Hope Drive announcer Georgia Free has won an award at this year’s Christian Media & Arts Australia’s (CMAA) Excellence in Media Awards for her podcast Finding Hope.
This year’s awards were held on the Gold Coast on September 5 at the JW Marriott and had performances by US artist Riley Clemmons.
The awards acknowledge the hard work of people and organisations sharing the hope of Jesus through media and the arts.
Finding Hope podcast
Georgia’s podcast, which took out the award in the Compelling Content – Digital Media category, was launched in July 2021.
“It was born out of Sydney’s longest lockdown, out of the need to share hope-filled stories, but not shying away from the pain and the grittiness of the human experience,” she said in her acceptance speech.
“I wanted to have rawer conversations, longer conversations, than what can be summarised into a five-minute spot on the radio and I think the listeners have wanted the same thing as well.”
Working on the podcast has been a rewarding experience for her, Georgia said.
“It’s led me to some of the most incredible people, some who are in here in the room tonight, they’ve taught me to be a better listener, to slow down, to appreciate the beauty that God has given each and every one of us.
“They’ve taught me how to love well, to grieve well; there’s been some really, really hard stories that are shared, but it’s reminded me also that everyone, every one of us, has a story that deserves to be heard and it’s an honour to hold the microphone for them; all glory to God.”
“It’s reminded me also that everyone, every one of us, has a story that deserves to be heard and it’s an honour to hold the microphone for them; all glory to God,” – Georgia Free
Over in the Most Creative/Innovative Sales Campaign category, Media Sales Australia account manager Travis Keyser won for a partnership with Bible League Australia for their Bringing Hope Behind Bars initiative.
The CMAA People’s Choice Music Awards was broken into three categories – Australian, New Zealand, and International Christian Music Artists – and the top five artists were those most played on radio over the past 12 months.
Taking out the award for Australian Artist of the Year was M22, a group of high school students from Penola Catholic College, in Emu Plains, NSW.
The group formed last year and found their inspiration from Hillsong United and For King & Country. Their debut single is Footsteps.
“I want to give glory and thanks to God, who gives us the gift of creating and the gift of us, the church and the gift of our school,” band member Dennis Alberto said on behalf of the band in their acceptance speech.
The award for New Zealand Artist of the Year went to Souvenirs Worship and the award for International Artist of the Year was awarded to Toby Mac.
The People’s Choice Music Awards for Australian Artist of the Year went to M22, a group of high school students from Penola Catholic College in Sydney’s West.
Legends in the industry
Each year, the Legacy Award is presented to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in their lifetime as a Christian leader to the media and arts industry.
This year, the award has been expanded to two categories – Lifetime Dedication and Enduring Impact.
The award for Lifetime Dedication in Arts went to Jeff Crabtree, a speaker, author and filmmaker responsible for many albums, including the Prayerworks series.
“I’ve been pursuing an unusual path… I don’t have a job and the path that I’ve chosen is the path of trying to bring something redemptive outside the walls of the church,” Mr Crabtree said on the night.
“The frightening most difficult thing about that work is that you feel totally isolated, which is why I’m so grateful because tonight I don’t feel isolated.”
The Lifetime Dedication in Media was awarded to Peter McCoy, who has been with 96three FM in Geelong, Victoria, for 35 years and helped it become the second most powerful transmission license for community radio in Australia.
While Gary Hoogvliet was honoured for Enduring Impact in Media, and Kosti and Carroll Simons for Enduring Impact in Arts.
See the full list of winners.