Public media leaders were recognized for excellence in fundraising and development with annual awards at this year’s Public Media Development and Marketing Conference, Aug. 10–12 in Boston.
Bert Wesley Huffman, v.p. of external affairs and chief development officer with Georgia Public Broadcasting, won the Public Radio Association of Development Officers Development Professional of the Year award. Huffman’s work in branding and promotion, including a promotional campaign for GPB’s new news and information station, has helped to increase revenue and audience, said Sarah McDaniel, membership director with Northwest Public Radio/TV in Pullman, Wash., who presented the award.
Huffman hadn’t worked in public broadcasting before joining GPB in 2014 but had “plenty of marketing savvy,” McDaniel said. He worked with development colleagues on a new station logo for use on multiple platforms and developed a campaign that aimed to attract a younger, more diverse audience through advertising on billboards, buses and bus shelters. Huffman was also credited with revitalizing major giving at GPB, resulting in an eightfold increase in contributions from major donors, McDaniel said.
KQED took home the 2016 Greater Public Benchmarks Award, given by Greater Public to a station that is either a consistent top performer in raising net revenue, relative to audience size, or is making dramatic progress in that area.
PBS Development Awards recognized member stations for outstanding corporate support, membership, philanthropy and special achievement efforts in local communities. The Corporate Support Award went to WFSU in Tallahassee, Fla. The award recognizes leadership in securing new sources of corporate revenue, incorporating new techniques or developing innovative strategies and targeted marketing efforts. A WFSU project, “Sustaining Community Partnerships,” promoted customized underwriting packages to current and future sponsors.
The Membership Award was presented to Twin Cities PBS. The award recognizes successful strategies that lead to increases of net revenue, donor files or prospect pipeline, or the incorporation of new engagement activities resulting in increased giving. TPT’s project, “Innovate and Share: Running a Diverse, Dynamic and Data Driven Membership Program,” focused on sustainers. TPT increased sustainer retention rates and acquisition of long-term members.
KPBS in San Diego won the Philanthropy Award for fundraising efforts that strengthen a station’s financial stability. Its efforts include the KPBS Producers Club, a group of philanthropic individuals and families. Annual revenue from club members has nearly doubled in the past six years, according to a press release.
Oklahoma’s OETA won the Special Achievement Award, recognizing successful outreach projects. OETA’s original digital series “What’s the Deal?” targets children in grades 4–8 by explaining the science behind everyday things. The program has signed on 200 teachers across the state in 30 communities and has become required curriculum in three school districts, according to OETA. It’s logged more than 10,000 views on YouTube and offers online teacher registration and a digital curriculum guide.
The 2016 PBS C. Scott Elliott Development Professional of the Year award went to Tom Karlo, g.m. of KPBS and a member of the PBS Board. The award recognizes a development professional whose work inspires others to succeed and grow in their careers. Karlo, KPBS’s g.m. since 2009, previously served as associate g.m. for more than a decade.
PBS recognized Karlo for advancing KPBS as a news source and for his connections in the community and with local philanthropists. In remarks at the PMDMC, Karlo underscored the importance of partnerships and community engagement. “There is money in our communities, and we are leaving money on the table,” he said.