Hometown Media Awards – Rules

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Please read each section of information below carefully before you submit your program.

Entries must come from non-commercial programming from access center professionals, independent producers and students.

Programs entered must have had their first telecast on a local cable access channel or their initial stream/web distribution on or between January 1 and December 31 of the previous year (i.e. entries for the 2018 Hometown Media Awards should have first aired between January 1st 2017 through December 31st 2017).

Some categories require specific criteria to be met in order for an entry to be eligible. Be sure to read the category descriptions carefully so that your entry will not be disqualified.

A full payment must be received by March 23, 2018.
Payment submissions can only be in US Dollars.

Important Notice: A new entry and judging platform will be used in 2019 for the Hometown Media Awards. Because of this change, entrants will be required to pay for their entries when they are submitted. Please plan accordingly and be prepared to use a credit or debit card upon entering submissions. Start thinking now about your best work from 2018! The entry period will open in early January.

ACM Member – $50 per entry
Non-Member – $75 per entry
Student – $40 per entry

Payment Types
Credit Card – ACM accepts Visa, MC, Discover & AMEX
Check or Money Order will NOT be accepted starting 2019.

Online submissions close 11:59 pm Eastern Time on March 15, 2018.
Tip: Don’t wait until the last minute! make your submission early.

Must include any information judges will need to access your video (passwords or other instructions).


Overall Excellence – 20 minute total running time (TRT).

All other entries – Eight minute total running time (TRT).
The judges will view the first eight minutes of your entry, keep this in mind when editing so your first eight minutes is your best work and ultimately what you want the judges to see.
*Some standard categories may have additional time restrictions so please read descriptions carefully.*
*We strongly recommend that you edit your entry to the eight minute length of time so that judges will view what you consider to be your best eight minutes. If you do not edit your entry down, judges will view eight minutes at random.*


Link to your entry via Youtube, Vimeo or other permalinked video hosting web service.
If judges are unable to view your entry, you may be disqualified.
Make sure your link is set to a public or
include any information judges will need to access your video (passwords or other instructions).

Self-Service File Upload (300MB Size Limit)
Formats accepted: .wmv, .mpg, .mpeg, .avi, .mov, .mp4, .wma, .wav, .mp3
*The Community Impact category will also accept PDF and Word documents up to 25 MB.*
If you have other supporting documentation to provide that is not an accepted file type, please contact Katie at kbenson@allcommunitymedia.org.


For videos not in English, please provide a transcript if one is available, however, it is not necessary.   The judges will judge entries with what they are given and any additional information, including subtitles, will help the them.

Please read each category descriptions carefully. Some categories have special requirements.


Standard Category Entries
You may enter your program in as many categories as you wish.  You may NOT enter a program in more than one producer division. For example: you may enter a program as an independent producer in two different categories, but you may NOT enter the same program as a student entry in one category and as an independent producer in another. Select the appropriate producer division on the entry form. 

Each entry must be submitted with a separate entry form (as well as on a separate DVD if submitting via that method).  You must pay an entry fee for each entry submitted.  One check may be sent for the total amount of all required fees. A new feature has been added to allow you to copy entries saving you time if you wish to enter the same video into more than one category. Please be sure to view the instructions on the online entry site.

For Standard Categories, submit a single program. Compilations of multiple programs are not allowed for standard category entries (unless entering into the “series” sub-categories).

Overall Excellence Entries
Overall Excellence in Community Media entries must be submitted by an access organization, cable company, educational institution, local government, or other institution that provides public, educational, or governmental access services. The Overall Excellence divisions are based on the access organization’s annual operating budget:

(1) Less than $300,000;
(2) $300,001 to $650,000;
(3) $650,001 to $1,000,000;
(4) More than $1,000,000

At a minimum, Overall Excellence entries must include one unedited excerpt from each of at least six different programs that first aired between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017.  The excerpts should be separated by black, a character-generated slate or a video bridge.  The total running time must not exceed 20 minutes.

Entries will be disqualified if:

  1. The DVD or submitted video is not viewable: audio is inaudible, video is unstable, DVD not finalized, judges are unable to access private link, or for any other technical reason. Judging sites will attempt to view on at least 2 machines before disqualifying. Please double check your entries!
  2. An entry clearly violates a specific requirement of the category in which it is entered.
  3. Any portion of the program was taped after December 31, 2017.
  4. First cablecast of the entry was after December 31, 2017.

No refunds will be made for any entry that is disqualified or if any other error is made by the producers or submitters of any entries.  A decision by the judging panel to disqualify an entry is final. 

Decisions and Judging
All decisions made by the judging panels and the Alliance Hometown Coordinator are final. Judging Panels are comprised of volunteer judges and ACM members from across the country that work with and are employed by community media centers. Judges receive detailed instructions and guidelines and are encouraged to leave comments for participants.

Return of Judging Forms
The Alliance and Hometown management offers the return of judging feedback as a courtesy to entrants that request it.  However, we cannot guarantee the return of all judging forms.  We will make every effort to return judging scores and comments to those who specifically request them but due to a variety of circumstances beyond our control, we may not be able to fulfill all requests. Interested in becoming a judge? Read more information here.

The Alliance is not responsible for lost or damaged DVDs.  Please do not send the master copy.  ENTRIES WILL NOT BE RETURNED.

Non-exclusive rights to entries
ACM retains the right to use all or part of the entries for promotional purposes on a non-exclusive basis for ONE year from the Hometown Media Awards Celebration which  is being held on July 12, 2018. The producer is responsible for obtaining all approvals, clearances, licenses, etc., for materials contained in the entry and must provide such clearance upon request.

Awards Ceremony
The Hometown Media Awards Celebration is held at the Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference.

Winners are responsible for their own travel plans and expenses.

Winners Receive National Recognition
Each award winner receives a beautiful plaque personalized with the name of the producer, title of the program, and the category for which it won.  Duplicate plaques may be purchased for a fee.

All winning entries and honorable mentions will be listed on the Alliance  for Community Media website.  Selected entries may be included in sampler tapes and other materials used by ACM to promote community media. If your provide a link to your full winning entry, ACM will post it on the winning entries page for the public to view.

If you have questions, contact the Hometown Media Awards Coordinator, Katie Benson at kbenson@allcommunitymedia.org or (952) 928-4643. Please note that the ACM cannot advise participants which categories they should enter.