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June 7, 2022

NAB Leadership Foundation Honors Broadcasters’ Public Service at Celebration of Service to America Awards

Former NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith receives Samaritan Award in surprise ceremony

GEICO, José Andrés and Patti LaBelle recognized by NABLF for philanthropic contributions

Washington, D.C. -- The National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation (NABLF) announced the recipients of the 2022 Celebration of Service to America Awards at a gala held tonight at The Anthem in Washington, D.C. The awards were announced live and presented to recipients in eight categories recognizing local broadcasters’ outstanding service to their communities.

The 2022 Celebration of Service to America Award winners are: 

Service to Community Award for Radio, Broadcast Ownership Group

  • Beasley Media Group, 2021 Beasley Best Community of Caring Initiative
  • Service to Community Award for Television, Broadcast Ownership Group

  • Cox Media Group, CMG Gets Real
  • Service to Community Award for Radio – Large/Major Market

  • WTLC-FM, Indianapolis, Ind., Urban One, Inc., Feeding Families for 365 Days Plus
  • Service to Community Award for Television – Large/Major Market

  • WFAA, Dallas, Texas, TEGNA, WFAA Adoption Awareness
  • Service to Community Award for Radio – Medium Market

  • WJBR-FM, Beasley Media Group, Wilmington, Del., Mix 99.5 WJBR Help Our Kids Radiothon
  • Service to Community Award for Television – Medium Market

  • WIS-TV, Gray Television, Columbia, S.C., Families Helping Families
  • Service to Community Award for Radio – Small Market

  • WNRP-AM, WYCT, WNRP, WEBY Radio, Pensacola, Fla., Next Level Covid Charts
  • Service to Community Award for Television – Small Market

  • KOBI-TV, California Oregon Broadcasting, Medford, Ore., In this Together
  • “Every day, America’s local broadcasters devote their airwaves, resources and manpower to serve the needs of their audiences and provide critical support to our communities,” said NABLF President Michelle Duke. “These awards winners embody the best of broadcasting’s public service and shine a light on how radio and television stations are changing lives for the better. We congratulate all of these fine broadcasters and stations everywhere that are working to improve their local communities.” 

    Former NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith was honored with the Service to America Samaritan Award during the event. The award, which is given to a broadcaster or organization exemplifying the industry’s commitment to using the airwaves efficiently to promote the public interest, was given in recognition of his leadership of community service projects undertaken by NAB during his tenure. 

    As NAB president and CEO, Smith spearheaded a number of public service initiatives to help keep America’s local communities safe, informed and connected. In 2013, Sen. Smith oversaw the launch of the OK2Talk campaign, an unprecedented effort to educate millions of Americans on the importance of ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Smith also led a nationwide effort by local radio and television stations in 2016 to address heroin and prescription drug abuse that is impacting communities across America. 

    In the aftermath of Hurricane Marie in 2017, Smith led a coalition of broadcast ownership groups and organizations to distribute 10,000 battery-operated radios to residents of Puerto Rico impacted by the storm’s damage. In 2020, under Smith’s leadership, NAB created and provided public service announcements to radio and TV stations to educate Americans on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

    As previously announced, renowned chef and humanitarian José Andrés and award-winning entertainer, author and entrepreneur Patti LaBelle received Service to America Leadership Awards, NABLF’s highest individual honor, during the ceremony. GEICO was honored with the Corporate Leadership Award in recognition of its decades of work supporting initiatives and building partnerships within the communities the company serves. 

    Actor and television host Mario Lopez emceed the event. Featured celebrity presenters included CBS Sports’ James Brown, a three-time Emmy Award Winner and Hall of Fame Sportscaster; Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of ABC News’ “Nightline” Juju Chang; actor Asher Grodman, star of CBS’ series “Ghosts;” culinary visionary and celebrity lifestyle chef Chef Huda; American rock and soul artist Maggie Rose, who performed the National Anthem; and Angela Yee, co-host of nationally syndicated radio show “The Breakfast Club.” Presenting awards virtually were actress, producer, talk show host and author Drew Barrymore and comedian, actor and television host Drew Carey. 

    A special one-hour production of the awards ceremony will air nationally on broadcast stations across the country July 9 - August 13.

    Photos from the event are now available and may be accessed at

    About NAB Leadership Foundation

    The National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the future of broadcasting through leadership, diversity and community service. 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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