Animal Airwaves radio program wins national award

Animal Airwaves group shot
From left to right are members of the Animal Airwaves team, including Melanie Ross, Nancy Hamilton, April Frawley, Dr. Dana Zimmel, Sarah Carey and Garrett Hall. (Photo by Jesse Jones)

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and the UF Health Communications office have received the highest honor in the Association of American Medical College’s 2014 Group on Institutional Advancement awards competition – the Awards for Excellence.

UF’s award recognized the Animal Airwaves radio program, which features one-minute segments relating to animal health, and an hour-long live Saturday call-in show. It was presented on March 27 during the association’s annual conference in Salt Lake City.

The Group on Institutional Advancement awards recognize the most creative and effective approaches used to promote academic medicine in the United States through alumni, development, public affairs, public relations, marketing and communications.

“The GIA established the award program to honor the exemplary work and contributions made by our colleagues in advancing medicine, research and education in academic medical centers,” said Chad Ruback, assistant vice president for external relations at the University of Iowa and GIA awards chairman.

“This entry represents the best of the best,” he added.

The award was made in the Electronic Communications category.

Judges of the competition called the program “a creative approach to problem-solving, with good documentation” and “delightful to listen to, professionally produced, with just the right, light touch, music and animal sounds.”

One judge commented that pets are “all around us, but so rarely on the radio” and that it was “very nice to hear creative solutions to improving outreach to pet owners and local veterinarians.” Another was impressed with “how much useful information was packed into very short segments.”

Animal Airwaves launched in 2011. The program airs on Gainesville’s public radio affiliate, WUFT-FM, and focuses on animal health and behavior as well as patient care and research breakthroughs, pet owner tips and trends within the veterinary profession

Currently, the modules air internationally on the American Forces Network, which reaches military bases worldwide; nationally on WPSU at State College, Pa., statewide on WGCU in the Fort Myers as well as in the North Central Florida primary coverage area.