The county's only public radio station and its top reporter--a senior at Cal Lutheran University--will receive regional broadcasting awards later this month.
KCLU-FM (88.3), which is affiliated with National Public Radio, and 21-year-old Jeff Barry have won "Golden Mike" awards from the Radio and Television News Assn. of Southern California for outstanding achievement in broadcasting.
The honors stem from two 1997 news reports by Barry, who also juggles jobs as the station's local host of the "Morning Edition" newscast and its interim program director.
"He's exceptional," said KCLU General Manager Mary Olson, "and now he's made a name for himself."
Barry has been on air for just a few years, but he has produced more than 100 news stories for National Public Radio, which broadcasts news and entertainment programming to public radio stations nationwide.
NPR editors and producers, thinking he's a veteran reporter, assign Barry stories regularly. They haven't figured out yet that he is a student, and Barry said he wanted to keep it that way--for fear they would stop picking up his news reports for the national broadcasts.
"When they [NPR producers] call and I'm in class, they're told I'm in a meeting or something," he said. Olson added that the radio and television association also was unaware that Barry was still an undergraduate.
Barry said he is hopeful that he has proved himself enough that NPR will overlook his student status and continue to use his work.
KCLU and Barry won one of the "Golden Mike" awards for a sports story he filed last spring on the effects of Title IX on athletic programs at Cal State Northridge.
Barry reported on the university's controversial decision to disband the men's baseball, soccer, swimming and volleyball teams in order to comply with the equal opportunity requirements for men and women under the federal law.
The other award was for a firsthand account of the Angeles National Forest fire last summer.
Barry is scheduled to receive his bachelor's degree in criminal justice in May. He said he plans to stay in Southern California after graduating and look for a job in radio news.
Barry and KCLU will receive their awards on Jan. 31.