Pembroke Pines, FL (April 2021) – The Suncoast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is pleased to announce the 2021 Silver Circle honorees. The annual recognition is given to individuals who have worked with distinction in the television industry within the Suncoast Region, which includes the State of Florida, the State of Louisiana, the Mobile, Alabama-Pensacola, Florida television markets, as well as Puerto Rico. Six of this year’s honorees are from the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, and Tallahassee markets and three are from Puerto Rico. This year’s virtual ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 16 at 5 PM, EDT.
Ken Amaro, Advocate. Journalist. Champion of the underdog. He can be described with all of the words used to laud all of the greats in our field, but for the people he has served for 41 years, ‘friend’ would best define him. A friend listens to your concerns and tries to help you solve your problems. A friend tells you the truth when it turns out your problems are of your own making, and more than anything, a friend is always there when you need them, That’s Ken, Always there. To this day, mail is delivered to the station with no street address — but just “I’m Telling Ken – TV12 – Jacksonville, FL.” He is everything we ask young journalists to become. He is a man you’d want to be associated with anything and everything you do. Ken Amaro is a First Coast legend.
He started his career at WLTV/WJXX in Jacksonville a year before he graduated from college. But from his earliest days in 1979, he established himself as an advocate for the community.
That role was formalized in 1989 when Ken was promoted to the On Your Side Consumer Reporter position, which he holds to this day. During his tenure, Ken has reported on thousands of scams, swindles, and rip-offs, but his goal is always the same: helping viewers find solutions to their most intractable problems, and holding to account the companies or agencies responsible.
For years his slogan was, “Don’t get mad – Just say, ‘I’m Telling Ken’” The phrase “I’m Telling Ken!” quickly became a community refrain, and was no empty threat. Ken’s reputation was getting results.
In his 4-plus decades in TV news, Ken has won Florida Newsmaker, Associated Press, and Florida Medical Association awards, as well being honored with a National Gabriel Award. In 1998, he was named Consumer Advocate of the Year.
Ken has also been nominated for and won multiple NATAS Suncoast Regional Emmy® Awards. His most recent, in the General Assignment Report Within 24 Hours category, demonstrates that in addition to his unparalleled consumer advocacy, he is a consummate storyteller, able to present difficult stories with humanity and grace.
Chucha Barber graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Mass Communications in 1975. She considers her selection by Ralph Renick for Alpha Epsilon Rho as her most significant educational achievement. Ralph Renick was a pioneer American television journalist for Miami’s WTVJ, Channel 4 (now Channel 6), Florida’s first television station. Alpha Epsilon Rho is a scholastic honor society recognizing academic achievement among students in the field of electronic media.
Chucha began her 26-year television career in an unlikely way. As Director of Institutional Advancement for the Miami Museum of Science, she became an independent television producer first creating a television documentary to support the nation’s first exhibition of giant robotic dinosaurs. She collaborated with Miami’s CBS affiliate to produce DIG THOSE DINOS, a children’s program that earned her first Suncoast Regional Emmy®, in 1995.
The Museum created additional exhibitions which led to six additional documentaries over three years. These were produced in collaboration with Miami’s NBC affiliate. Miami’s NBC station welcomed her skills for scriptwriting, fundraising, and content ideas. A few themes of documentaries developed by those collaborative efforts with NBC6 included: cyberspace, Everglades water flow, the vanishing native people of the Amazon Rainforest, identity theft, and the endangered bald eagle. Chucha Barber has sometimes simultaneously produced programs in Spanish and English has partnered with Univision and Telemundo.
Chucha formed her production company, Tight Shots & Sounds, Inc., in 2003. She changed the name to Chucha Barber Productions in 2012. Her body of work has earned her six Suncoast Regional Emmy® Awards as a producer and she was recognized by the Alliance for Women in Media with a “Gracie Award.”
Currently, Chucha Barber is producing a documentary about oysters, a television series about the Cuban Revolution, and a program about ongoing recovery from Hurricane Michael.
Chucha has served as a Gubernatorial appointee as a Commissioner for Volunteerism and Community service since 2012.
Photojournalist Pedro Cancio was an integral member of the NBC 6 Investigative Team prior to his retirement in 2020. In his four decades in the news business working with the Investigative Unit specializing in the use of hidden cameras, Pedro has covered everything from a hidden camera expose into the illegal selling of U.S. citizenship, to problems with Insurance fraud, counterfeit money coming from foreign countries to port security. Many of the stories Pedro has covered led to changes in laws, government policy, and protocol.
In addition to his work with the Investigative Team, Pedro covered major local news events such as the disappearance of Adam Walsh, the Pope’s visit to South Florida, Elian Gonzalez on the day he was found at sea, Hurricane Andrew’s devastating effect on South Florida, the AIDS epidemic, the ValueJet crash in the everglades, the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas shooting, and most recently COVID-19.
Pedro has also covered international stories including traveling Nicaragua to cover the country’s first democratic elections, traveling to Haiti in the early 1990s to cover the civil unrest resulting from government corruption, the Jamaican lottery scam where criminals posing as lottery officials in Jamaica were scamming the elderly, and Celia Cruz’s famous trip to Guantanamo base Cuba on her first trip back since leaving the island.
In his free time, Pedro freelanced for reality shows Cops and Real Stories of the Highway Patrol. It was during his freelance work on the show American Vice: A Doping of a Nation that in 1986, Pedro shot the first live televised drug bust for a Geraldo Rivera two-hour live program that depicted the crack problem in the United States.
Pedro has received multiple national and local awards for his work as a photojournalist and editor including George Foster Peabody, Dupont Columbia, Edward R. Murrow, I.R.E., National Press Club, Florida Associated Press, National Headliner, and S.P.J. awards. Pedro has also received 15 Suncoast Regional Emmy® Awards and more than three dozen Suncoast Regional Emmy® nominations.
MATTHEW L. CONOVER
Matthew L. Conover has been involved with the Suncoast Chapter for over 25 years, mainly in the production of the Chapter’s Suncoast Regional Emmy® Awards. His job duties over the years included Chyron operator, stage manager, assistant director, video editor. He eventually became the show’s Director and was integral in the production of the Chapter’s first virtual Suncoast Regional Emmy® Awards Show. Matthew also has been involved with the Chapter’s Silver Circles and helped launch the first Student Production Awards.
Matthew started his broadcast career at WFOR CBS4 in 1989, (formally WCIX), as a news intern. He quickly moved up through various positions including studio cameraman, stage manager, assistant director, Chyron operator, and sports producer. By the age of 25, he had become a full-time staff director and post-production editor. Since then, in addition to his directing and editing duties, Matthew also serves as WFOR’s Media Manager and Elections Results Coordinator and helps oversee the operation and integration of various production systems.
Matthew is also a key member of CBS4’s team that produces the Miami Dolphins pre-season games. He is the main editor and graphics coordinator for the station’s production, for which WFOR has been nominated three times for a Suncoast Regional Emmy® Award.
Outside of his television responsibilities, Matthew is also an active volunteer with Boy Scouts of America. As an adult leader, he has acted in the roles of Den Leader, Cubmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, Merit Badge Counselor, and is a BSA certified lifeguard. He is also a member of the Wood Badge Class S4-84-29-1 and was recently elected to join the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s honor society.
Matthew grew up in South Florida, attended Miami Southridge Senior High, studied Television & Radio Production at Miami-Dade College, and Journalism at the University of Florida.
Matthew and his wife Maite have two children, Nicholas 13, and Victoria 11.
ENRIQUE “KIKE” CRUZ
Enrique “Kike” Cruz broke the Guinness World Record for the longest career as a television news director after 42 years of service with WAPA Televisión, of which 38 years, one month, and 21 days were as Director of their news department.
While he received plenty of job offers to leave the island, his love for WAPA Televisión kept him in Puerto Rico during his entire career. The journalist, with a career that spans over 4 decades, retired as news director in 2018, only to come back as an advisor to the same place he called his home away from home in 2019.
Among his future plans, are educating future generations of broadcasters and communicators in his native Puerto Rico.
María Falcón Pollock
For over 30 years, María Falcón Pollock has engaged and educated audiences on environmental conservation. Her work on GeoAmbiente has been on the air for almost two decades, but that did not prove enough for the Bayamón, Puerto Rico native. On Sistema TV, she created “Aventura Científica” directed to a younger audience.
In 2001, alongside her husband, she established GeoAmbiente del Caribe, Inc. Her compromise with the protection of the environment and excellence in public television, have resulted in dozens of recognitions as The Conservation Filmmaker of the Year Award England, over 10 Suncoast Regional Emmy® Awards, Environmental Hero Award – NOAA, the Centennial Award US Forest Service (award given at national level and handed out every 100 years), and two EPA Excellence Awards. She also received the Ecological Journalism Award and Investigative Reporting Award from the Overseas Press Club, as well as an array of recognitions from movie and television festivals in the UK, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, and the US.
Frances M. Hernandez
Frances M. Hernandez has worked at WPBT/South Florida PBS, the Miami-based PBS station, since 1995. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Frances received her bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Her career at WPBT/South Florida PBS began as an Administrative Assistant to the Senior Vice President of Programming and Production. She was promoted to Program Administration Coordinator in 1999.
In 2006, Frances was promoted to Production Administration Manager, where she handled the budgets and contractual records of WPBT’s original productions, for local, statewide, national and international distribution, while also negotiating archival and music clearance rights. She also initiated trade deals and developed community relations with corporate entities and foundations to raise revenue dollars for the production of original content. In addition, she has been very active in developing community relations in the Hispanic market.
Currently, Frances serves as Senior Manager, Programming & Production Administration, where she is responsible for the acquisition and distribution of local, national, and international content and managing relationships with multiple distributors and independent producers.
Besides her many administrative duties, Frances is also a Producer for the station. She has been nominated for a Suncoast Regional Emmy® four times, and in 2003 she was awarded her first Suncoast Regional Emmy®, as Producer of New Florida’s “The Unconquered,” a series on the Seminole Tribe of Florida. She won her second regional Emmy® in 2013 as Producer of “The Life of Jesus Christ.” She also worked as an Associate Producer for “Tradicion: A Holiday Celebration”, for which she was nominated for a regional Emmy®, and “La Cocina Cubana: Secretos de mi Abuela”, among other WPBT original productions.
In addition to her work at WPBT/South Florida PBS, Frances has been actively involved in the Suncoast NATAS chapter. She served as a member of the Board of Governors for four years and as 2nd Vice President and Trustee for three and a half years, and now serves as 1st Vice President and Trustee. She’s also part of the NATAS Trustee Strategic Planning Committee and the Sub-Committee of the Strategic Planning Committee called Emmy® Sponsorship. Frances has long been an active member of the board and serves on several committees.
Adrian Mauceri is currently the Post Production Editing Manager at America CV Networks LLC. He started in the television industry in 1989 at the early age of 17 years old in his birthplace of Argentina. Adrian is also a current Board of Governor of NATAS Suncoast Chapter and is diligent about serving as a judge on behalf of the Suncoast Chapter. He is intentional about giving back to the community and to students. With over 30 years of experience in the television industry, he is passionate and dedicated to his work as an editor.
From the age of 17, he was able to work with multiple broadcasting stations across North and South America such as ESPN Sur, Crackle, Telefe Argentina, Ronds Studios, Canal 9 Libertad, and Rai. In this time Adrian was able to work 8 years in the world of sports attending countless events for ESPN Argentina and 10 more years editing news, mini-series, and even novellas that were aired worldwide. Throughout the years and many opportunities, he was able to gain experience in areas such as technical, operational, and artistic.
In May of 2000, he had the opportunity to expand his career when he took a position with America CV Networks, in Miami. Relocating his family and career to Miami he was in charge of more than 16 productions, 5 daily live news programs, and editing sessions which contained 11 editors.
With the immense workload and responsibility, he always let his work speak for itself which is evident in the recognition and awards he has received over the years. Winning in the category of Editor, Adrian is the proud recipient of over 20 Suncoast Regional Emmy® Awards to include Editor 2015, 2016, and 2017, plus 8 AP Awards a few being for Best Sports story and Best Hard News Story. He is also recognized by the City of Miami, his new home, by the former Mayor Tomas Regalado.
Adrian Mauceri’s devotion to editing hasn’t changed since day one.
Jorge Rivera Nieves
From 1968 to 1976 Jorge Rivera Nieves worked as a radio host on WAPA radio and master of ceremonies, reporter, and voice-over talent on WAPA Televisión. In 1977 he was hired by Telemundo for a 5:00 pm news show. It was then he was told that they were working on a new concept for a newscast that they were hiring. He never dreamt that he would end up being an anchor … 42 years later, he is still working at Telemundo.
One of the island’s most respected journalists and news personalities, Jorge Rivera Nieves name is synonymous with credibility, and ever since the tumultuous events of the summer of 2019 that ended with the resignation of governor Ricardo Rosselló, younger audiences engaged with him in a way they had done with no other news personality.