APTS recognizes Barbara Mikulksi and Greg Walden, gives innovation and advocacy awards

The Association of Public Television Stations handed out Champions of Public Broadcasting awards during its Public Media Summit in Washington, D.C., Feb 24–26, recognizing Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) and Oregon Rep. Greg Walden (R). APTS also gave EDGE Awards to Twin Cities Public Television and New Jersey’s NJTV and recognized individuals with Advocacy Awards. Mikulski, who replaced recently deceased Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has been an ardent defender of public broadcasting in the Senate and was a vocal defender of the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program before it was eliminated in 2011. As chair of the House Energy Subcommittee on Communications and the Internet, Walden has helped secure federal aid for public broadcasters to help defer costs related to spectrum legislation. As he accepted his award, he told summit attendees that increased competition from cable and digital channels has made public TV less relevant to television viewers, and he suggested that public broadcasters support cuts to government-entitlement programs in order to salvage their own funding.

170 Million Americans campaign to escalate efforts

Now that the 2012 general election is over, the 170 Million Americans campaign is preparing to rally support for public broadcasting by going into an amped-up “on steroids” phase, an adviser to NPR said during the Public Radio Regional Organizations Super-Regional conference in New Orleans Nov. 14. Gov. Mitt Romney’s pledge to eliminate funding for public broadcasting, which he repeated during the first presidential debate, “created an opportunity for us to remind our fans that we need them,” said Liz Schrayer of Schrayer & Associates Inc., a Washington, D.C.–based firm that advises nonprofits on advocacy efforts. The campaign should seek to mobilize at least 1 percent of public broadcasting’s 170 million viewers and listeners, she said. Schrayer is a former national political director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.