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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard Wins Emmy Award

MINNEAPOLIS (Oct 20, 2007) -- "And the Emmy goes to the Minnesota National Guard!" Signifying unprecedented recognition of a military organization for television achievement and excellence, the prestigious statuette was awarded to the Minnesota National Guard at the 7th Annual Regional Emmy Awards Gala Saturday, Oct 20 in Minneapolis The Minnesota National Guard, along with Fox Sports Net (FSN) North, the Minnesota Twins, Twin Cities Fox affiliate KMSP-TV, KFAN Radio, and Charter Communications, received the Emmy for collaborative efforts resulting in the production of Freedom Week and Operation Home Base, a unique, week-long series of radio and television broadcasts that aired during the 2006 Major League Baseball season

Freedom Week aired June 26 - 30, 2006 and showcased the "Red Bulls of the Minnesota National Guard's 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) of the 34th Infantry Division through the work of an FSN North sports-reporting team embedded with 1st BCT units at Logistics Support Area Anaconda in Balad, Iraq Back in Minnesota, four FSN North Twins pre- and post-game programs originated from Army and Air National Guard facilities around the state Using the Digital Video Imagery Distribution System, operated in Iraq by Sgt. 1st Class Clint Wood and the 1st BCT Public Affairs staff, the FSN North broadcast team in Iraq featured Minnesota National Guard Soldiers during the four baseball telecasts

The week-long campaign culminated July 1, 2006, with Operation Home Base, a commercial-free broadcast of the Minnesota Twins-Milwaukee Brewers game that substituted commercials with live interactions between Soldiers in Iraq and their families in Minnesota, live conversations between Twins players and Soldiers, and human-interest stories, featuring select Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and their families The game was aired simultaneously, in real time, via the Armed Forces Network (AFN) Minnesota Guard Soldiers serving in Iraq viewed the Operation Home Base programming on AFN and enjoyed the Metrodome game at the same time as their families did

"It is evident that Minnesota media members and local sports entities are whole-heartedly committed to our Citizen Soldiers and Airmen in word and deed This commitment extends to our service-members' families, employers, and communities," said Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, the Director of Public Affairs for the Minnesota National Guard, during his acceptance remarks at the Emmy Awards Gala "This is an example of a productive and meaningful alliance that demonstrates the heartfelt commitment that Minnesota has for its service-members across the globe"

Brian Peterson, Director of Media Affairs for FSN North, was proud of his network's prominent leadership in the joint venture: "Our goal was to raise the level of awareness of the tremendous sacrifice and achievements made by the US military FSN North is committed to showcasing its local communities, and the Minnesota National Guard, both here in Minnesota and in Iraq, enabled us to do just that"

FSN North's investment reaped rewards Operation Home Base earned strong ratings in being broadcast to nearly 100,000 households This viewership helped to propel the Twins to the highest per-game ratings in history for one season for FSN North The Freedom Week component turned in equally impressive results, by raising both pre- and post-game ratings by 50% over previous season averages

But the real winners of the week were the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and their families Jennifer Suarez, wife of deployed Soldier Capt Eduardo Suarez, expressed her appreciation to the collaborators for the broadcast: "It was great to see Eddie You guys did a great job boosting the morale for the Soldiers and their families Thanks again to FSN North and all the others who helped me and my family that night We had a great time!"

"I am proud of the entire Minnesota National Guard team,"?said Maj. Gen. Larry Shellito, the Adjutant General of Minnesota "Everyone involved put their hearts into this -- those "?Red Bull' Soldiers who appeared in the broadcasts downrange or made it all happen from behind the cameras; the families who participated in the shows; and the service-members of Camp Ripley, the Army Aviation Support Facility in St Paul, the 133rd Airlift Wing in St Paul, and the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, who hosted game-day events, all poured 110 percent into this effort They are all deserving of this incredible level of recognition"

The Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Television Academy, a non-profit professional organization dedicated to fostering and recognizing excellence in television, awarded the prestigious "Governors' Award' category of Emmy to the Minnesota National Guard This category recognizes excellence in broadcaster community partnerships

"This is a first," ?said Lt. Col. Olson, "and it sets an example for other commercial media outlets in Minnesota and across the nation to follow FSN North, the Minnesota Twins, KMSP Fox 9, KFAN Radio, and Charter Communications have set the bar high, and we owe it to our service members and their families to maintain this positive momentum and unequivocal support"

Oct 19, 2007
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs Office

Download high res photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/MinnesotaNationalGuard/MNNGAwardedEmmy

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