’s Place and the Channel 3 Kids Camp. In May of 2013, Denise was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Quinnipiac University.

Marriage brought Denise to Connecticut from Cleveland, Ohio where she anchored the top rated 6:00 and 11:00 newscasts at WJKW-TV. Before Cleveland, she worked in St. Louis as a reporter and talk show host at KSDK-TV. But she launched her career in Syracuse, New York, doing the nightly weather forecast while she finished her senior year at Syracuse University and was hired full time as a reporter and weathercaster upon graduating.

Denise was born in Washington, DC and grew up in suburban Rockville, Maryland. She was the first person to receive a scholarship from the American Newspaper Women’s Club to attend a summer journalism program at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Denise and her husband, Wayne have a daughter, Kathryn who is 16.

Guest Presenter: Dennis House

Photo credit: Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network
Photo credit: Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network


Jerry Franklin, the president and chief executive officer of Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Inc. (CPBI), has over 29 years of experience in mass media and the broadcasting industry. Jerry was appointed to his current position at the Hartford-based broadcasting company in 1985. His responsibilities include overseeing the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN), the state’s only locally owned media organization producing television, radio, print, and Internet content over a variety of media channels for distribution to Connecticut’s wide-ranging and diverse communities. Production studios and corporate offices are headquartered in Hartford, with an additional radio studio based in New Haven.

CPBN broadcasts three digital television channels (Connecticut Public Television/CPTV; CPTV4U; CPTV Sports,) and five radio stations (Connecticut Public Radio/WNPR). CPTV and WNPR, in particular, serve the entire state of Connecticut as well as areas of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York – reaching an estimated 450,000 television viewers and 260,000* radio listeners each week. In addition, CPBN includes a for-profit production company, MediaVision; a publishing partnership with Connecticut Magazine; and a national satellite uplink service.

Under Jerry’s leadership, CPTV has won two National Daytime Emmy Awards, 84 Regional Emmy Awards, 369 Regional Emmy Award nominations, seven CINE Golden Eagle Awards and one Gracie Allen Award. WNPR has earned two George Foster Peabody Awards, five Ohio State Awards, two Gracie Allen Awards, and more than 60 Associated Press Awards, including eight Mark Twain Awards for Overall Station Excellence.

Prior to joining Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Inc., Jerry served as general manager of WGBY-TV for the WGBH Educational Foundation in Boston, Massachusetts.

Guest Presenter: Dean Orton


John Methia has been a valued member of the broadcasting community since 1979. His love of broadcasting began while in high school when he volunteered to operate a camera for his father’s cable access program at Whaling City Cable in New Bedford. His camera work caught the attention of the management at Whaling City who offered him a part-time job.

In 1981, John was hired by WTEV (later changed to WLNE) as a cameraman moving up the ladder 30 years later to become the second in command at the station. A leader and mentor to many, there isn’t a job at the station that John is not able to tackle.

John has been involved with many productions over the years but the one he is most proud of was his production of the historic visit of Mother Theresa to New Bedford. He produced and directed the program which was simulcast on all three network affiliates.

Shortly after coming to WLNE, John took the helm to produce and direct the longest-running program on WLNE, the television mass from the Dioceses of Fall River, (started in 1963) a staple for southern New England shut-ins. He produces and directs these programs for weekly playback. In addition, he also spends Christmas Eve and Easter producing special holiday programming.

John has produced and directed the MDA telethon for the past 19 years as well as the stations coverage of the Bristol 4th of July parade, the nation’s longest running 4th of July celebration.

John’s leadership took WLNE to the next level when the station began broadcasting in HD. No job is too big or too small for John. Last winter during the blizzard, he swept out the satellite dishes with a broom, brushing off the snow to keep the network signal (the station now has heaters on the new dishes). He is the first to pick up a cable, move a light, build a graphic, switch in master control whatever it takes to keep the station running smoothly.

A compassionate man, John is a champion to many causes. After losing his nephew in an accident involving a driver texting and driving last year, John has produced videos and created events to expose the dangers of texting and driving.

His passion for the industry and drive to move forward as technology changes the landscape makes him a true pioneer.

Guest Presenter: Judy Shoemaker


Joe Mozdiez started his broadcast career in 1971 as radio host and reporter for WVLC, “The Voice of the Lower Cape”, in Orleans, Mass. At WVLC he hosted various music shows, news reports and covered town meetings across Cape Cod. In 1974 Joe worked as a part-time host announcer for Charles River Broadcasting, WCRB, New England’s classical music station at that time.

In 1975 he worked for CBS radio in Boston, WEEI and later moved to WBZ radio as a production board technician, news-editor and overnight operator for Larry Glick and Robin Young. Joe moved across the hall to WBZ-TV as a summer tech, and was later hired full- time by WBZ as a news-editor and broadcast technician. As a WBZ news-editor Joe edited some of the first “Sports Spotlights” with Bob Lobel and edited numerous breaking news stories with Dan Rea, Andy Hiller, Liz Walker and Jack Williams.

When WCVB announced plans to produce a nightly newsmagazine, Joe decided to leave WBZ and join WCVB in 1981 as a broadcast technician. Joe was chief audio technician for many “Miller’s Court” programs and worked many remotes for WCVB including broadcasts of the Boston Symphony. For most of his 31 years with Boston Broadcasters, Metromedia and finally the Hearst Corporation, Joe edited and later produced, wrote and edited segments for “Chronicle”, WCVB’s highly respected newsmagazine. Joe edited multiple “On the Road” shows with Peter Mehegan and “Main Streets and Backroads” with Mary Richardson, Andria Hall, Liz Brunner, Anthony Everett, Ted Reinstein, Shayna Seymour, J.C. Monahan and Mike Barnicle, as well as many investigative and hard news topics.

Joe’s work brought him recognition in the form of nine New England Emmys, including two for writing, producing and editing; “Over Cape Cod” and “Iceland Adventure”. In 1992 Joe and producer Lorie Conway joined creative forces and in ten days of editing produced “The Incredible Voyage of Bill Pinkney” for WCVB. The program presented the story of the first solo circumnavigation of the world by an African-American. Bill Pinkney’s voyage became a floating lesson in geography, history, courage and determination for thousands of children following his progress by satellite in schools in Chicago and Boston. With narration provided by Bill Cosby the program was awarded the George Foster Peabody award.

Joe retired from WCVB in 2012 and now resides in Holliston, Massachusetts. His wife Meg continues her life as a public school teacher in Wellesley. Joe and Meg have three sons: Carl, Sven, and Lars; and they have three grandchildren.

Guest Presenter: Mary Richardson


Fritz Wetherbee embodies New Hampshire television.

Aside from his appearance on TV, he has published five books including his latest, “In Good Company”. The books are collections of stories he has written for WMUR-TV’s “New Hampshire Chronicle”.

“With this latest book I will have published 580 stories about New Hampshire,” Fritz said. “Four more books and I’ll have over a thousand stories.” He calls himself a “proud provincial.” He has, he said, spent almost all his life in the Granite State.

Born in 1936, he grew up in Milford the oldest of five children. Over the years he has worked at everything from tree climbing to being the Creative Director in an ad agency.

“I know the state very well,” he said, “I have met all the Governors from Sherman Adams on, and I’ve read most of the town histories.”

For ten years Fritz was the host of New Hampshire Crossroads on New Hampshire Public Television. For the past eight years he has written and presented a different nightly story on N. H. Chronicle. His segment is called, “Fritz Wetherbee’s New Hampshire”.

“I do historic stuff and funny stuff and personal stories. The only limits I have are that the stories are never to get old. We should be able to repeat any story in ten years and, aside from the car I am driving, no one should know it’s an old piece. And,” he says, “All my stories must be about New Hampshire.”

Fritz lives with his “better half”, Laura in a two-hundred-fourteen-year-old home in Acworth (“The first town in the state,” he says,”…alphabetically.”) On his library shelves are dozens of state books plus five Emmys and a Bobble-Head Doll . He was honored with the bobble-head of himself for throwing out the first pitch at a Fisher Cats Game a couple years back.

The bobble-head is featured on the cover of his latest book along with the bobble-heads of General John Stark, President Franklin Pierce, Daniel Webster and Sarah Josepha Hale. Thus the title of his book, “In Good Company”.

Guest Presenter: Maryann Mroczka

NATAS Boston/New England Chapter is dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television, the fostering of creative leadership in the television industry, and the encouragement of excellence in artistic, educational, cultural and technical progress.

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