For the sixth straight year, students at the Southeastern Channel, Southeastern Louisiana University’s educational access station, have been honored with college division Student Production Awards given by the Emmy Awards’ Suncoast Region of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

John Sartori of Mandeville was a winner in the Talent category, while Justin Redman of Slidell, Ben Delbert of Covington and Jonathan Calhoun of Baton Rouge were winners for their production in the Commercial category.

Sartori won for his on-camera composite of Southeastern Channel work that included anchoring and reporting for the national award-winning Big Game sportscast, hosting and producing the Lion Tracks coaches’ talk show, and play-by-play announcing of live Southeastern game broadcasts.

“If you are a student interested in broadcast journalism, there is no better place for you in this country than in Hammond, Louisiana, at the Southeastern Channel,” Sartori said. “I have been given opportunities that I could have only dreamed of before entering college.”

Justin Redman, Ben Delbert, and Jonathan Calhoun won for their 15-second, stop-motion animation commercial The Cajun Spoon: Two Meals, One Spoon, produced for the Cajun Spoon seasoning brand and dry dinner mix company of Baton Rouge.

“This award is extremely prestigious because it belongs to a division of arguably the biggest and most esteemed award ceremonies for television productions,” Delbert said. “To win such an award essentially places your own work in the same field as many other professional productions.”

Delbert edited the spot, while it was produced and directed by Calhoun with Redman providing camera work and voice-over narration.

The commercial was produced in the Communication 424: Television Advertising Production course in the electronic media concentration of the Department of Languages and Communication. In the class production, students at the Southeastern Channel produced 15-, 30-, and 60-second television commercials for a real-world business client, like the Cajun Spoon, through collaboration with advanced marketing class students who developed the advertising campaign under marketing professor Teri Root. In recent years, the collaborative course has also produced commercials and marketing campaigns for Hammond businesses North Cypress Fitness and Gnarly Barley Brewing Company.

The Cajun Spoon wanted its commercial to emphasize themes of community involvement and engagement to position the product as more than a simple dinner option, Settoon said. The company wanted to illustrate its “two meals, one spoon” initiative, where one box of mix is donated to a food pantry per each box purchased.

“The thought was to make sure the audience would gravitate to the general idea that the product brought the family together, as well as the community,” Calhoun said. “So it’s a blessing to receive the award and know that the main message was well received.”

According to Communication 424 course instructor and Southeastern Channel Operations Manager Steve Zaffuto, the award-winning 15-second commercial utilized a more stylized approach of stop-motion animation of closeups of hands passing around bowls of prepared meals in contrast to the 30- and 60-second versions that featured live action scenes of a family eating a meal together.

“The decision to utilize a stop-motion approach via a series of still frames, rather than full-motion footage, draws attention to both the product and general concept of ‘sharing’ that is vital to the campaign’s central message,” Zaffuto said.

The Southeastern Channel also won four Honorable Mentions in the Emmy competition. Sartori, as play-by-play announcer, along with color analyst Wesley Boone of Alexandria and director Freddie Rosario of Hahnville, won honorable mention recognition in the Sports–Live Event category for the Southeastern Channel’s live basketball broadcast of the December 14, 2017, Lions game with Southern University of New Orleans.

In addition, Rosario won honorable mention for Director of the Lions-SUNO basketball broadcast, while Boone was honored as Director of his short film, Intersect. Amanda Kitch of Covington won honorable mention in the Photographer category for her news videography composite.

The students and their productions were honored in the Emmy Suncoast Region, comprised of television stations and production companies in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico. Students at the Southeastern Channel have now been named Emmy winners 17 times with 62 nominations.

“Being recognized by the Emmys is the highest honor you can receive in television,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “Since so few are given, we’re absolutely thrilled that John, Justin, Ben and Jonathan are deservedly joining such elite company with this highest reward for their talent, creativity, and hard work.”

The Southeastern Channel has now won over 400 national, international and regional awards in the past 15 years.

The channel can be seen on Charter Spectrum Cable Channel 199 in Tangipahoa, Livingston, St. Helena, and St. Tammany parishes. The live 24/7 webcast and video on demand can be seen at

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