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It must be something in the water. The top Army and Air Force broadcasters for 2002 are both working in northern Italy.

Sgt. Eric Shadowens, stationed in Vicenza, earned honors as the Army’s top broadcaster and Airman 1st Class Nicholas Kurtz, based at Aviano, won similar recognition from the Air Force.

Both work for American Forces Network affiliates at their bases.

Aviano is Kurtz’s first duty assignment. The 22-year-old California native put in his first day of work on Sept. 11, 2001, helping put together breaking announcements for base personnel when the base changed its security posture after the terrorist attacks.

Since then, he’s worked in both radio and television.

“I just have a really good group of supervisors,” Kurtz said about why he won the award. “They help me out a lot and they trained me for this really well.”

Kurtz joined the military with a background in commercial radio work. He looked at joining the Marines before deciding to switch to the Air Force.

“[The Marines] were going to have me in the field calling down airstrikes, and I said, ‘Not that kind of radio,’” he said.

After hosting the “Home Stretch” afternoon radio program, he’s now concentrating more on television work.

“I really enjoy getting face to face with people,” he said of the medium, which is new to him.

Shadowens, who was named the Army’s John T. Anderson Military Broadcast Journalist of the Year, calls television his specialty. The 27-year-old has been in the Army for more than six years, with previous assignments in South Korea and Fort Campbell, Ky.

He also credits his award to his co-workers, citing graphics designer Alesandra Ursoleo, a local national employee, in particular.

“This was the perfect place to expand my skills as far as graphics design,” he said. “And also my wife, for putting up with my editing all night.”

Shadowens said he enjoys his job, especially when he hears people talking about his work.

“That’s what makes it all worth it,” he said.

But Shadowens may only be at Vicenza for a few more months. He hopes to attend a 10-month media studies program at Syracuse University in the fall through a program the military is sponsoring.

Shadowens and Kurtz will compete with the Navy’s top broadcaster for the Department of Defense title. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Navy hadn’t released the results of its competition.

Other winners stationed in Europe ...

Radio entertainment (Air Force) — “Mike and Jacqui in the Morning,” Kaiserslautern, Germany; (Army) — “Lion’s Den” with Sgt. Allen Talley, Vicenza, Italy.

Radio spot (Air Force) — “Hospital Translators,” Detachment 1, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey; (Army) — “Secrets of the Stairwell: Computer Games,” Spc. Kim Antos, Würzburg, Germany.

Radio report (Army) — Soldiers live-fire in Kuwait, Staff Sgt. Dan Millbauer, AFN headquarters, Frankfurt, Germany.

Radio newscast (Air Force) — KMC News, Kaiserslautern; (Army) — Halloween Newscast, Spc. Wendy Hall, Sgt. Gina Gray, Talley, Vicenza.

Radio information (Army) — Vicenza Cougar football, Staff Sgt. Lee Travis, Spc. Jason Howell, Talley, Vicenza.

Television information (Air Force) — “A POW Remembers,” Detachment 4, Ramstein Air Base, Germany; (Army) — “Darby Destination Dublin Field Study,” Staff Sgt. Michael Wetzel, Camp Darby, Italy.

Television spot (Air Force) — “Family Advocacy,” Detachment 8, Aviano Air Base, Italy.

Television news (Army) — USAREUR Golf Championships, Staff Sgt. Scott Malone, AFN-Europe headquarters.

Television feature (Air Force) — “Prom in Turkey,” Detachment 7, Incirlik; (Army) — “Destination Verona,” Sgt. Leah Tedrow, AFN-South, Vicenza.

Television newscast (Air Force) — “Incirlik Nightly,” Detachment 7, Incirlik.

Regional television newscast (Air Force) — “Air Force Prime Time,” Detachment 4, Ramstein

Command information campaign (Air Force) — “Eifel Ready,” Detachment 9, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany; (Army) — “Drive to Arrive,” Carolyn Jackson, U.S. Army Europe.

Air Force public affairs awards

Air Force public affairs personnel stationed in Europe must be getting their message across.

The service’s 2002 public affairs awards, as well as the print and broadcast awards, were dominated by those serving at local bases.

Airman 1st Class Stacia Tieman, based at RAF Mildenhall, England, took top honors as news writer of the year, while Senior Airman Michelle Michaud, based at Lajes Field in the Azores, won the photojournalism competition.

A list of others honored as the best in various categories follows.


Company-grade officer in numbered Air Force — Capt. Aaron Burgstein, USAFE headquarters at Ramstein Air Base, Germany;

Civilian — Darlene Cowsert, Ramstein;

Senior NCO – Master Sgt. Jon Hanson, Ramstein;

Host-nation employee – Petra Day, Ramstein;

Community relations – Aviano Air Base, Italy.


Magazine format first place – Marauder, RAF Mildenhall;

Flagship writer – Staff Sgt. Jason Tudor, Lajes Field, Portugal;

Web-based publication – Crossroads Plus, Lajes Field.

author picture
Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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