ATSC Awards Alan Stein with Its Highest Technical Honor

L to R: ATSC President Madeleine Noland, Alan Stein, vice president of technology at InterDigital, recipient of the 2021 ATSC Bernard Lechner Award, and Lynn Claudy, Senior Vice President of Technology for NAB and ATSC Chairman of the Board (Image credit: James O'Neal)

WASHINGTON D.C.—The Advanced Television Systems Committee has awarded its highest technical honor, the 2021 Bernard J. Lechner Outstanding Contributor Award, to Alan Stein, vice president of technology at InterDigital. 

During this year’s NextGen Broadcast Conference, the ATSC also announced that it was awarding the Mark Richer Industry Leadership Medal to Sen. Gordon Smith, the president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters.

Congratulating the honorees, ATSC President Madeleine Noland said that Stein “is an extremely valuable contributor to the work of ATSC, both as an expert technologist and also as an accomplished group chairperson.  We are honored to salute his dedication with the Lechner Award.”  

She also praised Senator Smith for his outstanding leadership of the National Association of Broadcasters as a “steady advocate for the broadcasting industry who has taken every available opportunity to promote ATSC 3.0 since we first started this important work on next-generation broadcast standards.”


L to R: ATSC President Madeleine Noland, NAB COO Curtis LeGuyt, who accepted the ATSC's Mark Richer Industry Leadership Medal on behalf of NAB President Gordon Smith; Lynn Claudy, Senior Vice President of Technology for NAB and ATSC Chairman of the Board, and Mark Richer, former ATSC President. (Image credit: James O'Neal)

The Mark Richer Industry Leadership Medal is named for the legendary former ATSC president who led the organization for two decades spanning both ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0. It recognizes an individual or team that demonstrates exemplary leadership in advancing the mission of ATSC and epitomizes the vision, tenacity and leadership qualities that were the hallmark of his leadership.

“Senator Smith became President and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters in 2009, just before the technology we later termed ATSC 3.0 became a major focus of our organization,” said Noland. “Senator Smith understood the value that next-generation television could bring to the broadcasting industry and he was instrumental in promoting the potential to NAB’s board and membership,” 

Richer Medal recipients include:

2019 – Mark Richer

2020 – The Phoenix Model Market

The ATSC’s 2021 Lechner Award recipient Alan Stein is vice president of technology, in the CTO office of InterDigital.  

He holds 16 granted patents in the field of digital video and currently heads InterDigital’s Visual Standards Team, where he manages a global team of senior technology experts who participate in major video standards organizations.   

Alan Stein has been a long-time, active contributor to many ATSC activities, first with Technicolor and now with InterDigital. Stein has been a board member of the UHD Alliance and a member of the CTA Video Board.

“Alan has distinguished himself in numerous leadership roles and in his technical contributions to the work,” Noland said. “He has served as Chair of ATSC’s Video group since its inception as an ad hoc group and now in its current form as TG3/S41 Specialist Group on Video for ATSC 3.0.  Stein also serves as Chair of ATSC Planning Team 6 on Global Recognition of ATSC 3.0, assisting ATSC with overall global strategy and organizing specific efforts as needed for various countries exploring ATSC 3.0.” 

The Bernard J. Lechner Outstanding Contributor Award is bestowed once a year to an individual representative of the membership whose technical and leadership contributions to ATSC have been invaluable and exemplary. The title of the award recognizes the first recipient, the late Bernard Lechner, for his outstanding service to the ATSC.

Lechner was the retired Staff vice president, advanced video systems of RCA Laboratories. His 30-year career at RCA covered all aspects of television and display research, including early work on home video tape recorders in the late 1950s, extensive development of flat-panel matrix displays in the 1960s including pioneering efforts on active-matrix liquid crystal displays, advanced two-way cable TV systems and pay-TV systems in the early 1970s, electronic tuning systems and CCD comb-filters for TV receivers in the mid-1970s, automated broadcast cameras and CCD broadcast cameras in the late 1970s and early 1980s, to HDTV in the mid-1980s.

Lechner award recipients include:

2000 – Bernard Lechner, Consultant

2001 – Rich Chernock, Triveni Digital

2002 – Regis Crinon, Microsoft

2003 – Glenn Adams, Extensible Formatting Systems, Inc

2004 – Graham Jones, National Association of Broadcasters

2005 – John Henderson, Hitachi

2006 – Art Allison, NAB

2007 – Mark Eyer, Sony Electronics

2008 – Michael Dolan, TBT

2009 – Wayne Bretl, Zenith/LG Electronics

2010 – Pat Waddell, Harmonic

2011 – Jim Starzynski, NBC Universal

2012 – S. Merrill Weiss, MWG Group

2013 – Mark Aitken, Sinclair Broadcast Group

2014 – James Kutzner, PBS

2015 – Luke Fay, Sony

2016 – Madeleine Noland, LG Electronics

2017 – Skip Pizzi, NAB

2018 – Mark Corl, Triveni Digital

2019 – Adam Goldberg, AGP/Sony

2020 – Jae-Young Lee, ETRI

2021 – Alan Stein, InterDigital

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.