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The 303:30 wins Best Podcast at 2010 A.I.R. Awards…

The 2010 March of Dimes A.I.R. Awards unveiled a new category this year and is proud to announce that The 303:30 took home the inaugural trophy.

The A.I.R. Awards, which recognizes excellence in radio, gave a nod to podcasts for the first time in it’s 23 year history on Monday afternoon when it awarded it’s first Best Locally Produced Podcast award to The 303:30, a weekly 30 minute hockey talk show with an emphasis on the Nashville Predators.

The show’s producer and co-host was there to accept the award.

“It was a dream come true hearing our name called,” said Jeremy K. Gover. “When we started this website, I wanted to add an audio element to it so I could interview players and coaches and hockey personalities. I never thought that would evolve into an A.I.R. Award nomination, let alone a win. To say I’m thrilled would be an understatement.”

Gover and Codey Holland have been doing the show for a little over a year and a half now and have enjoyed every minute of it.

“Although the unedited podcasts will never see the light of day, there have been some great discussions, conversations, blunders and some hilarious moments that made the show special,” Holland said.

Previous guests on The 303:30 have been singer/songwriter John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting, comedian and author Mike Birbiglia, a host of Nashville Predators bloggers, a handful of players and even some legendary broadcasters.

The annual award show raises money for the March of Dimes. Due to the declining economy of the radio industry, when Philadelphia held their last awards show last year, Nashville became the last market to have the event. An event that many in the market hope continues for years to come.

“We will not let this thing die,” said Sharon Kay, program director of WFSK at Fisk University. “This is a room full of people who won’t let it die.”

The new Podcast category should help going forward as podcasters don’t play by the same hard-line rules radio stations do. Podcasters have more freedom to discuss off-the-board topics during their shows and, generally, don’t have to answer to sponsors. These shows can get the word out about the awards event and, more importantly, the March of Dimes, which was why the organization got involved in the event in the first place.

Now that the rules are so rigid – and because radio stations are bleeding money – there’s just no time (or effort) to promote the event or even talk up the non-profit organization and it’s mission. This is where podcasters can help make a difference. And with the awards allowing anyone to enter, it should open the door for new blood.

Other big winners at the event were the Dawson McAllister family of programs, 650 AM-WSM and 104.5 the Zone.

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