The Gold Circle recognizes individuals who have worked with distinction in the television industry within the Suncoast region of the State of Florida, the State of Louisiana, the Mobile, Alabama – Pensacola, Florida television market, and/or Puerto Rico for fifty years or more.
The 2023 Gold Circle Honorees are Billy Joe Barnes, Studio Technician, WSVN-TV, Miami, and John Wilson, retired TV Anchor, Tampa-St. Petersburg.
Billy Joe Barnes will be honored at this year’s Silver Circle luncheon, Sunday, June 4th at the Westin Beach Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale and John Wilson will be honored later this year at the 2023 Suncoast Regional Emmy® Awards, Saturday, December 2nd at the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood.
Congratulations to these two outstanding professionals!
Billy Joe Barnes
2023 Gold Circle Honoree
A stalwart in South Florida television, Billy Joe Barnes began his career in 1963 at the University of Miami television studio. From there, after brief stints at what would become South Florida’s PBS and WPLG, he joined Channel 7 in 1967.
Billy worked both in studio and in the field, shooting major news and sporting events. As remote “live” technology developed in the mid-70s, he was among the first to bring that technology home to South Florida viewers.
He has been twice honored with National Emmy® Awards: in 1971 for camera work at an NFL Championship game, and again in 1988 for shooting basketball during the Olympic games in South Korea.
Billy has also held a variety of production positions that enable the station to showcase its ‘working newsroom’ concept. From old-school studio cameras … to robotics … teleprompter to stage managing, he does it all.
He’s mentored countless young people along the way … welcoming them to Channel 7 and the broadcast industry with his knowledge … his kindness … and his trademark wit.
Billy was awarded the Silver Circle in 2005 … and even with the honor of the Gold Circle … he’s showing no signs of slowing down!
2023 Gold Circle Honoree
John Wilson was one of the most well-known, honored, and respected TV News Anchors in the country who retired after 53 years on radio and television and 30 years in 2014 as a top-rated prime time anchor at WTVT-TV FOX 13 in Tampa and WTSP-TV in St Petersburg, FL.
For his commentaries and reporting from Moscow, Normandy, Romania, Panama, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia during “Desert Storm,” the White House, and elsewhere, this former News Director and Anchor earned three television Emmy® Awards, the Florida Broadcasters Award, The Associated Press Prime Time News Cast Award, and was honored by the Florida Motion Picture and Television Association and the Radio and Television News Directors Association. John anchored prime time newscasts for the U.S. Armed Forces Radio and TV Service in Panama, local network affiliates in Richmond and Norfolk, VA, Charlotte, NC, and St. Louis, MO before he and his family moved to the Tampa Bay area. There, he anchored the news for decades for CBS/ABC/NBC and FOX stations and he also moderated network panel shows for CBS News in Charlotte and NBC News in St. Louis.
John has since produced documentaries for WMOR-TV/Hearst, Tampa, is a founding board member of the Tampa Bay Area Police Chiefs Foundation, trained with the Tampa Headquarters of Homeland Security and continues to be a giving community leader. He and his wife have performed annual Holiday concerts for The New York Yankees and The City of Clearwater, the City of Tampa, Sarasota, New Port Richey, and North Port, Florida. John is also a founding board member and Vice President of the non-profit Wilson Family Foundation through which his family supports local non-profits and awards scholarships to students pursuing degrees in the arts.
2022 Gold Circle Honoree
Born in Humacao, PR, in 1935, Eddie Miró, TV host, writer, actor, comedian, and producer, became the most acclaimed television host for Telemundo PR with a career that extends for more than five decades from the 1950s to the 2000s. Eddie, always distinguished by his elegance, eloquence, presence, and humbleness, generated a special connection with the audience that still lasts today.
Eddie was a host to many shows during his prime, including “El Show de las 12,” which aired on Telemundo PR for 40 years. Eddie was not only the show’s central figure—he participated as an actor in the comedy sketches that he wrote.
Additionally, Eddie became the TV host of “Noche de Gala,” a weekly musical program that aired for 27 successful years. Eddie also became co-host of “Super Sábados” (Super Saturdays), a 3-hour live game show that aired on Saturdays for Telemundo Puerto Rico. He also hosted “Salsa Sábado en la Noche,” a variety show dedicated to the salsa music genre.
His start in the industry was in radio, where he met producer Tommy Muñiz. His TV debut came with the birth of the industry in 1954 as a scriptwriter and comedian for various shows.
Eddie and actor-turned-producer Paquito Cordero became a winning team. They were the pioneers of the television industry and created some of the most emblematic shows; Paquito producing and Eddie as the writer and host. He also was a screenwriter and actor in various films. For many decades, this dynamic duo placed Telemundo as the undisputable number one TV station in PR. In 2004, Telemundo PR named Studio # 1 the Eddie Miró Studio.
With over 1 million minutes, over 16,000 hours, on the air in front of the cameras, Eddie Miró’s legacy entails countless contributions to the entertainment industry and popular culture in Puerto Rico, the US, and Latin America; but most of all to the television industry as a TV host, writer, comedian, and actor.
2020 Gold Circle Honoree
Mel Showers is a news icon in the Mobile-Pensacola television market who worked at WKRG News 5 for 50 years.
A Mobile native, Showers began working at WKRG News 5 part-time in 1969. He became a full-time employee in March 1970, working as a booth announcer, providing live station identification, and reading live commercials. In 1974, Showers became a reporter, covering many beats including courts, local police, the Alabama Legislature, and Mobile County and City governments. Among the most memorable stories he covered were Hurricane Frederic in 1979 and the KKK lynching of Michael Donald in Mobile in 1981.
“Mel Showers is beloved by people all along the Gulf Coast,” said Jesse Grear, Vice President and General Manager of WKRG. “Millions of viewers have watched Mel over the years. From reporting on cross burnings by the KKK to the devastation brought by some of the country’s most powerful tropical storms and hurricanes, Mel has been the voice of calm during some of the most dramatic times in Alabama history,” Grear said.
In 1981, Showers was named co-anchor of Morning Newscenter 5, and in 1990, he was moved to the evenings, anchoring at 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm newscast. In 2016, Showers was inducted into the Alabama Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, and he retired in 2019 after an illustrious career.
Gustavo G. Godoy
2013 Gold Circle Honoree
Gustavo is editor and executive publisher of Vista Magazine, a national dual language publication for the U.S. Hispanic market, with a monthly national circulation of a million one hundred thousand copies.
Godoy has held numerous positions in the U.S. market as well as in Spanish language television. He started his career as a reporter/photographer for Miami’s NBC affiliate WCKT-Channel 7. He was hired as field producer and bureau chief for ABC News Latin American Bureau. In 1971 he was made Assistant News Director for Miami’s WCIX-Channel 6. In 1977 he was made Latin Affairs Director for Miami’s WTVJ-Channel 4 and also served as special assignment reporter on the Ralph Renick Report. Godoy organized live coverage of the Republican and Democratic conventions. In 1984 he became vice president and news director for S.I.N. After establishing and structuring Miami’s WLTV news operation, he was appointed Network Vice President News Director for Washington-based Spanish International Network. In 1986 Godoy produced Spanish language news, news specials, and public affairs programs for the Telemundo Network. In 1987 he was made vice president and general manager of KTVW, Channel 33, in Phoenix, AZ.
Gustavo is a four-time EMMY® Award winner. He developed and established the first Town Hall meeting Spanish format program in education as well as several news special programs covering national elections. He created the first exit polling system in the Hispanic market covering presidential and congressional elections.
Godoy is active in professional organizations as well as in community service. He also is a regular panelist and guest speaker.
Gustavo and his wife Virginia have five children and reside in Miami.