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February 26, 2019
Dennis Wharton
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NABEF Establishes Award in Honor of Longtime Congressman John D. Dingell, Jr.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF) is establishing the John D. Dingell, Jr. Award for Excellence in honor of the late long-serving congressman, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith announced today. The award will be presented at the organization’s annual Celebration of Service to America Awards gala starting in 2020.

First elected to Congress in 1955, Rep. John D. Dingell, Jr. created an indelible impression on industries as diverse as communications, energy and healthcare during his 59-year career in the House of Representatives. Among his many legislative accomplishments, Dingell championed the Medicare Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act and the Affordable Care Act. He retired from the House of Representatives in January 2015 as the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history. He was succeeded in his congressional seat by his wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12).

Serving for 14 terms as chairman or ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Rep. Dingell had unprecedented influence over legislation that shaped today’s system of free and local radio and television. In that capacity, Dingell was instrumental in helping TV broadcasters secure a loan of spectrum that ushered in the era of digital and high definition television.

He also successfully 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 did not interfere with existing full-power FM stations. Rep. Dingell was also known for his forceful oversight of the Federal Communications Commission and thorough review of broadcast regulations.

Rep. Dingell passed away on February 7.

“John Dingell was a patriot, a lifelong public servant, and a strong believer in the importance of free and local broadcasting,” said Smith. “America’s broadcasters owe a debt of gratitude to Chairman Dingell for his lifelong friendship and the 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.”

Rep. Dingell’s contributions to the broadcasting community will be recognized at the upcoming Celebration of Service to America Awards gala on June 11, 2019. NABEF will present the John D. Dingell, Jr. Award for Excellence for the first time at the 2020 gala following the establishment of award criteria.

About the Celebration of Service to America Awards
The Celebration of Service to America Awards are sponsored and produced by NABEF with major support from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Bonneville International and Hearst Television. In recent years, Jon Bon Jovi; Sharon Stone; Gary Sinise; Paul Simon; Stevie Wonder; Glenn Close; Jeff Bridges; Quincy Jones; Sir Elton John; Bill Clinton; Laura Bush; Muhammad Ali; among others, have been presented with the Celebration of Service to America Leadership Award at the event. Details about the Celebration of Service to America Awards are available at

The National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to reinforcing the future of broadcasting through a commitment to education and to advancing excellence in the diversity and community service efforts of our industry. Learn more at

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at

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