WGLS-FM drug abuse documentary wins a "Gracie"

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The winner of numerous awards, Heroin High investigates drug abuse in some S.J. high schools. 

The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation honored former Rowan Radio Operations Manager Allie Volpe with a prestigious Gracie Award Feb. 19 for her work on Heroin High, a documentary about rampant drug culture in South Jersey high schools.

Volpe, who co-produced the documentary with Rowan University students Joe Mineo and Robert Zettlemoyer, received the honor in the student division of the Gracie Awards’ Outstanding Special or Variety category.

Named for legendary radio and TV star Gracie Allen, the awards celebrate outstanding programming produced by women.

Volpe, 21, of Washington Township, joins former students Rachael Burgess, Julia Giacoboni, and Kelly King as other Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS-FM members to win the award. King and Giacoboni won for The Women's Room, a regular program about issues important to women, King in 2006 and Giacoboni in 2008. Burgess won in 2011 for A Community Affair, a weekly show addressing civic issues.

The Gracie marks the sixth accolade for Heroin High, which was produced in conjunction with WGLS-FM Interim Station Manager Derek Jones’ fall 2012 Radio Production class. The 30-minute radio documentary aired on WGLS-FM Dec. 31, 2012.

“Hard drug abuse, especially heroin, is a bigger problem than people realize,” said Volpe, 21, who graduated from Rowan in May. “We investigated this topic at the suggestion of my mother, who knows someone whose son died of an accidental heroin overdose.”

All winners - local, digital, public, and student - will be saluted at the 39th Annual Gracie Awards Luncheon on June 11 at the New York Hilton Hotel in New York City.

The event benefits the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, a charitable, non-profit organization.

Earlier this month the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) became the latest organization to recognize Heroin High, which won second place in the Festival of Media Arts’ Student Audio Educational category.

The BEA will honor the best in college media at the organization’s annual convention beginning April 6 in Las Vegas.

Heroin High, which is available as a podcast from the WGLS-FM web site, previously won first place for Best Documentary in the College Broadcasters Incorporated’s Student Media Production Awards.

WGLS-FM, which is celebrating its 50th year of broadcasting, has won 234 regional and national awards since 1993.

"WGLS-FM is a place where students can learn about the radio industry and have an opportunity to leave a mark at Rowan University,” Jones said. “The hard work put forth by Volpe, Mineo, and Zettlemoyer continues a tradition at WGLS-FM of students producing programming that matters."

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