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WTOL 11 brings home 2 regional Emmys

Station honored in Indiana for promotional campaign and investigation into 2011 double homicide.

TOLEDO, Ohio — WTOL 11 was honored Saturday with two awards from the 53rd Annual Great Lakes Emmy ceremony at the Lucas Estate in Carmel, Ind.

The station received Emmys in the “Promotional Campaign” and “Investigation – Multiple Reports” categories.

The “First Alert Weather” campaign was produced by former marketing director Tamara Rost and senior marketing producer Troy Poling and featured meteorologists Chris Vickers, John Burchfield, and Ryan Wichman. Marketing producer Alex Babich and assignment editor Heather Schramm also made appearances.

Including several WTOL staff members doing mundane, everyday tasks, specifically the weather team, was done intentionally, according to Poling.

“It seemed to really resonate with people – not just because it was humorous, but also because it humanized the WTOL weather team. We want people to know that they can trust them – online, on our app, on TV, or even in person.”

“Murder in the Suburbs” was a three-night series that aired in February, 2021. It investigated the Jan. 30, 2011 murders of 21-year-old Johnny Clarke and his girlfriend, Lisa Straub,20, inside a Holland home. The series was produced by lead investigator Brian Dugger, senior photographer Eric Rerucha, and producer Silas Tsang.

“We are extremely honored to be recognized for our work, but our goal continues to be finding answers for the families. All these years later, there is still no closure for Johnny and Lisa's family,” Dugger said. “Sam Williams was convicted in this case, but detectives believe there are others involved. We intend to do whatever we can to help authorities bring them to justice.”

As a result of the investigation, the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office is retesting unknown DNA samples found in the home. The broadcast and associated videos have been viewed more than 1.3 million times on WTOL’s YouTube page.

The Central Great Lakes Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences represents parts of Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. This year’s event was the first in-person awards ceremony in three years.

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