CPB Media Room

Maynard Orme, President and CEO, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Receives Lowell Medal

  • For Immediate Release on April 14, 2005

Presentation of Public Television's Most Prestigious Award Made by CPB Board Member Beth Courtney

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 14, 2005 - Maynard Orme, the long-time president and chief executive officer of Oregon Public Broadcasting, received the Ralph Lowell Medal during the PBS Showcase event underway in Las Vegas, Nevada. The award was presented Tuesday evening by Beth Courtney, a CPB board member and the president and CEO of Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

In making the award, Courtney noted that Orme's consuming passion is education. "Today, Maynard defines OPB's mission in terms of providing 'life-long learning opportunities for the people in our communities,'" she said. "Everything OPB does -- new technology, new programs, new ways to serve communities -- is about developing new ways to bring information to people."

The award, often called public television's most prestigious, recognizes outstanding individual contributions to public television.

Orme, who has led OPB for 18 years, has been instrumental in creating a large media entity that provides statewide service to an increasingly diverse state. Under Orme's leadership, OPB has grown; it now employs 180 people, operates five television stations and four radio stations, draws about 1.4 million viewers and listeners a week, and has more than 110,000 members. Orme has also guided OPB through technological change; today, OPB reaches audiences through audio and video streaming, digital broadcast, and the web as well as through traditional broadcasting.

"It is deeply humbling to receive the Lowell Medal from CPB," said Orme. "This honor has been reserved for my heroes. It never occurred to me that I might be so honored and I'm still in shock -- but I'm coping."

Orme's accomplishments at OPB include the creation of the nationally distributed show, History Detectives, and production of some of public broadcasting's best local programming, including Oregon Field Guide. He also established OPB's highly successful planned giving effort, as well as an earlier program at San Jose's KTEH. Orme's pioneering work demonstrated the value of planned giving in creating sustainable revenue models.

Orme has also been a leader for public broadcasting nationwide, and has served on the boards of many public broadcasting organizations, including PBS and APTS.

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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