PASADENA, CA ─ Local journalist and TV show host James Farr received a 2021 Hometown Media Award for “Voter Education” Producer/Journalism from the Alliance for Community Media Foundation for an episode of his show “The Conversation.Live,” which airs on the Pasadena Media TV channel and streaming apps.
The national awards program was established to honor and promote community media, community radio and local cable programs that are distributed on Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) access cable television channels. Proceeds go to the ACM Foundation which is exclusively used for facilitating, preserving and promoting education in community media.
Farr created “The Conversation.Live,” a hyperlocal news and interview show, in September 2017, and has since produced more than 375 episodes. In each episode, he interviews one of Pasadena’s movers and shakers, including city officials, political candidates, police officials, activists, attorneys, and other community leaders.
In 2020, Farr was tapped to moderate a town hall with then-mayoral and now gubernatorial candidate Major Williams. Farr then worked with Pasadena Star-News on a live broadcast of a mayoral candidates’ forum called “The Great Debate” between incumbent Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek and City Council member Victor Gordo. Farr also interviewed District Attorney Jackie Lacey and opponent George Gascón. And Farr teamed up with journalist Justin Chapman to host Pasadena Media’s “NewsRap” TV show to provide an in-depth analysis of the local and statewide political landscape leading up to the 2020 election, including coverage of the California state ballot measures.
“This award is a win for all of Pasadena,” Farr said. “For Pasadena Media and the Pasadena Media Foundation, it is a clarion call for why it is paramount that we #SaveLocalNews. Producing programming that my peers felt was the best in the nation, out of over 1,000 submissions, was humbling. I never imagined winning a highly coveted national award.”
Going forward, Farr envisions “The Conversation Live” moving to a larger platform such as KPCC, NPR, PBS, or a Fox Soul network. National syndication is also a possibility.“I love the ‘hyperlocal’ focus of the show,” he said. “I’m looking forward to expanding the coverage to include LA County, state, and national issues. All politics are local, so you can expect the coverage to tie back into how it impacts Pasadena.
Each year, nearly 1,000 entries are submitted to the ACM Hometown Media Awards. These entries, or programs, are submitted and evaluated on several factors resulting in over 100 award winners. A panel of judges from the industry evaluate the entries. Awards are presented to the most creative programs that address community needs, develop diverse community involvement, challenge conventional commercial television formats, and move viewers to experience television in a different way.
“The Hometown Media Awards celebrate both the excellence of work and the diversity of media that appears on community channels being produced around the country,” said Mike Wassenaar, president, and CEO of ACM. “The ACM Foundation is proud of their achievement and of how they represent their communities in their work.”
Founded in 1979, the Alliance for Community Media is a national, non-profit membership organization committed to ensuring access to electronic media for all people. ACM carries forth its mission by educating, advocating and acting as a resource for the more than 3,000 Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) cable channels nationwide.