Public Radio Leadership Award
May 13, 2004
The award cites Sen. Stevens as "the undisputed Congressional champion of funding for public radio stations" and honors his unwavering support for the services, needs and programs of public radio.
Stevens is widely acclaimed and highly honored throughout the public radio community for his clear, consistent record of support for funding America's public radio stations. Today, more than 770 NPR stations serve a weekly cumulative audience of more than 29 million listeners with news, talk, information, entertainment and cultural programs from national and local sources. Stations rely on grants from the federally funded CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting) for essential operating costs. On average, about 15 percent of a station's overall annual budget is funded by the CPB.
As Alaska's representative and in his role as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Sen. Stevens has long been a supporter of advanced federal funding for public broadcasting, an essential component of public broadcasting's financial stability, editorial independence and operational efficiency. He has personally championed stations in small and rural communities that serve citizens with limited access to technology.
"In presenting this new award to Senator Ted Stevens, we are recognizing an active, longtime friend of public radio. His persistent support has seen us through lean times, but has also helped us grow stronger. Today, thanks to his steadfast support, virtually every American has access to the important news and cultural expression that are trademarks of public radio, said Mark D. Handley, Chairman of the NPR Board and President of New Hampshire Public Radio.
"I am very proud to receive this award from NPR and public radio stations-a group of broadcasters I consider to be a national treasure," said Sen. Stevens. "In Alaska, we know that public radio is a lifeline, connecting our communities to each other and to the 'lower 48.' Public radio is an essential link to news and culture that deserves our gratitude as well as our support and protection."
During his career, Sen. Stevens has also been among the strongest supporters of the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, enabling public broadcast stations to purchase essential capital equipment needed to deliver public telecommunications services. Sen. Stevens, says the award, "has worked tirelessly to assure adequate spectrum for public stations and was the primary force in securing funding for the Public Radio Satellite System."
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