APTS Presents 2016 National Advocacy Award To Ronnie Agnew, Executive Director, Mississippi Public Broadcasting

Mississippi Public Broadcasting Executive Director Ronnie Agnew
and APTS President & CEO Patrick Butler

WASHINGTON - February ­23, 2016 - America's Public Television Stations (APTS) today presented the 2016 National Advocacy Award to Ronnie Agnew, Executive Director, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, for his exceptional efforts in furthering public television's legislative goals and marshalling grassroots support for public broadcasting.

"Ronnie Agnew is an extraordinarily effective advocate for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, and the entire public broadcasting system," said Patrick Butler, president and CEO of APTS. "Ronnie's critical engagement has been instrumental with the Mississippi Congressional delegation, particularly with Senator Cochran, whose unwavering support of public television's education mission and its Ready To Learn program for preschoolers has helped ensure the federal investment in public broadcasting. In addition, Ronnie's efforts to highlight the need for funding for the public television interconnection system were critical to securing funding for that project. We are extremely grateful for Ronnie's work, and we are honored to present him with The National Advocacy Award, who profoundly deserves it."

"I am deeply honored to receive this award," Agnew said. "While I happily accept it, I feel compelled to say that there are many others who have worked hard to get us to this point. The continued funding for Ready To Learn will give many students in early children classrooms the tools to develop their skills. The interconnect system will ensure that our stations will have the latest in technology that will take them well into the future. I'd like to especially thank appropriations chairman Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi, for being such a supporter of public broadcasting. But more than anything, I'd like to thank the public broadcasting family who have worked tirelessly -- from making Hill visits, to organizing letter-writing and phone campaigns. They have selflessly given of themselves for the good of the system. The case we made to Congress on the importance of funding these important parts of public media was effective through the power of hard work and consistent messaging." 

Ronnie Agnew joined Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) in August 2011 as the agency's executive director after a career in the newspaper industry spanning nearly three decades. At MPB, a state licensee, Mr. Agnew has oversight of radio and television programming and the agency's legislative, education and digital initiatives. During his time at MPB, Mr. Agnew has successfully overseen the launch of new shows that further the agency's mission of delivering strong content across all platforms, focusing on issues affecting Mississippi, with an emphasis on early-childhood education, dropout prevent and healthcare. Before joining MPB, Mr. Agnew served as executive editor of The Clarion-Ledger, the state's largest newspaper. Under his leadership, The Clarion-Ledger won dozens of awards for investigative reporting and was among the Gannett Co. Inc.'s most decorated newspapers nationally for coverage of civil rights issues.

From his long stint in newspapers, Mr. Agnew has brought a sense of urgency to MPB that has led to strong legislative support and an aggressive schedule of new initiatives, including more than 20 hours of local radio programming each week, several new television productions and an expanded news department. MPB's education department has broadened its reach as well, implementing Ready To Learn, American Graduate and Between the Lions curricula into school districts throughout Mississippi.

Mr. Agnew is passionate about helping student journalists and those interested in media careers. He served as an adjunct communications professor at Belhaven University in Jackson. Mr. Agnew is advisory board chairman for the journalism program at Jackson State University, and is also on the journalism advisory boards for the University of Southern Mississippi and the Meek School of Journalism at Ole Miss. In addition to his commitment to journalism, Mr. Agnew serves on many community boards, including being the immediate past chairman of the Mississippi Council on Economic Education. He was named by blackmississippi.com as one of the most influential African Americans in Mississippi.

The National Advocacy Award was presented to Ronnie Agnew during The APTS Public Media Summit on Tuesday, February 23, 2016.

About APTS
America's Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization established in 1979. The mission of APTS is to conduct - in concert with member stations - strategic planning, research, communications, advocacy and other activities that foster a strong and financially sound public television system providing essential public services to all Americans. Its affiliate APTS Action, Inc. promotes the legislative and regulatory interests of noncommercial television stations at the national level through direct advocacy and through grasstops and grassroots campaigns designed to garner bipartisan political support. For more information, visit www.apts.org.