Stephanie Gorin leads VAB Hall of Fame inductees

2021 VAB Hall of Fame Inductees and Award Winners – clockwise from top left, Stephanie Gorin, Shelley Holt-Allen, Steve Cormier, Bruce & Hobbes, Noah Villamarin-Cutter, Liz Strzepa, Tim Thayer, Lynn Elkert, Bill Goldsbury.

Release from Vermont Association of Broadcasters

NBC5-TV Anchor Stephanie Gorin, Radio Vermont Group General Manager Steve Cormier, WCAX-TV Chief Photographer Shelly Holt-Allen and Bruce & Hobbes, WVTK’s human/canine Morning Show Team, were inducted in the Vermont Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame Saturday, December 4, 2021 at the Hilton Hotel in Burlington, VT.

Stephanie Gorin

For a combined 26 years, Stephanie Gorin served as an Anchor and Reporter at WPTZ-TV/NBC5. She first arrived at the station in 1992, serving as morning anchor. She left for a brief period to work in Albany, but her heart led her back to WPTZ in 1998, where she served as evening anchor for 22 years before retiring December 11, 2020. 

While at WPTZ, Gorin helped launch the region’s first 5 p.m. newscast in 2002 and helped lead coverage of several high profile stories, including the damage left by Hurricane Irene, the escape from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ first presidential run. Stephanie also served as a mentor for Junior reporters, who would often reach out for feedback and advice on how to structure their stories. 

She has been nominated for numerous regional Emmys, has won numerous awards from the NY State Broadcasters Association and has been part of the team that has won New England EMMY® Awards, regional Edward R. Murrow awards and the VAB Broadcaster of the Year award in 2015.

Outside of work, Gorin has made the Champlain Valley her home, raising her twin daughters and serving in a variety of volunteer roles including as a speaker at CVPH’s annual Girls Night Out and host of the local Red Cross’s Everyday Heroes Awards.

“I have had the honor and privilege of reporting and anchoring local news for 30 years and it’s incredible that 26 of those years were at NBC5. This station became my second home and second family.” Gorin said. “It’s been a fulfilling career that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I thank all of you for letting me into your living rooms night after night.”

Shelly Holt-Allen

For 40 years, Shelly has been an outstanding news photographer at WCAX-TV. As Assistant Chief Photographer Shelly works tirelessly through endless odd hours, exhibiting the utmost journalistic integrity in everything she does, to bring the very best to the WCAX news. Since the early ‘80s, Shelly has not only been documenting Vermont history in the making, but is also a positive role model mentoring countless young photographers and reporters. 

A pioneering female in a profession dominated by men, Shelly has photographed every part of Vermont and recorded every important event that has happened in the Green Mountains, even shooting while pregnant, which is impressive considering how physically demanding carrying all that gear can be!

Steve Cormier

Steve Cormier (aka “Corm”) has entertained radio listeners across our state for almost 40 years. An award winning on air personality, he has also been a Program Director, a Sales Manager and is now the General Manager and future owner of Radio Vermont Group, including WDEV-AM, WDEV-FM, WCVT-FM and WLVB-FM. 

It all began at his beloved alma mater Lyndon State College, where he still serves on the Alumni Committee Board of Directors. His first Job out of college was in Claremont, NH. A year later he took on Mornings at WCCC in Hartford. Steve soon found himself back in Vermont beginning a 35+ year career. Starting in 1986 at WIZN-FM, as Program Director and half of “Corm and The Coach” along with UVM Men’s Basketball Coach Tom Brennan. Corm and the Coach aired on WIZN until 1997, then on WCPV-FM (Champ 101.3), where Steve was also the Program Director and Operation Manager. Corm and the Coach won “Readers’ Choice Award” for favorite local personalities 15 times and Steve is a two-time winner of Clear Channel’s “Vermont Employee of the Year”. Steve was nominated for Small Market Program Director of Year, Morning Show Personality of Year and Station of Year by Billboard Magazine in 1995

Steve worked on the Northeast Sports Network for about three years before answering the call from his dear friends Bill & Kelli Corbeil, owners of WTSA-AM & FM in Brattleboro, to become the Station Manager and Morning Show Host. When Bill passed away, Steve was a tremendous source of support and help for Kelli and the stations. 

Dedicated to his community, Steve has volunteered with the Ronald McDonald House, Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, Project Feed the Thousands among others. He also served on the Colchester school board, was VP of the Brattleboro Chamber of Commerce, member of the Brattleboro Elks, Board member of the Central Vermont Chamber and Chair of the Fairfax Select Board. Steve also served on the VAB Board of Directors and played an essential role in maintaining stability and facilitating the transition of Executive Directors after the passing of Jim Condon.

Steve lives and breathes local radio. His passion, belief in and lifelong commitment to local radio’s success is infectious and has a positive influence on the industry.

Bruce & Hobbes

After Bruce Zeman rescued Hobbes from a horrific domestic abuse situation in 2009, they became the first full-time human/canine radio show team in U.S. history. In addition to being WVTK’s Morning Show, the duo of Bruce & Hobbes have also been on WCLX-FM (Farm Fresh Radio), WOKO-FM, WTNN-FM (Eagle County 97.5) and WWFY-FM (Froggy). 

Making appearances at hundreds of events to help raise money and awareness for veterans, the girl and boy scouts, little league, food drives and church suppers, listeners were drawn to Bruce & Hobbes and invested in their messages of empathy, compassion, tolerance, hope, love and resilience.

Over many years, Bruce & Hobbes helped raise $75,000+ through their “Cash for Paws” radiothons on WVTK and donated over $250,000 in airtime to animal related causes, while helping over 2,000 animals find new homes. During the “Hobbes Goes Home” book tour,  Bruce & Hobbes visited over 250 schools in eight states to talk about anti-bullying and domestic violence, an effort recognized by President Barack Obama, who wrote the book’s forward. 

Bruce & Hobbes have garnered numerous achievements throughout their radio career, including winning the VAB’s Alan Noyes Community Service Award in 2012. Hobbes was recognized on the Vermont Legislature floor twice and became a Police K9, Deputy Sheriff and Fire Dog in Addison County.  Bruce also actively supports the VAB as a member of the VAB’s Legislative Committee.

When Hobbes passed away in July 2020, he received a full police escort to the funeral home and the Addison County Sheriff’s Department gave him a “farewell tour” where hundreds of people lined the streets to salute him. On July 28th, 2021, Governor Phil Scott declared the day “Hobbes Remembrance Day”, the first time in history a rescue dog was honored by such a proclamation.  

On the last day of his life, Hobbes went to WVTK to say goodbye and the entire VOX AM/FM staff came to Middlebury to pay their respects. Hobbes loved being at the station with Bruce and knew being on the radio was his life’s purpose. Although Hobbes has passed, Bruce continues the Morning Show legacy on WVTK as Bruce & Friends, but it’s lasting contribution is to show, using radio, the power of positivity, overcoming adversity and how much good and change is still possible.  

Distinguished Service Award Winner Bill Goldsbury has spent more than 40 years in Vermont broadcasting. He worked at Local 44 WFFF for over 19 years as a Master Control Operator, and prior to that, he worked at WCAX for over 22 years.

During his time at WFFF, Bill found and resolved critical issues before they impacted the on air broadcast, looked ahead to make sure everything was set and made suggestions when needed to improve station operation. 

“Dependable” is spelled B-I-L-L: he was always at the station early, almost never sick in 19 years and consistently kept the station’s on-air looking good. 

Though he retired in 2020, Bill continues to fill in due to an ongoing shortage of qualified help. He has been a true Vermont Broadcaster for over 40 years and is deserving of the VAB Distinguished Service Award.

Sydney-Teffner Award Winners Lynn Elkert and Tim Thayer – The Snyder-Teffner award was created in 2014 to acknowledge excellence by broadcasters who work behind the scenes. It was named for VAB Hall of Famers and Engineers Dennis Snyder and Ted Teffner, who both served on the VAB Board of Directors for many years. Because COVID kept us from giving awards in 2020, the VAB decided to give two Snyder-Teffner awards this year. The winners are Lynn Elkert, VOX AM/FM former Traffic Manager and Tim Thayer, WCAX-TV Chief Engineer.

Lynn Elkert served as the Traffic Manager for VOX AM/FM for decades until she retired last year. An incredible asset to the cluster, not only did she handle traffic for seven stations, Lynn also handled payroll, receivables, helped coordinate production, set the clocks, collected money, was the reporting engine for station revenue, worked in tandem with sales, programming, management and support personnel. 

Setting her apart was Lynn’s extraordinary work ethic, attention to detail and ability to tackle huge workloads with speed and accuracy. She made herself available 24/7, often answering emails at 10pm and working weekends. 

Lynn went above and beyond every day with the highest degree of professionalism and is truly an unsung hero behind the scenes.

Tim Thayer, the Chief Engineer at WCAX-TV, does not seek glory or his name in lights. He is a brilliant engineer who revels in making things look and work better and setting his colleagues up for success.

Whether it’s simplifying the video source handling system, making the ticker key over video more cleanly, writing code to make a raspberry pi process IP video without creating errors, or re-writing the data delivery scripting on the VAB School Closings website, Tim doesn’t just fix things, he strives to improve existing systems and equipment and make them more user-friendly.

From developing and managing a plan to stay on the air while moving and rebuilding a control room, to leading the design of the next generation of their transmitter system, Tim is a calm voice of reason who thinks things through before making choices. He is the person you want in a foxhole with you because he is trustworthy, dedicated and on your team!

Between the Transmitter fire and delivering the FCC-mandated repack on schedule, Tim has spent long and exhausting stretches living at the transmitter site on Mt. Mansfield, not seeing his family for days or weeks and missing Thanksgiving one year.  Despite turning weather, vendor delays and the reality of living remotely, Tim puts the needs of the station, his department, vendors and partners before his own and perseveres. 

At WCAX, you’ll often hear, “I don’t know, we’d better ask Tim,” which is certainly a vote of confidence. Our region’s tight-knit engineering community know that they can depend on and trust Tim’s word and work. 

An invaluable member of the WCAX team, Tim takes on challenges with a great attitude, humor and a tireless approach. Tim demonstrates how an even-keeled demeanor, brilliant problem-solving and attention to the needs of others, elevate the work of an engineer from mechanical to meaningful.

The Rising Star Award winners are Liz Strzepa, WPTZ-TV Anchor/Reporter and Noah Villamarin-Cutter, VPR Digital Services Specialist. VAB’s newest award recognizes someone under the age of 30 who is new to broadcasting but shows an extraordinary amount of passion and potential and will likely have a long and successful career in the industry! Because COVID kept us from giving awards in 2020, the VAB decided to give two Rising Star awards this year.

For the most part, TV reporters in this market are here and then move on in the blink of an eye. Although Liz is relatively new to the business, she has taken the time to root herself in Vermont, truly getting to know the state and its issues.

Liz understands that at the end of the day it is her job to make sure our community is informed and connected. It is why she works hard to make her stories memorable. After attending an NPPA workshop a few years ago, her reporting has done a 180. Not only is her video work amazing, but her storytelling has skyrocketed and brings new ideas to the table. She reaches out to reporters across the US for inspiration, pays close attention to storytelling in other markets and brings those skills to WPTZ.

Within a short period of time, Noah became a technical expert in all of VPR’s digital publishing and online broadcast platforms. He took it upon himself to integrate modern, open-source tools like Node.js with proprietary, legacy software like Arctic Palm CSRDS to support uniform publishing of metadata (program or song title, artist, etc) across broadcast and digital platforms.

In his first 18 months, Noah steered the overhaul of VPR’s mobile apps which then saw a significant increase in usage. Because of his work, Noah was tapped by NPR as part of a small advisory group on their mobile app strategy. It’s not just an app redesign: it’s the intersection of NPR and stations, broadcast and digital, local and national, and the work they do will help point the way toward how NPR and stations will collaborate to serve digital audiences in the future.

Not usually on the air, Noah has become a very good “pitcher” during VPR’s on-air membership drives. And nothing says you’re passionate about public radio like talking into a live mic and asking your neighbors to donate and support it!

He’s got all the tech skills, but it’s Noah’s attitude that makes the difference and truly sets him apart. He demonstrates the patience, understanding and kindness that makes him a wonderful colleague and true rising star.

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