New Jersey 101.5 midday host Judi Franco didn't know what to expect when her boss called her into a meeting on Wednesday morning.

It was a surprise announcement — heard live on the air — that she was a 2022 recipient of the prestigious 47th annual Gracie Awards, given to talented women in television, radio and digital media.

It brought tears to her eyes. But it didn't leave her speechless.

"I thought I was getting fired!" she replied with the trademark irreverence that's endeared her to listeners of the "Dennis & Judi" show for more than 20 years. (Townsquare Media Senior Vice President of Programming Kurt Johnson and Chief Operating Officer Erik Hellum, who broke the news to Franco, assured her that, no, she wasn't canceled.)

Franco this year joins the likes of Melissa McCarthy, Kelly Clarkson, Elle Fanning, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Tamron Hall and Melissa Harris‐Perry in getting the honor.

Judi Franco photo
Judi Franco photo

“We are thrilled that Judi Franco’s impressive career is being recognized with a Gracie Award," Townsquare Media Trenton-Princeton Market President Brian Lang said. "Judi is an authentic and unique talent that knows how to create relevant engaging content for her on-air and online audience."

Townsquare Media
Townsquare Media

Becky Brooks, president of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, said the awards recognize "remarkable projects by and about inspirational women."

“We are honored to shine a spotlight on these women, whose stories have driven cultural awareness, offered entertainment that has made us laugh, cry, and everything in between," Brooks said. "This year, we will be returning to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and are delighted to return to an in-person format so that we can properly celebrate together.”

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File photo (Louis C. Hochman / Townsquare Media)

The Gracies celebrate talent and programming created by, for and about women in radio, television, and digital medias. Honorees are selected in national, local and student markets.

For a complete list of winners, click here.

The awards will be presented May 24 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.

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