Speak out. Take a risk.

Speak out. Take a risk.

This is the advice given to attendees of this year’s CMAA Excellence Awards by Gary (Tex) Houston, video producer and mission worker, and winner of CMAA’s 2022 Legacy Award for outstanding contribution to media.

By: Rebecca Abbott - Eternity News

The official awards ceremony, held at Mantra on View on the Gold Coast on 13 September, kicked off a landmark conference for CMAA. After two years of gathering online due to COVID-19, CONNECT22 was CMAA’s first hybrid conference, with people gathered both in person and via livestream to explore this year’s theme of “truth, goodness, beauty” from 13-15 September.

After a moving welcome to country and didgeridoo performance, hosts Jo Bouris and Dave Adamson made way for Melbourne singer and semi-finalist in The Voice Australia, Fatai.

Fatai and Chris Sebastian with CMAA Awards Band

She was joined by Chris Sebastian, winner of The Voice 2020, as they delivered a perfect duet of the John Farnham classic You’re the Voice – a fitting anthem for Australia’s Christian communicators, as Houston later pointed out.

Australia needs you right now,” he told the crowd of over 200 media and Arts professionals.

We’re at a crisis point with our morals and values, and our lack of understanding about where to get them … We’ve got to speak out.

Tex Houston - Legacy Award Winner

Houston has certainly led by example. After his dramatic conversion to Christianity, five years into his career a highly successful musician, he has arguably produced more videos for the Christian music market than any other individual, as well as being heavily involved in mission work.

Another two Legacy Awards were presented to Australians who had committed their lives to sharing their faith through the Arts and media.

David Holmes received his award for outstanding contribution to the Arts, after 40 years of playing music and being involved in ministry. His career has spanned over 400 album projects, including recording and co-writing with Darlene Zschech, and even accompanying her at worship event for the Pope. Holmes has also performed and recorded with countless other Christian artists, including Steve Grace, Geoff Bullock, Chris Tomlin, Kari Jobe, Michael W. Smith and Colin Buchanan.

David Holmes - Legacy Award Winner

Holmes shared that after committing his life to Christ at age 18, he decided that “whatever gift, whatever level of resource I’ve been given, I’m going to commit that to expressing my journey of faith.

Of course, you can’t do that by yourself,” he added, paying particular honour to his wife of 32 years, Margie. “None of us respond to the call that we have on our lives as a solo artist, as a solo act. All of the award winners tonight have a team of people behind them that support and encourage them, help create the vision and help facilitate [so they can] speak it out.

The third Legacy Award, for outstanding contribution to media, was awarded to an entire family – the Daniel family, who have so far committed 45 years to community radio.

The Daniels Family - Legacy Award Winners

Brothers Terry, Richard and Glenn Daniel began a home-grown radio station 2DD in their bedrooms as children, drilling holes through the floor to run cables into their makeshift studios. Since Glenn’s death in 2021, the family has carried on this legacy with Glenn’s son Mark and Richard’s daughter Mel also working in radio.

A much-anticipated highlight of the night was the announcement of the winners of the 2022 People’s Choice Music Awards. The nominees are drawn from the top five artists most played on Christian radio in the past 12 months.  

For King and Country was named Australian Artist of the Year. Lauren Daigle took out the International Artist of the Year and Brooke Ligertwood won New Zealand Artist of the Year.

Following the Music Awards presentation, Chris Sebastian wowed the crowd with his rendition of International Artist of the Year, Lauren Daigle’s hit You Say.

An array of Excellence in Media Awards were presented at the ceremony, covering a range of categories in radio, digital media, film, TV, sales, fundraising, innovation, community impact and more.

The 2022 winners are:

Compelling Content – Audio
Real Faith with Cameron and Margaret Harvey – Vision Christian Media

Compelling Content – Digital Media
UNDISTRACTED Podcast with Laura Bennett – Hope Media

Compelling Content – Screen Media
Beyond The Fire: Recovery (Season 2) - CheekyMac Productions

Outstanding Innovation
DigiVids – Rhema Media

Community Impact Award
Can we pray for you? – 4B Media

The MVP Award for remarkable contribution went to Alan Martin from Positive Media and Laurene McClymont from Adelaide radio station 1079 Life.

Mary Argall from Positive Media received this year’s Emerging Talent Award.

Mary Argall - Emerging Talent Award

CMAA CEO Nathan Brown presented two Special Awards to Phil Edwards, who spent 10 years as the previous Chairman for CMAA, and to CBM for 10 years of partnership with CMAA and Christian radio stations.

The ceremony was studded with light-hearted moments between award presentations, including a crazy sock and the-highest-heels competition.

Competing for the Best Crazy Socks Award

The evening concluded with impromptu dancing as Chris Sebastian and Fatai performed to room twinkling with fairy lights and fun. This sold-out event set the stage to continue the journey into “truth, goodness and beauty” over the next two days of CONNECT 22.

View the Awards event here

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