PRPD honors Oliver, JazzWeek recognizes community stations, and more awards in public media

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Craig Oliver, a public radio audience research consultant, received the Don Otto award for career contributions to the field.

Oliver is the owner of Craig Oliver Consulting, which provides audience research and insight to Public Radio International, Greater Public, and several public radio stations. Oliver co-founded PRPD in 1987 and served as its first president. He was also president of the Radio Research Consortium, where he is now a board member.

The Otto award is given annually by PRPD and Audience Research Analysis to recognize creative contributions to public radio. The award is named after Don Otto, the late former director of Eastern Public Radio, who was a mentor to the public radio programmers who started PRPD, including Oliver.


Community radio stations and programmers led the awards presentation at last month’s JazzWeek Summit in San Antonio.

Arturo Gómez, music director at Denver’s KUVO, received the 2013 Duke Dubois Humanitarian Award honoring lifetime contributions to jazz and jazz radio. The award is named after a record promoter and producer who was a mentor to Gomez when he started out as a music director in Miami in the early 1990s.

All three of the jazz outlets winning recognition as station of the year were community radio broadcasters: KSDS in San Diego won among stations in the top 25 markets, WWOZ in New Orleans topped markets 26–79, and KCCK in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won in markets outside the top 80.

Bobby Jackson Programmer of the Year awards, named in memory of the late public radio jazz host, producer and programmer, went to p.d.’s at both public and community stations. Linda Yohn of WEMU in Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, Mich., which reaches into Detroit, won in the division for the top 25 markets; Derrick Lucas of WGMC in Rochester, N.Y.,  for markets 26–79; and Bob Stewart of KCCK won among small-market stations.

JazzWeek, a magazine and trade journal covering jazz radio, selected nominees and winners through votes of its online readership.


Eric Smith, g.m. of WNMU-TV/FM in Marquette, Mich., received the 2014 Professional Pioneer award from the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters.

During his 39 years in broadcasting, Smith produced several regional Emmy award–winning documentaries. As g.m. and director of television and AV Services at WNMU, Smith oversees an operation that connects university faculty to K-12 schools throughout the state.

Smith is also v.p. of the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters, which honors one professional and one volunteer annually with its Pioneer Award for lifetime contributions to public broadcasting in the state.


Rod Bates, a veteran broadcaster and former g.m. of Nebraska Educational Telecommunications, was inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame last month.

Bates worked in broadcasting in Nebraska for 40 years before retiring in 2013. He was g.m. of NET, Nebraska’s network of public radio and television stations, from 1996 to 2013. During that time, Bates oversaw digital conversion of the network’s transmitters. He also held national leadership positions, serving as chair of the Association of Public Television Stations and American Public Television, as well as stints on the PBS Board of Directors and the executive committee of the National Educational Television Association.

Bates started at NET in 1975 as a producer/director. He left the state network in 1983 to serve as Nebraska’s director of economic development, a position he held for five years.

In 2013, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman declared June 20 “Rod Bates Day” in the state.

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