Former WSAW-TV news director and WBA Hall of Famer Mark Zelich will receive the highest honor available from the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association.
Zelich will receive the Mitchell V. Charnley Award during its annual awards ceremony at the Midwest Journalism Conference on Saturday, April 13 in the Twin Cities.
Zelich, known simply as ‘Z’ to his colleagues, came to the Wausau television station then called WSAU-TV as a sports anchor in 1957, was named sports director in 1965, and became news director in 1977, a job he held until his retirement in 1994. He has trained and inspired hundreds of broadcast journalists throughout his career, earning his newsroom multiple awards and serving his audience in north central Wisconsin with distinction. He is also a member of the Emmy Silver Circle and was inducted into the WBA Hall of Fame in 1998.
“Z inspired excellence. His legacy lives on in the WSAW newsroom and in so many others across the country, where his former employees are finding their own success and making an impact on our business,” said MBJA President Jessica Laszewski. “Zelich has been a mentor and valued friend to many, who are paying it forward by guiding a new generation of journalists.”
After retiring, Zelich continued to work part-time as Special Projects Coordinator at WSAW until 2007, shepherding three events that started under his watch and continue to this day — the NewsChannel 7 Golf Classic and Pin Busters, a regional golf and bowling tournament respectively; and the NewsChannel 7 All Stars, which honors high school athletes. When Gray Television bought Wausau’s FOX affiliate in 2015, the “Z” in WZAW-TV, was included in honor of his service to the community.
“Zelich still inspires at the age of 90. Those who worked with him will tell you it was an honor and a privilege, and we can’t wait to celebrate Z and his outstanding contributions to our industry,” Laszewski said.
The awards ceremony will take place at the Aire Ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Aire Hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota at 7 p.m. on April 13. Reservations can be made on the conference website.