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UCM Students
Working at KMOS-TV Earn Telly Awards

AUG 26, 2022

WARRENSBURG, MO – KMOS-TV, the PBS station licensed to the University of Central Missouri, recently received six Telly Awards honoring excellence in local television programming. Three of these awards were given to KMOS student producers competing against established producers in professional categories: Cassidy Lesire, sophomore, created a short documentary about one company’s inclusive message and accomplishments; Paris Norvell, junior, helped viewers learn about the state of online threats from a cyber security engineer protecting a large school district; and Tim Oar, senior, created a touching profile of a thriving community of musicians and historians. All of these productions are available online.

“UCM students employed at KMOS-TV gain experience in all aspects of the operation, and they enjoy the opportunity to demonstrate their talents and contribute to the station’s success,” said General Manager Josh Tomlinson. "The fact that these students were honored in categories alongside professionals from organizations like CBS Viacom, The Olympic Channel and Al Jazeera TV is a perfect example of how the talent of the students, the quality of their UCM education and the opportunity provided by KMOS-TV come together to provide an experience like no other." 

Each of these UCM students majors in Digital Media Production, and over the summer two of them continued their education through internships: Norvell with public radio station KCUR in Kansas City, and Lesire with Disney World Florida. After graduating in May, Oar worked with the KMOS production staff on the latest season of the KMOS flagship series “Making.” He currently teaches Dital Media Communications at State Fair Community College in Sedalia.  
 
Two other KMOS projects honored with Telly Awards were the documentary “Mule Tracks: UCM After 150 Years,” and “The Story of Us: A KMOS American Portrait Special.” “Mule Tracks” received a Bronze Winner in Television – History and a Bronze Winner in Television – Writing.  This documentary explored the founding and continuing history of UCM. “The Story of Us” also received Bronze Telly awards in the Categories of Television – Diversity and Inclusion for its role in a national collaboration featuring stories of individuals living with disabilities.  

More About the Three Student Projects Honored
“Giving Me Life: Nclusion Plus” is a Bronze Winner in the category Online General – Event. Produced by Cassidy Lesire (sophomore, Digital Media Production major), this is a short documentary about the positive messages and accomplishments of a company that specializes in pop-up entertainment events. It features the company founders, as well as the queens who put on the fabulous shows. Some of the other honorees in this category are KHOU CBS Houston, City of Murfreesboro, Tennessee and The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. 

“Zero Day Threat” is a Bronze Winner in Online – Information. Produced by Paris Norvell (junior, DMP major), this short documentary features Evan Nichols, an information security engineer for one of the largest school districts in the state of Kansas discussing what cyber security is and examples of how it takes place in daily life. Some of the other honorees in this category are Al Jazeera Digital, InvestigateTV and ViacomCBS. 

“The Schoolhouse Jammers” is a Silver Winner in Online – Documentary, produced by Tim Oar (senior, DMP major). Since 2003 the Johnson County Historical Society has hosted musical jam sessions which have grown into a thriving community of musicians from multiple backgrounds. Some of the other honorees in this category are The Weather Channel Digital, PBS SoCal and The Olympic Channel.

About KMOS
KMOS is a PBS member television station licensed to the University of Central Missouri. Since 1979 we have broadcast high-quality engaging, educational and entertaining programs to central Missouri. From one original channel broadcast 18 hours a day to four channels broadcast 24/7, KMOS is supported in the community through individual memberships and corporate support, by UCM as well as underlying support from all viewers.

About UCM
The University of Central Missouri transforms students into lifelong learners, dedicated to service, with the knowledge, skills and confidence to succeed and lead in the region, state, nation and world. Our 150-acre main campus is located in Warrensburg, with our extended campus, UCM-Lee’s Summit, located at the Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit, Mo. UCM offers 150 programs of baccalaureate and master’s degree study with outstanding, experienced faculty, and opportunity for study around the world.

About the Telly Awards
The Telly Awards was originally founded in 1979 to honor excellence in local, regional and cable television commercials, but added with non-broadcast video and television programming added soon after. The Telly Awards annually showcases the best work created within television and across video, for all screens. Receiving over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents, Telly Award winners represent work from some of the most respected advertising agencies, television stations, production companies and publishers from around the world.  

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University of Central Missouri student producers at KMOS-TV who were honored with PBS Telly Awards are, from left, Tim Oar, Cassidy Lesire, and Paris Norvell.

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Meet Anthony Plogger

JUL 18, 2022

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anthony Plogger.

Hi Anthony, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?

Outside of Nclusion Plus, I am an educator. I am a Middle School Social Studies teacher. I love that by day, I am educating young minds about where our history has been and how we got to where we are today.

 

With Nclusion Plus, I am not only a Co-Founder of Nclusion Plus but also the Director of Club Content. Through my role in Nclusion I book entertainers, create the shows, find new and recurring locations and so much more. I am proud of what I do because I can provide safe spaces for our entertainers.

 

I think being an educator and event planner really hones in on my skills and allows me to do two things I love and enjoy doing as a professional, an educator, and a member of the queer community.

 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?

 

Like any business, it has had its ups and downs. We have experienced successes and failures which is part of every journey.

 

I would say our successes have made us grateful for the journey and opportunities we have been provided while our failures have allowed us to grow and become abetter organization for our LGBTQIA+ communities.

 

The struggles have varied, but like every business, we have persevered as a group to ensure we are providing the best and safest entertainment for our customers.

 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Nclusion Plus was created after our local drag bar, Yin Yang Nightclub closed due to COVID-19.

 

We were regulars of the club and it really took a personal toll on our ability to have a safe space where we could come together, be safe and have fun as a community.

 

We contacted a few entertainers we knew and wanted to have a pop-up drag show which we hosted on Facebook Live (this was in the heart of the pandemic where we had to follow strict COVID protocols.

 

After receiving 15,000 views on our first video, we worked as a group of friends (now business partners) to bring pop-up LGBTQIA+ entertainment such as drag, burlesque, weddings, and more to areas in need.

 

What started in a 1000 square foot office space and a digital camera has grown to 200+ entertainers, close to 50 pop-up locations, and entertainment that has popped up across the state in locations that have never had access to drag before.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Please check out where Nclusion Plus is popping up next by catching our social media at Nclusion Plus on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube.

 

We hope to see you at an upcoming event where you are safe and valued as a member of the queer community or an ally.

Contact Info:

 

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Image Credits
Heidi Naomi, Aria, Bella Rose, Alexandria Evangelista, and Nclusion Plus

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Nclusion Plus' all-day Halloween Bash

OCT 22, 2021

Nclusion Plus' BRANDON BANKS and ANTHONY PLOGGER invite everyone to experience All Hallows Eve the LGBTQIA+ way: with a drag show (featuring Maxi Glamour and the "midwest Michael Jackson") and so much more! All ages welcome until 5:00. (3:50) October 22, 2021

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Nclusion Plus finds new approach to nightlife and creating LGBTQ community

FEB 22, 2021

By April 2020, the drag performers of mid-Missouri found themselves once again looking for a new home when Yin Yang, Columbia’s sole LGBTQ-dedicated bar that regularly hosted drag shows, closed. Seven friends, all drag show regulars, banded together to birth Nclusion Plus.

Venus O’Hara, who has been performing for 10 years, was asked by the founders to become a performer for their new group.

“It felt heartwarming to me because I had never been reached out to by other gay men before in a friendship way,” O’Hara said. “It meant a lot because I felt like they wanted me to be a part of their lives.”

O’Hara credits having this group of male friends with opening her eyes and teaching her to “look past the stereotypes of the gay society.” This is one goal of Nclusion Plus.

The new business hopes to side-step the traditional obstacles facing most small businesses by relying on a member subscription, providing LGBTQ resources for all ages and forgoing a permanent location.

They are looking to serve the LGBTQ community in a fresh new way that is “member-owned, run, organized and centric,” said Brandon Banks, one of the co-founders of Nclusion Plus.

A place to call home

According to a Gallup Daily tracking survey conducted by the Williams Institute and Movement Advancement Project, 3.8% of the Missouri population identifies as LGBTQ. In 2015, there were 80 victims of sexual orientation-based hate crimes, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Despite mid-Missouri's need, Columbia has seen the opening and closing of five LGBTQ bars, the most recent casualty being Yin Yang. So when news of this most recent closure came, the seven LGBTQ mid-Missourians and friends knew that if they wanted a queer-run establishment to be long-lasting they needed to try something new. Their first question was where their startup funds would come from.

They did the math and realized that between them, they had unconsciously been spending around $1,000 a month on entry costs, tips and drinks at drag shows. Since the start of the pandemic, that money was no longer being used. Rather than pad their own savings accounts, the group pooled their money and used it to fund small virtual shows put on by their friends.

Banks was deemed the “most business-y” of the group and was therefore assigned the role of writing a business plan.

“We don't want to have a location that costs us $5,000 a month, or else we won't be able to afford this more than one month,” Banks said. “We just built our dream list, and we worked backwards essentially.”

Nclusion Plus operates as pop-up entertainment rather than paying rent for a permanent space. Currently, Nclusion Plus hosts their shows in the lower level of Twaddle Orthodontics and at Downtown's Pressed.

"Because we don't have a physical location, we're able to be very nimble. We don't have financial pressure against us that makes us collapse,” Banks said.

An orthodontics office may not seem like an obvious home for drag performers. However, the team, between the dynamic choreography and engaging performances, transforms the space, suspending the COVID-19 reality briefly for a night of fun and glamour.

“We're gonna go wherever people ask us to put on a show,” co-founder of Nclusion Plus, Anthony Plogger said. “If you've got 1,500 square feet, we'll put on the show for you.”

Supporting performers

Nclusion Plus also sets itself apart through its member-orientated approach to business. Rather than having one sole owner, the seven members share the burden of opening a new social club. The performers are encouraged to become members as well, and every member is encouraged to join a committee. This allows the members to have direct control over the decisions of the club, ensuring that it remains true to its purpose of being an inclusive space for everyone and fulfilling the community’s evolving needs.

To further support the performers and members, the founders work with the drag kings and queens to record digital content that teases their shows and promotes their brand as a performer. They do photoshoots with the performers, tag them in the Nclusion Plus social media posts and help them in producing and selling locally sourced merchandise.  

O’Hara was one of the first performers to join Nclusion Plus. She is also one of the primary members of Nclusion Plus’s Education Committee and helps run the Pride Pioneer, which is a monthly publication that highlights local and celebrity pioneers in the LGBTQ community.

“Yin Yang did wonderful things, and they offered me so many shows, but a lot of times it was about the next biggest name we can get, and that’s not always me,” O’Hara said. “I felt like my talent was strong; Nclusion sees that and wants to do everything they can to show that with posters, T-shirts, stickers, slogans and memorabilia, and they even hosted a roast for me for my drag birthday, which I would have never gotten the opportunity to do elsewhere.”

Luna Steelheart, who has been performing in St. Louis and Kansas City for four years, was asked to perform in Columbia at Nclusion Plus shows by her friend and Nclusion Plus founder, Plogger. Since then, she says, her drag has evolved and her fan base has grown. Steelheart praised Columbia’s evolving and adaptive performance scene. 

“Nclusion Plus not only promotes you for them, they promote you for other people,” Steelheart said. “So now I'm almost traveling all over the state to perform, which has been my dream because I would love to turn drag into a full-time gig.”

Along with promoting the performers, Nclusion Plus is working to teach them business and performance skills. Banks realized that new performers starting out weren’t getting the business tips they needed to take their performance to the next level. He knew that time on stage was only a part of the whole picture.

“We also have tried to do some professional development workshops, surrounding building resumes, learning interview skills, perfecting job searches, trying to understand the business of entertainment. It's easy to get on stage and put on an outfit, but do you understand that you're supposed to track your tips and what happens when you are 1099 person versus an employee, and all those things that may not be told to them,” Banks said.

Nclusion Plus works to better educate their performers to help them reach success. Along with professional development workshops, Nclusion Plus hosts a bootcamp performance workshop . During this bootcamp, new performers work with experienced mentors to focus on an area they hope to improve on each month.

Community Education

Unlike other drag spaces, Nclusion Plus is member-focused, so performances are just a fraction of what they do. Their goal is to build a healthy, inclusive environment for the entirety of the LGBTQ community.

“Being in the LGBTQ community, the LGBTQIA community is not always open doors and friendly smiles; it can sometimes be even when you find a safe space, it's not always a healthy space. ... Our mission is really to support the positive environment where the entertainers are valued and appreciated,” Plogger said.

Nclusion Plus is working to create a cumulative portal of resources for the queer community, complete with book suggestions and connections to mental health services, on their website.

Plogger has a personal interest in education and wanted to be sure it was a pillar in the organization’s foundation. As part of his education efforts, he selects children’s books, teenage books and adult books monthly to suggest to the community. These are books written by and or for the LGBTQ community with the goal of educating or including those in the community. Plogger links the books from Skylark Bookstore, a local business in downtown Columbia.

“In the last couple of decades those stigmas have started to subside. And people have been more open minded to even allowing conversations about LGBTQIA+ individuals to exist in their households and in their lives. So, I think that while we have that opportunity, it's more and more important to educate people on how we be safe as a community, this is how we should interact with others, and how they should hopefully understand and interact with us, and then it gets us all into being in a more equal and egalitarian playing field,” Banks said.

Columbia has seen a growing and evolving LGBTQ community, with the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic throwing traditional bar owners an extra curveball. Looking for an innovative way to create a home for their community, Nclusion Plus is leading the next wave of entertainment groups with their member-run, pop-up business style. With a focus on resources for the community and a local- oriented model, Nclusion Plus is looking to build a healthy performance and community space for all.

“It's inclusive to everyone and every type of performer,” Steelheart said, “which I think speaks bounds on their characters that they are so open to just everyone. Nclusion is a place of love and acceptance and kindness and family; those are, I would say, their four key fundamentals.”

Nclusion Plus will be hosting two shows this week. Honey D'Moore and Venus O'Hara will be hosting a show at 8 p.m Thursday at Twaddle Orthodontics. Saturday, join Nclusion Plus for Luna's Birthday Bash at Twaddle Orthodontics.

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Creating a Place for 'Nclusion' in Columbia

OCT 29, 2020