WASHINGTON—In honor of Congressman John D. Dingell Jr., who passed away in early February, the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation has established the John D. Dingell Jr. Award for Excellence.
Rep. Dingell was elected to Congress in 1955, and during his 59-year career he served 14 terms as chairman or ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, where he helped shape legislation that impacted today’s system of free and local radio and television. His work helped give TV broadcasters a loan of spectrum to initiate digital and HD television; he blocked attempts to impose government-mandated free airtime for politicians; supported broadcast efforts to secure retransmission consent rights; and fought to ensure that low-power FM stations didn’t interfere with existing full-power FM stations. He also provided overview of the FCC and reviews of broadcast regulations.
When he retired in January 2015, Dingell was the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history.
“John Dingell was a patriot, a lifelong public servant and a strong believer in the importance of free and local broadcasting,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith in the announcement. “America’s broadcasters owe a debt of gratitude to Chairman Dingell for his lifelong friendship and enduring impact he had on our industry. We are honored to establish The John D. Dingell Jr. Award for Excellence as a tribute to his legacy.”
The NABEF will recognize Dingell’s contributions to the broadcasting community at its Celebration of Service to America Awards gala on June 11. The first John D. Dingell Jr. Award for Excellence will be given out at the 2020 gala following the establishment of award criteria.