The Religion Communicators Council (RCC) has recognized Dr. Ozzie Ostwalt, professor of philosophy and religion at Appalachian State University and host of AppTV show “Religion in Life,” with a 2019 RCC Wilbur Award in the category of Television and Cable Interview.

The award specifically recognizes his interview with the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. during the fifth episode of the show’s eighth season.

Ostwalt, one of 22 recipients, will accept the award at the RCC’s 90th annual convention in Chicago in April, which celebrates 70 years of Wilbur Awards.

The Wilbur Awards honor excellence in secular media — including print and online journalism, book publishing, broadcasting and motion pictures — in communicating religious issues, values and themes. Juries of media professionals, coordinated by RCC members across the country, evaluate the Wilbur Award submissions on content, creativity, impact and excellence in communicating religious values.

Past winners of Wilbur Awards include programs produced by CBS, CNN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, the Christian Science Monitor and a host of other national media outlets.

“We have produced many special programs during the past four years,” Ostwalt said, “but none more important than this interview with the Rev. Jackson. His insight into the role religion played during one of the most pivotal periods in American history reminds us how important it is to study religion and the way it affects everyday life.”

Now in its ninth season, “Religion in Life” is one of the longest-running programs on the AppTV channel and has aired over 80 episodes with guests — including ministers, theologians, academicians, artists, writers and politicians — exploring the integral role that faith and spirituality play in the world today. AppTV, Appalachian’s student-staffed television channel, is housed in the Department of Communication.

“With this program, our goal has been to create a series of intellectually stimulating and accessible interviews that will provide a scholarly resource on religion in America,” Ostwalt said.

“I have been fortunate to be part of AppTV’s programming and thank not only AppTV and their student producers, but also the College of Arts and Sciences for providing resources that support this program. I am proud that we have been able to create a quality series with interesting content on contemporary religion.”

“Religion in Life” is available on SkyBest channel 20 or 1020, Spectrum channel 198 and on AppTV campus channel 23-3. The episode of Ostwalt’s interview with Jackson, as well as previous episodes of “Religion in Life,” may be viewed online at

Article written by Ellen Gwin Burnette, courtesy of Appalachian State University