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Earle Robinson Student Award Winners Announced

(l-r) Al Martin, Trent Balley, Luke Sloan, Jack Kirwan, Jack Ebling, and Robert Bennett
(l-r) Al Martin, Trent Balley, Luke Sloan, Jack Kirwan, Jack Ebling, and Robert Bennett

EAST LANSING, MI; June 24, 2022 – WKAR Current Sports Host Al Martin named two recent recipients of the Earle Robinson Student Award on Wednesday, June 22. The winners of the 2022 and 2021 Earle Robinson Student Award are Trent Balley and Luke Sloan. At an award ceremony at WKAR, they were joined by 2019 winner Jack Kirwan.

The award is named in honor of legendary WKAR sports reporter and former host of Sportstalk, Earle Robinson, a member of the Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame. This award was established to celebrate his reporting legacy after his passing in 2019.

“This award is the perfect tribute to the life and legacy that was, and is, Earle Robinson,” said Martin. “Earle’s legacy will continue to live through the journalists of tomorrow with this remarkable yearly tribute.”

The Earle Robinson Student Award is awarded in recognition of students in the sports reporting and broadcasting field who exemplify high-quality work, going above and beyond to create work that is innovative, creative, and entertaining.

“It means the world to me that Earle’s memory is remembered in this way,” said Robert Bennett, who worked as Robinson’s engineer for over 10 years. “Earle was my boss, my mentor, and most importantly my friend. Truly I am a much better person thanks to him and his kindness.”

Local sports reporter and Robinson’s longtime collaborator, Jack Ebling had the idea behind this award after Robinson’s passing. He reached out to Martin to work together in establishing this yearly award for students at Michigan State.

“Earle Robinson was more than my best friend, he was one of the best people who ever worked in sports journalism or represented Michigan State University,” said Ebling. “He’d be thrilled that Jack Kirwan, Trent Balley, and Luke Sloan are being honored with this award.”

The winners of the 2022 and 2021 Earle Robinson Student Award are Trent Balley and Luke Sloan.

“When Jack Ebling asked me to ‘do my homework’ on Earle, I couldn’t find a single bad word about the man,” said Balley. “In 39 years at WKAR, not one bad word. So just knowing what he represented, it’s incredible to even be mentioned in the same breath.”

Both Balley and Sloan are recent graduates of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism and worked as Current Sports beat reporters.

“It's such an honor to receive an award in Earle’s name because of everything he meant to this community,” said Sloan. “Earle had such a profound impact on Michigan State and Mid-Michigan not just for his work in sports, but for his kindness and love for everyone around him. I’m ready to work hard to continue to uphold the things that Earle believed in and stood for.”

Jack Kirwan was the first recipient of the award in 2019. He now works closely with Ebling at FOX 47 (WSYM).

“Jack and Al were my two biggest mentors during my time at MSU,” said Kirwan. “Although I never had the privilege of meeting Earle, I consider myself blessed to be surrounded by people who found it appropriate to present me with an award named for such an impactful man.”

For more station news from WKAR, visit wkar.org/station-news/.

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