Eleven locally produced television programs have been named finalists in various categories for the annual WAVE Award competition for all public access stations in a six-state region, according to Hap Freund, executive director of The Santa Barbara Channels, the nonprofit that runs Channel 17 and Channel 21, announced today. The WAVE (Western Access Video Excellence) award competition acknowledges the best programs produced by professional staff and community volunteers in California, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada and New Mexico.

The station brought home three awards last year and has won numerous national and regional awards since its 2003 nonprofit inception. Freund was especially happy that three member-producer programs were in the final running for recognition. Golf Santa Barbara’s half-hour program on the Unity Golf Classic, produced by Dee Hamby, was a finalist in the community producer/sports category. A studio program about medical marijuana, produced by Oscar Gutierrez of View at Your Own Risk, was under consideration for an award in the talk show/issues category. And Cynthia Daddona’s video about the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival was in the running for an award for community news.

In addition, eight programs produced by Santa Barbara Channels staff were finalists: The Reagan Flyout (interviews with sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan, shot on board ship and produced in cooperation with the Santa Barbara Navy League; the 36th Annual Fiddlers Conference; a documentary on I Madonnari; New News (a local forum on .. New news); SB Newswire, which was a collaboration of staff members and interns from Westmont and SBCC, shot with a virtual set, are all finalists in different categories. In addition, the station’s long-running and well recognized series, The Creative Community, hosted by David Starkey, was a finalist in three categories for three different interviews — one with author Sue Grafton, another with author to Jane Heller, and a third with Alan Wallace about Buddhism.

Freund remarked that “while it is gratifying that our community producers and staff productions are being recognized for excellence, what’s most exciting is to realize how diverse our local content is, how much we interact with our community, and how much the community interacts with us.”

Hap Freund is executive director of The Santa Barbara Channels.