Jim and Beverly Rogers Scholarship makes debut at 19th annual gala on Aug. 9

LAS VEGAS – Fifteen Nevada broadcast students will be awarded with scholarships at the Nevada Broadcasters Association’s 19th annual gala on Saturday, Aug. 9 at the Four Seasons Hotel, 3960 S. Las Vegas Blvd. The scholarships are funded largely by the gala’s auction, which will take place live and online (more details below) during the event.

This year, 25 applicants vied for 15 available Linda and Tony Bonnici Broadcast/Communications scholarships, which pay for up to 12 credits per semester for one academic year. Seven of the 15 recipients also received the scholarship last year; the remaining students are new to the scholarship, which includes an internship in radio or TV broadcasting. Each student’s application is reviewed by a committee; students meeting the requirements are called in for a personal interview.

In four years, 34 new scholarships have been awarded. Because scholarship recipients can reapply every year, if they meet the requirements, a student could receive up to full tuition ­- 12 credits per year for four years.

This year, the Jim and Beverly Rogers Scholarship, in honor of the late Jim Rogers, joins three special Bonnici scholarships named in honor of Nevadans who have given to the community and the industry. Those scholarships include DeAnne Sheehan, Mike Geary and Gary Waddell.

Notable recipients this year include the first scholarship recipient, Alex Cannito, who will graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno in December, and is an associate producer in Reno with two years of real work experience already; Crystal Muguerza, is an intern this summer with NBC in Los Angeles; and University of Nevada, Las Vegas senior Christina Jones, who performs in “O” by Cirque du Soleil and was introduced to broadcasting as a member of the synchronized swimming team that competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“The most rewarding part is seeing the faces of these students when we tell them they will be receiving the scholarship,” Eric Bonnici, executive director of the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation. “We are changing lives.”

In January, the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation will continue to make an impact when it begins an all new mentoring program, which will go hand-in-hand with the scholarship program.

“We want to serve as a resource, not just financial aid to the students,” said Linda Bonnici, scholarship namesake. “Currently, UNLV, UNR and College of Southern Nevada are included in the program.”

“The students who receive these scholarships are the future of broadcasting in the state,” said Bob Fisher, CEO of the Nevada Broadcasters Association. “The scholarship is not only to help them financially with their educations, but to provide them a foot in the door and valuable contacts in order to further their careers.”

The Bonnicis are well-known Las Vegans in the broadcasting industry. Tony Bonnici worked his way up through the radio ranks and now serves as V.P./General Manager of Lotus Broadcasting. Linda Bonnici has worked in the industry for more than 30 years and currently is the vice president of sales at KLAS-TV, Channel 8.

The scholarships’ largest fundraisers are held during the gala’s live and silent auctions. Bidding on prizes will take place through GiveSmart, a silent auction technology provider, which helps nonprofit organizations make the most out of their auctions. People interested in bidding on auction items who are unable to attend the event can bid online at http://www.2014nba.auction-bid.org.

The event, which brings Nevada’s broadcast industry together once a year to honor industry achievements, isn’t reserved for just those in the broadcasting industry. The public also can purchase tickets to rub elbows with their favorite radio and television broadcasters and participate in the gala. Individual tickets to the gala are $125.

Established in 1961, the Nevada Broadcasters Association is dedicated to protecting, promoting, enhancing and strengthening Nevada’s broadcast industry to more effectively serve the public. A lobbying organization, the Nevada Broadcasters Association seeks to educate Nevada’s local, state and federal officials and other community leaders about the issues, concerns and challenges broadcasters face. The organization also serves as Nevada’s voice for Homeland Security, Public Warning and AMBER Alert.

To become a sponsor of the event, buy an ad in the Tribute Journal congratulating the evening’s honorees, donate items to the silent and live auctions, purchase tickets or receive an invitation to the event, call the Nevada Broadcasters Association office at 702-794-4994.