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APTS Presents 2013 National Advocacy Award to Mark Leonard, General Manager of Illinois Public Media

2/26/2013  8:00 am

The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) presented Mark Leonard, general manager of Illinois Public Media, with the 2013 National Advocacy Award for his exceptional efforts in furthering public television’s legislative goals. The National Advocacy Award recognizes an individual who exemplifies effective advocacy on behalf of public television.


“Mark Leonard is a tireless advocate for public broadcasting, and he was particularly committed in 2012 to mobilizing grassroots supporters through the 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting campaign, as well as engaging grasstop level supporters through the APTS Leadership Council,” said Patrick Butler, president and CEO of APTS. “Mark has been an articulate, consistent and effective advocate for Illinois Public Media and the entire public broadcasting system.”


Leonard is general manager for Illinois Public Media, the public television and radio services of the University of Illinois. Illinois Public Media operates two radio and one television station, in addition to having a large on-line presence. Under Leonard’s leadership, Illinois Public Media has been the recipient of numerous industry awards, including being named the outstanding development program among all PBS member stations for 2009. Earlier this year, Illinois Public Media was honored with a Peabody award for its work on The Lord Is Not on Trial Today, the story of the Supreme Court ruling that established the separation of church and state in public schools. 


In a 32-year public broadcast career, Leonard has worked at six public broadcasting stations. He was chief operating office for KCTS Seattle, general manager for KYVE Yakima, and vice president for television at WXXI Rochester. He has served as producer and executive producer on many local, regional and national television productions, winning numerous industry awards including three EMMYs, a Cine Golden Eagle and five New York State Broadcasters’ awards.


Leonard currently serves as the president of the Illinois Public Broadcast Council, the association of all public television and radio stations in Illinois, as well as serving as a board member of the national University Licensees’ Association. 


“We worked very hard to get out the message regarding threats to public media funding, but the real work was done by the users of our service who came so strongly to our defense,” said Mark Leonard. “It’s not hard advocating for a service that you believe in deeply—it’s been wonderful having new tools like and the Leadership Council to more effectively mobilize our supporters.”


Butler concluded: “We are honored to give Mark the National Advocacy Award this year. He is richly deserving of this recognition for his hard work and dedication to public broadcasting.”


The National Advocacy Award was presented to Mark Leonard during The APTS Public Media Summit on Monday, February 25.