A Franklin native joined with three classmates at Hillsdale College in Michigan to earn first place for Best Comedy Program from the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Awards announced earlier this month.
Rachel Kookogey, who was homeschooled growing up in Franklin and is now a junior at the independent liberal arts college located in Hillsdale, Mich., is part of a broadcast team that hosts a weekly radio show called “The Loft.” It is a variety/comedy show featuring an array of content, humor, interviews and entertainment on WRFH/Radio Free Hillsdale 101.7 FM. The Loft is also accessible through a podcast on SoundCloud.
Kookogey and fellow students Nick Treglia and Caleb Ramette started the show in the fall of 2019, and it now has a widespread audience listening through either the radio station or the podcast. Josh Camp joined the team later as producer.
“We wanted to do something different that was entertaining and interesting to students, faculty and people in the community,” said Kookogey, a journalism major who is involved in both the radio station and the school newspaper.
“We’ll do news, game shows, interviews and different sketches, and we’ll talk about popular culture. But we do it from a comedic, lighthearted angle.”
The Loft crew submitted a 10-minute segment of the show for their entry in the competition. Finalists in the IBS Awards were chosen among more than 3,000 submissions from across the country and considered among the top 5% of all submissions.
“It takes a lot of hard work to be funny,” Scot Bertram, general manager of WRFH and lecturer in journalism at Hillsdale College, said in a press release from the school. “The crew on ‘The Loft’ has accepted this challenge and puts in the time, week after week, to make the show as good as it possibly can be. I’m proud of these students, and we all are honored that IBS has recognized them as the best in the country.”
As it happens, Kookogey was a finalist for an IBS award last year for a sportscast she did for the radio station. She had the opportunity to go to New York City in early March 2020 for the live announcement of winners for that year, just before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
A trip to New York this year for finalists, of course, had to be scrapped because of the virus, and awards were announced virtually.
“I’m glad I had the opportunity to go last year,” Kookogey said. “It is sad that we couldn’t go this year, but the fact that we won the award is definitely a shining moment.”