KCLU AM-FM, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties’ National Public Radio station, won more awards than any other contender in the western United States at the 2009 Mark Twain Awards Show hosted Saturday by the Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

KCLU won seven awards for stations in small markets during the ceremony at Universal Studios. News Director Lance Orozco won the Pat Davis Radio Reporter of the Year award for the fifth year in a row.

The station received three awards for its coverage of Santa Barbara County’s Tea Fire and Ventura County’s Sesnon Fire. Orozco, Jim Rondeau and John Palminteri were honored for Best Spot News and Best Coverage of an Ongoing Story for their team reporting on the Tea Fire. Orozco won the Twain award for Best Live News Reporting for his on-scene coverage from the front lines of the Sesnon Fire as it threatened a Simi Valley neighborhood.

Orozco won three additional awards. He took honors for Best Radio Newswriting for “Miracle Baby,” which told the story of how a Ventura County fire dispatcher and firefighters helped parents save their newborn who had stopped breathing. He received the Best Use of Sound in a Feature Story award for “Drumming Up Interest in Percussion” about the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Percussion Festival. Orozco also won the Best Sports Reporting award for “Dallas Cowboys Final Roundup,” a feature about fans visiting the Dallas Cowboys training camp in Oxnard last summer.

The Associated Press Broadcasters Association includes California, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The association inducted longtime television reporters Stan Chambers and Ruth Ashton Taylor and sports announcers Vin Scully and John Madden into its Hall of Fame during the ceremony.

KCLU provides NPR and local news programming to more than 70,000 listeners at 88.3 FM in Ventura County and at 102.3 FM and 1340 AM in Santa Barbara County. Listeners can also tune in live or hear archived stories from around the world at www.kclu.org. The station is operated as a community service of California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.
— Karin Grennan is the media relations coordinator for California Lutheran University.