Lifetime Achievement Award
Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY)
America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, for her extraordinary leadership on public broadcasting issues throughout her 32-year congressional career.
This is only the second Lifetime Achievement Award to be awarded by APTS. The first was presented to Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) in 2014.
Chairwoman Lowey led the successful effort in 2019 to increase federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, by $20 million, for the first time in ten years. In 2005, she offered an amendment on the House floor to stave off cuts and increase the appropriations for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by $100 million. This dramatic legislative effort changed the course of public broadcasting history and ensured that federal funds would be available to support stations’ community service in education, public safety and civic leadership.
“Congresswoman Nita Lowey has been an effective, energetic and courageous champion of public broadcasting during her entire career on Capitol Hill,” said APTS president and CEO Patrick Butler. “Her advocacy on our behalf has secured and increased our federal funding and made it possible for us to teach millions of America’s children, protect lives and property through our public safety communications mission, tell the stories of hometown America in memorable ways, and equip our citizens to lead the world’s most important democracy.
“This remarkable support of public broadcasting is only the beginning of Chairwoman Lowey’s impact for good on the nation she has served so long and so well, and America’s Public Television Stations are deeply honored to present this most well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award to Congresswoman Nita Lowey."
2020 Champion of Public Broadcasting Awards
The Champion of Public Broadcasting Award is given to political leaders and other individuals who safeguard the ability of local public television stations to provide education, public safety and civic leadership services to their communities.
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) presented the Champion of Public Broadcasting Award to Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).
As chairwoman of the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Congresswoman DeLauro’s leadership last year was critical to securing a $20 million increase in federal funding for public broadcasting -- the first increase in a decade -- which will have a significant impact on local stations and the services they provide to their communities.
“Chairwoman DeLauro has been a long-time supporter and friend of public broadcasting,” said APTS president and CEO Patrick Butler. “We are immensely grateful for her leadership on our funding issues and for championing the essential community-based services to which our local stations are committed, in the fields of education, public safety and civic leadership.
“We are particularly grateful for the Congresswoman’s support of public television’s growing work in adult education and workforce development. Our job placement rate exceeds 90 percent, as our hundreds of training courses give us considerable flexibility to match skills with employment needs in America’s communities.
“Congresswoman DeLauro understands well our commitment to local service far beyond the television set, and we are honored to present her with our 2020 Champion of Public Broadcasting Award in recognition of her extraordinary efforts to win an increase in our federal funding for the first time in 10 years.”
Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) presented the Champion of Public Broadcasting Award to Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK).
Senator Sullivan has been an enthusiastic supporter of public media and recognizes the importance of federal funding for the work of local stations. As the Republican sponsor of the annual Senate public media funding letter for the last two years, Senator Sullivan played a critically important role in increasing federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) last year, the first increase in 10 years.
“Senator Sullivan is a vigorous advocate of public broadcasting, particularly his local stations in Alaska, all fine examples of the community-based service to which public television stations throughout America are committed, particularly in the fields of education, public safety and civic leadership.” said APTS president and CEO Patrick Butler.
“Senator Sullivan tirelessly champions our cause, and we are extraordinarily grateful for his leadership in expanding our bipartisan support in Congress. America's Public Television Stations are honored to present Senator Sullivan with the Champion of Public Broadcasting Award he so richly deserves.”
Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI)
America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) presented the Champion of Public Broadcasting Award to Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI).
As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee from 2010-2016, Congressman Upton shepherded passage of legislation establishing the broadcast spectrum incentive auction and ensuring that all channel repacking costs were covered.
Congressman Upton is now co-chair of the Public Broadcasting Caucus, which encourages federal investment in public media and works with public broadcasters to enhance their missions of education, public safety and civic leadership in communities across America.
“Fred Upton is a consummate legislator who reaches across the partisan aisle to craft and enact laws that make a difference in America,” said APTS president and CEO Patrick Butler.
“We in public broadcasting are extremely fortunate that a leader of his talent and temperament is one of our champions — and has been for a long time. It’s been my personal privilege to know Congressman Upton since the Reagan Administration, and there simply is no finer public servant.
“He’s helped us build our broad bipartisan support in the Congress, navigate a challenging spectrum auction, and strengthen our ability to serve our country.
"America's Public Television Stations are honored to present this most well-deserved 2020 Champion of Public Broadcasting Award to Congressman Fred Upton."
Maryland State Senator Nancy J. King (D-Montgomery County)
America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) presented the Champion of Public Broadcasting Award to Maryland State Senator Nancy J. King (D-Montgomery County).
In 2017, State Senator King authored and secured passage of Maryland Senate Bill 1034, a ground-breaking law that requires the Governor to increase the funding provided to the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission, the governing body of Maryland Public Television, by the same percent that the general fund revenues increase for that year. In addition, this law requires the Governor to provide funding to make up any cut in the federal funding provided to the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Community Service Grants for local stations.
This remarkable piece of legislation ensures that public funding will be a reliable source of support for Maryland Public Television. King is the first State legislator to ever receive the Champion of Public Broadcasting Award.
“Senator King has written a whole new chapter in the history of public support for public television,” said APTS president and CEO Patrick Butler. “SB 1034 is an inspiration for every public television station in America, and we are deeply appreciative of her leadership and vision in creating this first-of-its-kind legislation. We could not ask for a more faithful advocate of our cause, and we are honored to present a well-deserved 2020 Champion of Public Broadcasting Award to State Senator Nancy King of Maryland.”
2020 David J. Brugger Lay Leadership Award
The Brugger Award is named in honor of the longest-serving president of America's Public Television Stations, who led the organization from 1987 to 2000.
Edward Kaplan - Maryland Public Television
America's Public Television Stations (APTS) presented the David J. Brugger Lay Leadership Award to long-time Maryland public broadcasting leader Edward H. Kaplan.
Kaplan has been a member of the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission (MPBC), the governing body of Maryland Public Television (MPT), since 1996 and chair since 2007, having been named chair by both Republican and Democratic governors.
Kaplan served two three-year terms on the APTS Board of Trustees, lending his financial and real estate expertise to enhance the business operations of the association. As a parting gesture on leaving the board in 2019, Kaplan endowed the Edward H. Kaplan Fund giving APTS the financial flexibility to deal quickly and effectively with unanticipated challenges and opportunities.
"It's difficult to think of a more effective advocate for public television, over a longer period of time, than Eddie Kaplan," said Patrick Butler, president and CEO of APTS. "He has been generous with his time, his talent and his treasure in his quest to ensure the financial stability, political security, operational quality and growth capacity of public television, both at MPT and at the national level through America's Public Television Stations. The establishment of the Kaplan Fund, as a capstone of that long-time commitment, has been transformational, enabling us to seize opportunities and respond to challenges that arise unexpectedly. Eddie Kaplan is the very model of a lay leader, and we are honored to give him this well-deserved recognition."
2020 Pillar of Public Service Award
Tom Axtell, General Manager of Vegas PBS
America's Public Television Stations (APTS) presented the Pillar of Public Service Award to Tom Axtell, General Manager of Vegas PBS in Las Vegas, Nevada. This award traditionally recognizes the contribution of an extraordinary leader and innovator in one of public television's three essential public service missions: education, public safety and civic leadership. However, the 2020 Pillar of Public Service Award honors Axtell’s work in all three fields.
Vegas PBS, a pioneer in online education and workforce development, offers hundreds of courses to thousands of adults every year and places more than 90 percent of them in well-paying jobs. Under Axtell’s leadership, Vegas PBS has created the nation’s most comprehensive school safety training, alerting and response system. And the station’s commitment to civic leadership is exemplified in public affairs programs such as Nevada Week.
"Tom Axtell and his colleagues at Vegas PBS have led our system in pursuing our public service missions of education, public safety and civic leadership," said APTS president and CEO Patrick Butler. “Tom has been an innovative and relentless advocate for community service at its finest, both on television and through a host of non-broadcast initiatives, and he has set a standard of public service to which every public television station should aspire.
“We are all inspired by Tom’s vision, dedication and passion for our public service missions, and I am delighted to present him with this long-overdue Pillar of Public Service Award for his extraordinary contributions to public television."
2020 National Advocacy Award
Marty Ryall of Arkansas PBS
America's Public Television Stations (APTS) presented the 2020 National Advocacy Award to Marty Ryall, Director of External Relations at Arkansas PBS, for his work in building relationships and support for public broadcasting within the Arkansas congressional delegation and State legislature.
The APTS National Advocacy Award is presented to station leaders who excel in telling the story of their local station’s work in education, public safety and civic leadership and how federal and state funding make that work possible.
"Marty Ryall is the gold standard of effective congressional outreach -- a tireless advocate for public broadcasting, helping to strengthen our ever-growing bipartisan support in Congress," said Patrick Butler, president and CEO of APTS. “With the support of Courtney Pledger, Executive Director and CEO of Arkansas PBS, Marty engages with federal and State lawmakers on a weekly basis, providing relevant information about the essential education, public safety and civic leadership services Arkansas PBS provides. Marty’s work ensures that key decision makers know about Arkansas PBS’s exemplary services, along with the recognition that federal and State funding are essential to this work. In addition, Marty played an important role establishing the Arkansas Citizens Access Network (AR-CAN), providing C-SPAN-like coverage of State government meetings and enhancing the connection between Arkansans and their State government. We’re grateful for the support of members of the Arkansas congressional delegation and State legislature, and to Marty who has been central to cultivating that support. We are honored to present Marty Ryall with the National Advocacy Award he so richly deserves.”