The National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF) has created a new honor in memory of a long-serving House Member who had much impact on the oversight of the FCC during his tenure in Congress.
NABEF is establishing the John D. Dingell, Jr. Award for Excellence in honor of the late congressman.
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, Michigan-based Dingell “created an indelible impression on industries as diverse as communications, energy and healthcare” during his 59-year career in the House of Representatives, NABEF notes. Among his many legislative accomplishments are 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-Mich.).
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. Dingell was also known for his forceful oversight of the Federal Communications Commission and thorough review of broadcast regulations.
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 NAB head Gordon 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.