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American Legion honors OCTV, station mgr. with 5th state award

Bill Service, station manager for Oxford Community Television, proudly poses with his fifth "Best Electronic Media Award" from the American Legion Department of Michigan. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
July 09, 2014 - Win one award, you're good.

Win two awards, you're great.

Win five awards in five years, it's probably safe to count yourself among the best of the best in your chosen field.

Bill Service is much too modest to ever say something like this about himself.

But then again, he doesn't have to because his work speaks for itself.

Once again, Service and the public access station he manages, Oxford Community Television (OCTV), were honored with a state award from the American Legion Department of Michigan.

They received the 2013-14 Best Electronic Media Award for their "exceptional" efforts "to provide meaningful coverage of veterans' issues and patriotic activities, as well as the American Legion."

The award was presented June 28 at the American Legion's 96th Annual State Convention held in Livonia.

"It's so exciting for the station," said Service, who is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force (1959-63) and a past commander of Oxford American Legion Post 108. "The guys and girls are very excited about having the award. Five years in a row is great."

"I'm just happy to receive this once again," he added. "We'll shoot for number six next year."

A fifth win is a particularly impressive feat considering there are more than 400 American Legion posts throughout Michigan and more than 300 television stations – between VHF, UHF and cable public access channels – around the state.

Service is "shocked" that with all these TV stations, there's isn't more veteran-related coverage filling the airwaves. "There's a bunch of them that should be out doing more than what they're doing right now," he said.

Loads of footage filmed and aired last year by OCTV was submitted as part of the station's entry for the state award.

It included coverage of Oxford and Addison's Memorial Day observances, Oxford Middle School's annual Americana Concert celebrating Veterans Day and the Pearl Harbor Day remembrance ceremony.

The many activities and functions of Legion Post 108 were also filmed by OCTV including packing parties to create care packages for U.S. troops serving overseas; school tours of the post's military history museum; holiday events; gun shows; the weekly fish fry; scholarship presentations; participation in local parades; and aiding disabled veterans.

"It's important to the station and the communities (OCTV covers) to highlight what our veterans are doing," Service said. "I'm a proud veteran. I'm proud of my station and proud of the American Legion."

Many of the aforementioned events and programs were filmed by Service and aired as part of his program entitled "Our Community Access." It airs Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m. and again, at 5:30 p.m.

"I so enjoy what I do, producing this and putting stuff on the air," he said. "It's very exciting to me and to the people I cover."

But Service doesn't want to take all the credit. He said it's a team effort.

He's thankful for all the great staff that OCTV has working behind and in front of the camera. That staff includes folks such as Dave Kenny, Elgin Nichols, Teri Stiles, Susan Bork and Pauline Bennett, to name a few.

Service retired from a 40-year career in television in 2003, took a break for about a year, then went to work part-time for OCTV. He took over as station manager last year.

OCTV is now in its 34th year of operation and covers everything in the Oxford-Addison area including local government meetings, community events, school plays and concerts and Wildcat sporting events.

The station can be viewed on Channel 191 for Charter cable subscribers and Channel 99 for customers of AT&T U-verse.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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