Stephen Puffer, Betty Smith and Craig Ladd will be inducted in the Vermont Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame Saturday, December 3, 2022 at the Hilton Hotel in Burlington, VT.
2022 Hall of Fame Inductees
Small market radio broadcasters have to be consistently good at multiple jobs and Craig Ladd is among the best! When he wasn’t doing his show from 2-6pm weekdays on WLVB-FM in Morrisville, he was writing and producing commercials and PSAs, organizing station promotions, creating daily logs, generating coop and invoices for end of the month billing and so much more! He also broadcast high school basketball games and live remotes. Craig was always ready to help promote events and fundraisers for area organizations with interviews and PSA’s. A can-do man who never complained, he was a doer, learning new computer systems and solving endless problems all without fuss.
Craig’s 50+ year career reads like a road map of radio around the region. He started in 1970 at WEAV where, although still in High School, he was allowed to broadcast an inning of a Montreal Expos game! From 1972-1974, Craig attended Graham Junior College in Boston for broadcasting. He then worked at WKDR in Plattsburgh from 1974-1989 before going back to WEAV for a few years. In 1991, Craig moved to Vermont and worked at WDOT in Burlington until it was sold to Radio Vermont Group in 1992. He stayed with Radio Vermont Group on the air at WDEV and helped build WLVB-FM in Morrisville in 1993, where he was the Operations Manager until he retired in September of 2022.
Despite the fact that Craig has been fighting cancer for the past year, up until recently, he was still creating logs and billing, writing scripts and producing all from home. His passion for radio has been lifelong.
At Vermont Public, Producer/Announcer Betty Smith is known as the “founding mother of VPR.” Since day one, she has shared her passion, commitment, dedication and grit with Vermonters. She has guided the service in countless ways, through thick and thin and remains an important voice on the air in the afternoons.
After getting her start in radio at AM1230 WJOY in the mid 1970s, Betty was one of the pioneers that brought public radio to our state. As the service grew from one signal to a statewide, multi-format service, Betty has been a guiding light that centered the people of Vermont in the service.
Betty Smith has made the contribution of a lifetime to the broadcast and civil life of our state. She was at the drawing board when the station was just an idea, a series of meetings and community gatherings. She has remained at that table in the decades since, continually guiding the ship from behind the scenes and behind the mic.
Betty’s commitment to the greater Vermont community through her vision and dedication has brought the voices and perspectives of countless individuals across the state. She stewarded the Commentary Series for years and has been a mainstay of the Upper Valley’s cultural life for decades.
Stephen Puffer built his two small market radio stations along side his father, Gene Puffer, who was inducted into the VAB Hall of Fame in 1998. First WTWN-AM in Wells River in 1976 when he was just a teenager and then WYKR-FM just over the NH border in 1990. He is a second generation broadcaster who, over his 46 year career, has been a jack-of-all trades for his small business, doing announcing, engineering, sales, management and everything in between.
Guided by his philosophy of, “if we are all getting along in radio and promoting radio – Radio Wins!”, Stephen gets along with fellow broadcasters, seeking advice when needed and giving advice when asked. He even served on the VAB Board of Directors for a few years.
Dedicated to the communities he serves, Stephen has been involved with civic organizations including the local school board, cottage hospital, Wells River Savings board and Partnership for a Drug Free America, where he received their Excellence award four years in a row. Stephen has also been known to participate in community events to raise money for local charities like running road races, playing in golf tournaments and plunging into a cold lake in the middle of November. He is well known and respected in his community and his station’s have won multiple awards over the years, including Business of the Year from the local Chamber of Commerce, recognition awards from local schools, 4-H, 4th of July committee and others. He helps without looking for recognition playing a supporting role in many organizations.
Distinguished Service Award Winner
Roger Lewis, who recently retired, spent more than 40 years as a Newscast Director at WCAX-TV. The first part of his career was spent on the weekday evening newscasts before he moved to the morning and noon newscasts for most of the second half of his career.
Roger is one of those soft-spoken, behind-the-scenes operatives who made the newscasts go smoothly, even when everything behind the scenes was going wrong. He would quietly, calmly take charge of any situation and turn it around so that no one watching would ever know something was wrong. With Roger at the helm in the director’s chair, it gave everyone on the team a sense of confidence that all would be good.
Broadcaster of the Year
In November of 2019, the WCAX-TV and WPTZ-TV antenna on the transmission tower at the top of Mount Mansfield unexpectedly caught fire and was damaged beyond repair. The damage resulted in WCAX and WPTZ losing the ability to transmit their broadcast signals. Sub zero wind chills and rime ice buildup on the structures put the stations into a position where they had to ask for help from their other television competitors, Fox affiliate WFFF-TV and ABC affiliate WVNY-TV.
Even though this happened on a Saturday morning, WFFF-TV and WVNY-TV answered the call and along with their parent company Nexstar Media, chose to put the public interest ahead of having a competitive advantage. They immediately allowed WCAX and WPTZ to use WFFF and WVNY’s tower, also on Mount Mansfield, to set up a temporary antenna and assisted with the logisitcs of engineering such an unprecidented feat. Despite the Thanksgiving holiday and extreme weather, their decision to help led to WCAX and WPTZ getting back on the air by Sunday, December 1st, just before a snowstorm.
WFFF and WVNY General Manager Alexander von Lichtenberg said, “Broadcast TV is the primary source of local news, weather and sports in the communities to which we are licensed to serve the public interest. WFFF/WVNY and Nexstar Media were glad to help WCAX & WPTZ when the antenna fire knocked them off the air, just as they cooperated and assisted us to serve our viewing community when we needed their help several years ago.”
This collaborative effort is a testament to our local television station’s dedication to supplying local news, weather and public safety information to the communities they serve no matter what.
Snyder-Teffner Award Winner
The Snyder-Teffner award was created in 2014 to acknowledge excellence by broadcasters who work behind the scenes in a support role. It was named for VAB Hall of Famers and Engineers Dennis Snyder and Ted Teffner, who both served on the VAB Board of Directors for many years. This year’s winner is Andrea Lammly.
Andrea, known affectionately as “Andie”, has been the Business Manager for Hall Communications stations WOKO, WKOL, WJOY, WIZN and WBTZ for over 30 years. As Business Manager, her exceptional money management skills, attention to detail and ability to “stay on” sales staff about collections keeps Hall Communications financially successful. But it is her devoted and generous spirit that make her so well liked and appreciated at the office. Andie never forgets a birthday or anniversary and happily shares her incredible talent for baking pies and cakes regularly!
An avid lover of country music, Andie volunteered many times to host station bus trips to concerts with her husband C.K. Coin and was a critical part of WOKO’s Country Club Music Festival on-site management team for 10+ years. Heavily involved in volunteer work with her Church in Milton, Andrea is dedicated, loyal, trustworthy and the kind of person you want on your team!
Alan Noyes Community Service Award
Rising Star Award Winners
The VAB’s Rising Star award recognizes someone under the age of 30 who is relatively new to broadcasting but shows an extraordinary amount of passion and potential and will likely have a long and successful career in the industry! This year’s winners are Kaylee Mumford and Dom Amato.
Kaylee Mumford, Producer/Director, Vermont Public
Kaylee Mumford started as a Media specialist at VTPBS after graduating from Champlain College in 2018. A reliable, trusted and knowledgeable Master Control operator, she was quickly promoted to Production Technician, having developed a reputation for clear communication, timely execution and the ability to learn new systems and processes. As a Production Technician, Kaylee’s performance continued to impress her supervisors – often delivering work in half the time expected. After another 18 months, Kaylee was promoted again to Promotions Producer and is now a Producer/Director.
Kaylee is a stickler for details, cares about the quality of her work, is always looking to learn a new skill, master new software, or improve an imperfect process and she does it with candor, empathy and humility. From MC Op to Producer/Director in 5 years – Vermont Public is extremely lucky to have such a talented and motivated person in its ranks and her efforts deserved to be recognized.
Dom Amato, Anchor/Reporter, WCAX-TV
After graduating from Lyndon State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Journalism Arts in 2016, Dom found his first job in the WCAX newsroom as the morning photographer in 2016. As the years went on, Dom became a multimedia journalist on the weekends before moving into a Monday thru Friday reporting job. Dom’s beat was focused on crime, the court system and police, where he covered a number of homicide cases, police shootings and high-profile trials.
About a year after becoming the Weekend Evening Anchor, Dom moved into the 11 p.m. co-anchor position in the midst of the pandemic and helped launch 3 News Now, a live streaming platform on WCAX.com. In 2021, Dom became co-anchor of Channel 3 This Morning, is still the primary anchor of 3 News Now and continues his role as a reporter when needed.
Dom is well-liked and respected by his colleagues. He has a strong work ethic. He’s reliable and accountable for his work. He is without a doubt a “rising star” in our industry.
Friend of Broadcasters Award Winner
As the Adjutant General of Vermont, Major General Gregory Knight has embraced speaking to the media on a regular basis, has made transparency the new normal and has strengthened the relationship between the Vermont Army National Guard and Vermont’s radio and television stations. The last two years, he had a choice to continue using the VAB’s NCSA program and he chose to believe in radio and television’s ability to share the guard’s story and continue investing in it as an effective recruitment tool.
It is for those reasons the VAB has chosen to honor Major General Knight with the Friend of Broadcasters Award!