ST. PAUL, Minn. — A general manager and a longtime leader in public radio fundraising were honored with awards Wednesday at the Public Radio Super-Regional Meeting.
Doug Eichten, former president of Greater Public, received the annual PRRO Award from the Public Radio Regional Organizations. Eichten was selected for his “significant and enduring contributions in advancing the growth of public media,” said Dan Skinner, Public Radio in Mid America president.
“Many stations can point to Greater Public and the work of [Eichten] as a vital element in their fundraising and marketing success,” Skinner said.
Accepting the award, Eichten said that “when we started on this journey together, pledge drives ran for two weeks and totally replaced all regular programming, corporate support was considered evil, … $365 a year was a major gift, giving through the internet would never work.”
“Public radio now has some of the most sophisticated individual giving, corporate support, major giving and online giving systems of any nonprofit industry,” he said. “Of course, there’s much more to do. … I am totally confident that you will all be wildly successful.”
Neenah Ellis, GM at WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, was awarded the University Station Alliance Madison Hodges Innovation Award for Public Media Advancement.
Ellis helped turn “a small college radio station into one of the most important cultural forces in her community,” said John Hess, University Station Alliance president. “She’s enhanced her station’s tradition of community involvement with bold new innovative outreach initiatives,” Hess said, such as a Community Voices initiative.
“Her institutional involvement with the community is worthy of widespread emulation by every station,” he said.
Accepting the award, Ellis said, “We’ve revived WYSO by returning to the original mission, to make stories with the community. We’ve invited them back in, training them to make stories in their own voices. And they’ve responded so well with heartfelt stories that our news reporters could never find.”
Correction: A previous version of this article said John Hess is GM at Boise State Public Radio. He resigned from that position in 2015.