CPB Media Room

The Honorable Ted Stevens, Alaska's Senior Senator, Receives Public Television's Highest Honor

  • February 25, 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 25, 2003 - The Honorable Ted Stevens (R- Alaska), today received the 2002 Ralph Lowell Medal, public television's most prestigious honor, according to Robert T. Coonrod, CPB President and CEO.

CPB presents the award annually to recognize outstanding individual contributions to public television. Stevens, the senior senator from Alaska, was honored for more than three decades of legislative leadership, which has helped make America's public broadcasting system one of the most successful public-private partnerships in modern history. Katherine Anderson, the CPB Board Chair, presented the award.

During his 35-year senate career, Stevens has relentlessly championed the needs, programs and services of public broadcasting, especially those of small, rural stations that are lifelines for citizens in areas of geographic and technological isolation. He was an early supporter of advanced federal funding, the most fundamental concept in public broadcasting's financial structure, which provides stability and encourages efficiency.

A skilled and effective negotiator, Stevens held steadfast in support of public service broadcasting during legislative battles in 1992 and again in 1995. Over the years, he has been among the strongest supporters of the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, which provides funds to stations to purchase essential equipment needed to deliver content. An early proponent of digital technology, the senator has led in securing funds to help public stations meet the federally mandated transition to this new technology.

He was the first to author a bill securing adequate spectrum for public stations, and he was the first to help secure funding for satellite systems for both public television and radio.

"Alaskans rely on public broadcasting. In our rural areas, public broadcasting is often the sole source of news and information, including weather reports, which are relied upon by our whaling communities and others in their daily activities," said Stevens. "I've been a proud supporter of public broadcasting and am honored to accept this year's Lowell Award."

Sen. Stevens, now President pro tempore, is Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which annually allocates federal funds among various government programs, agencies and departments. He also serves as Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. In addition, the senator serves on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which has authority over CPB, the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs; the Committee on Rules and Administration and the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress. The senator has agreed to serve on the Select Committee on Aging.

"Every Alaskan knows what Sen. Stevens does for public broadcasting in their state," said Coonrod. "We want the rest of America to know what he does for all of public broadcasting on behalf of our nation."

Sen. Stevens is married to Catherine Chandler of Anchorage. They have one child. He has five children by his first wife Ann, now deceased. Philanthropist and banker Ralph Lowell was a founder of the WGBH Educational Foundation, licensee of WGBH, Boston, and served as its first president from 1951 until he became its chairman in the mid-1970s. He was instrumental in the formation of the Carnegie Commission on Educational Television, which led to the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 and the establishment of CPB.

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