More than 260 people gathered at the Hilton Burlington December 2 as three longtime broadcasters were inducted into the Vermont Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Newly enshrined honorees include Tom Beardsley, Judy Simpson and Brian Collamore.
A native of Watertown, New York, Tom Beardsley began his radio career in 1969 at WIRD-AM in Lake Placid. He also worked at WIKE-AM in Newport, WHWB-AM in Rutland and for WPTZ-TV. He worked for WDEV and its sister stations for a combined 30 years, both on the air and in their sales department. He also worked for Rep. Peter Smith, the New England Dairy Council and was part owner of a small radio group in Maine for four years.
Judy Simpson began her Vermont television news career at WVNY in 1985 and became the first female TV news director in state history. She joined WCAX in 1997 and began a ten-year stint as anchor of “Channel 3 News This Morning” in 2000. She “retired” earlier this year but continues to host “Across the Fence” for the station. She received the VAB’s Distinguished Service Award in 2014.
Brian Collamore started his radio career in 1968 at WRMC and WFAD while at Middlebury College. After a stint at WHWB-AM in Rutland, he joined WSYB in 1974 and has been on the air and in sales since then. He has been a longtime co-host of “The Proctor Gas Morning Show” and has been an ice hockey official for nearly 40 years. He received the VAB’s Distinguished Service Award in 2013 and is now in his second term as a State Senator for Rutland County.
In addition to the Hall of Fame inductions, Distinguished Service Awards were presented to Lynn Beaudoin, Mark Esbjerg and Steve Pelkey.
Lynn Beaudoin started her sales career at WSTJ-AM in 1981. She joined Bruce James’ Vermont Broadcast Associates when he bought WSTJ and what is now WKXH-FM in 1990. She is known for being a goodwill ambassador for radio broadcasting.
Mark Esbjerg started his broadcast career at WTSL-AM in Hanover in 1978. After a stint at WQUT in Tri-Cities, Tennessee, he joined WXXX-FM when it went on the air in 1984 and moved to its sister station, WVMT-AM, in 1986. After many years as morning co-host with Hall of Famer Ernie Farrar, he currently serves as Operations Manager.
Steve Pelkey is Operations Manager for the Hall Communications stations, including WKOL-FM, where he hosts the midday show. He began his career in 1979 working at a variety of stations in the Rome and Utica, New York markets. He later worked as Program Director for WDEV-AM in Waterbury and for WATD-FM in Marshfield, Massachusetts, as well as a stint with WBOS-FM in Boston. After working for WVMT and WFAD, he joined Hall in 1993.
WTSA radio in Brattleboro was presented with the Alan Noyes Community Service Award for their annual “Feed the Thousands” food and fundraising campaign. The award is named in honor of the late longtime Executive Director of the VAB.
Greg Towne of WVNY-TV was presented with the Snyyder-Teffner Award for excellence behind the scenes. Towne has been with WVNY-TV since 2001, serving as the station’s Director of Engineering. The award is named in honor of longtime engineers Dennis Snyder and the late Ted Teffner.
The VAB was founded in 1955 and is the non-profit trade association for Vermont’s radio and television stations. Learn more at www.vab.org.