Awards Chair Wayne Freedman Retires from SF/NorCal TV Academy

By: Joyce Mitchell, Governor and Gold & Silver Committee Chair

The SF/NorCal TV Academy bids farewell to Awards Chair and force of nature, Wayne Freedman. Upholding the legacy of the golden statue and the excellence she represents, in 2016, he accepted a leadership position as awards chair with the chapter. The role is a commitment to validating the level of distinction that comes with receiving an Emmy® Award.  

A couple of months ago, confident the awards committee was in good hands, Freedman decided it was time to move on. He officially resigned July 8th, 2023, during the monthly Board of Governors’ meeting. He has been with the academy since 1981.

As awards chair, Freedman, like those before him, put in hours, weeks, and months of work, ensuring the integrity of the competition. “All I did was continue carrying on the tradition established by Linda Giannecchini,” said Freedman. “She was a teacher and mentor, setting the bar high.” Giannecchini knew the academy well, having served 5 decades, holding nearly every elective office.  She joined NATAS in 1972 and remained a knowledgeable influence both regionally and nationally, until her untimely death in 2019.

Eventually separating the English and Spanish language contests, Freedman maintains the competition better reflects the talent and excellence embedded in the Spanish-language television market. He sought out guidance from the Spanish-language TV community to ensure that the competition meets guidelines and expectations.

Freedman waded through some interesting times in his tenure as chair. When the pandemic hit, Emmys were awarded online. As awards chair, he was part of the team tackling two virtual galas. Both times, the shows harnessed the festivities of an actual event. “While I was chair at the time, production of the virtual galas was a total team effort with everyone pitching-in,” said Freedman.

Also, under his purview, a couple of Gold & Silver Circle virtual ceremonies went down in history. They were not easy, but – still – prevailed. For 2023, the upcoming Circles are looking very promising. The number of applications for the honor societies tripled this year. Freedman is assuring a diverse field and, early-on, reached out to both English and Spanish-language markets to encourage full representation.

Confident that the Awards Committee is headed in a solid direction under the new leadership of Pamela Young, Kris Sanchez and Paula Marcheschi, it’s Freedman’s time to go.  “I’m focusing on a new adventure, having left California, and now living in beautiful North Carolina,” said Freedman. It’s the end of an era for Freedman and the San Francisco region.

Freedman, however, is on the National Awards Committee. He began serving as a national trustee in 2019 and will be available for advice. He’s a good one to talk to. Freedman has 54 Emmy® Awards.

The past couple of weeks, Freedman’s been out golfing, travelling with family, and enjoying retirement in a gorgeous, new home he and his wife built from the ground-up. He’s been narrating a couple of documentaries here-and-there, staying busy. Life is good for the former San Francisco reporter.

Freedman retired a couple of years ago from KGO ABC 7 after 30-years with the station – and a total of 40-years working in the Bay Area. Because of his story-telling expertise, he’s something of a legend.

Still – among his vast Emmy® collection – the one that truly stands out is the Emmy® that belonged to his father, Mike Freedman. He logged 46-years in the industry, pioneering live TV and hand-held cameras.

As for the illustrious career of Wayne Freedman, it began when he was a kid following his dad around on the job. In 9th grade, he began writing a regular column for The Los Angeles Daily News. While studying for his BA Degree in political science at UCLA, Freedman became a network page assigned to the newsroom at KABC-TV in Los Angeles. He never forgot his father’s words, “Son, if you want to work in television, do the news. They don’t cancel the news.” Clearly, it’s advice Freedman took to heart.

He pursued an MA Degree in journalism from University of Missouri and that primed him for jobs in Louisville, Dallas, San Francisco and at CBS Network News. But San Francisco became home. “I have been on San Francisco television since 1981, beginning at KRON,” said Freedman.

Freedman, who is known for his keen writing abilities, shares tips of the trade in his book, IT TAKES MORE THAN GOOD LOOKS TO SUCCEED AT TELEVISION NEWS REPORTING. Now in it’s second edition, the book is required reading for 50 major college journalism programs in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. “It Takes More Than Good Looks…” is available on Amazon.

Freedman received the Governors’ Award in 2021, the highest honor a chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences can bestow. In 2013, he was presented with the Governors’ Citation, and in 2002, inducted into Silver Circle.

Because of his dad’s influence, Freedman refers to himself as a “news brat.” Raised by his parents in Los Angeles, his mother provided an interesting perspective in ‘what was to be’ – as well. She was a Broadway performer.  The die was cast. And Freedman manifested the destiny.