APTS Presented the Honorable Harry Reid with a Champion of Public Broadcasting Award

WASHINGTON—April 5, 2011—The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) presented a Champion of Public Broadcasting Award, the Association’s highest honor, to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). This award is given to Members of Congress and other individuals who have had a tremendous impact on the ability of local public television stations to meet the most critical needs of the communities they serve.

“Majority Leader Reid has been a tireless supporter of public radio and television, both as the Majority Leader of the United States Senate and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee,” said Patrick Butler, President and CEO of APTS. “Majority Leader Reid is passionate about the vital role that public broadcasting plays in our society by providing universal access to educational programming and services to both children and lifelong learners. He has championed an increase CPB funding countless times, and last year demanded that Ready To Learn funding be reinstated in the federal budget.”

“I am grateful to the Association of Public Television Stations for this honor,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid. “I am proud of the work we’ve done together to protect public broadcasting’s important role in informing and educating Nevadans. Public broadcasting provides programming that isn’t found on other stations or networks, especially the educational programs that help Nevada’s children gain a love of learning at an early age.”

Majority Leader Reid is a unique national leader. His unique and startlingly frank personal autobiography tells the story of a modern day Horatio Alger, and his life experience is why he sees so much value in all that public broadcasting does. Harry Reid was born in the small desert mining town of Searchlight, Nevada. He grew up in a cabin his father built from discarded rail road ties—they had no running water, no indoor toilet or shower, no electricity, no books and no religious foundation.

Tom Axtell, General Manager of Vegas PBS, said: “Harry Reid knows what it means to be hungry and cold and treated as ‘the poor kid’. But he also knows what it means to become educated, what it means to be lifted up by the charity of unknown sponsors, what it means to live in a nation that believes it is essential to inform and educate every citizen without regard to their race, their religion, their national origin, their political creed, their parent’s language or their family income. Public broadcasting is an electronic highway offering access to education and ideas. Harry Reid understands what we mean to the American people. “

Butler continued: “Throughout his career, Majority Leader Reid has been a champion of public broadcasting. In Nevada, he has been a vigorous supporter of his local stations: Vegas PBS, KNPB in Reno and Nevada Public Radio. In Washington, he has helped ensure the continued vitality of public broadcasters nationally, enhancing their ability to provide high-quality service, balanced news coverage and universal access to the performing arts to their local communities. He is truly deserving of this honor.”

Axtell concluded: “Harry Reid steps in the ring every year on our behalf to ‘float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee.’ He is a direct man, a determined man, a compassionate man and an idealistic man. He is our Champion.”

About APTS
The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization established in 1979. The mission of APTS is to conduct – in concert with member stations – advocacy, planning, research and communications activities in order to achieve strong and financially sound noncommercial television and advanced digital services for the American people. APTS provides consistent leadership and information that helps our members better accomplish their own missions and goals. APTS promotes the legislative and regulatory interests of noncommercial television stations at the national level through direct advocacy, and grasstops and grassroots campaigns designed to garner congressional support. For more information, visit www.apts.org.