History and Awards

The National Federation of Community Broadcasters has been a home for community broadcasters for over 40 years. NFCB was founded in 1978, following a National Alternative Radio Konvention resolution in 1975 to support broadcasters serving multi-faceted communities. Whether helping cities and towns to found stations or initiating programming distribution among community media, NFCB was a connector in pre-Internet America.

Through the 1980s and 1990s, NFCB encouraged community media to respond to changes in technology and culture, raising community service and inclusion as core values. NFCB was one of the first public media groups to make diversity central to its work, from hosting the first-ever Minority Producers’ Conference in 1982 to  enabling the first non-NPR stations to receive grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to starting the National Youth in Radio Training Project and the Rural Programming Initiative.

As streaming, podcasting and online journalism rose to prominence in the 2000s, NFCB helped organizations understand new tools as well as the necessity for fostering robust community engagement efforts in a new digital media environment. The organization convened the first Native, Rural, African American, LPFM, and Latino Radio Summits, and developed resources to help community media better connect with listeners., Today, NFCB continues to serve as a nexus by providing a full spectrum of services online, at stations, and through the Annual Community media Conference which draws an average of 300 participants each year for three days of intensive training, plenary discussions, keynotes, and break-out sessions on a variety of topics central to operating, funding and programming locally based community media organizations.

Volunteer of the Year Award

They keep the books, operate the board, answer phones during fundraisers, serve as receptionists, fix the equipment, enter the data, train other volunteers, promote the station, raise money, mail out pledge premiums, serve on the Board of Directors, sort the mail, build the website, compile community calendars, maintain the transmitter, organize station events, research news stories, serve on the Community Advisory Board, organize the music library, and much, much more.

How it works: This award recognizes a station volunteer who has provided extraordinary service over a significant period of time to the station and the community. The volunteer can work in any area of the station—operations, administration, membership, training, engineering, programming, or in any other field. Preference is given to volunteers who work behind the scenes rather than on the air.

Each volunteer must be nominated by the Station Manager. Entering stations must be members of NFCB. Stations may nominate more than one volunteer, but each nomination requires a separate entry.

One Volunteer will win the Award, but every Volunteer whose name is entered will be honored by you and by NFCB. In choosing the Volunteer of the Year, the judges will consider quality of service, character of service, length of service, and uniqueness of circumstances. The Volunteer of the Year receives a beautifully engraved plaque at the awards ceremony during the Community Radio Conference.

Volunteers of the Year

2017 – Pat Fowler, WERU, Blue Hill, ME
2016– Pete Yadlowsky, WTJU, Charlottesville, VA
2014 – Tom Voorhees, Whidbey Island, WA
2013– Brenda Kett, KALW, San Francisco, CA
2012– Barry Gilbert, KGNU, Boulder, CO
2011 – Felix Belmont, KVNF, Paonia, CO
2010 – Ron Thums, KFAI, Minneapolis, MN
2009 – Candace McKenna, KSER, Everett, WA
2008 – Sue Gerber, KRCL, Salt Lake City, UT
2007 – Kathleen Lindsen, KFOK-LP, Georgetown, CA
2006 – Richard Dillman, KWMR, Pt. Reyes Station, CA
2005 – Louie Ducharme, WGDR, Plainfield, VT
2004 – Jo Ann Vano, KFAI, Minneapolis, MN
2003 – Davide Andrea, KGNU, Boulder, CO
2002 – Carol Doan, WMNF, Tampa, FL
2001 – Ali Adelman, KUNM, Albuquerque, NM and Tim O’Brien KVMR, Nevada City, CA
2000 – Graham Ullrich, KBUT, Crested Butte, CO
1999 – Bruce Silverman, KBOO, Portland, OR

Golden Torchlight Award

Do you know of a community radio station that has performed above and beyond over the past year? Whose exemplary excellence and leadership has inspired collective impact in their neighborhoods? We’re talking about a station that does all it can to provide a service for the betterment of their community. Maybe this station is where you work!

The Golden Torchlight ties to the Golden Reels of our past. For nearly two decades, the Golden Reels were the standard bearer for the best in independently produced radio.

It’s torchlight because it recognizes a station that has carried the torch of inspiration in community story-telling and public service media.

It is the power of our programming that makes any media organization great, generates support from listeners, and breaks trail toward greater engagement with the communities we serve.

How it works: We ask you – our community – to nominate stations to receive the Golden Torchlight Award. The NFCB board will select a winner that best exemplifies our stated 5 values: Collective Impact, Diversity, Localism, Excellence, and Leadership in Programming.

Golden Torchlight Award Recipients

2017 – WOWD-LP, Takoma Park, MD
2016 – KWSO, Warm Springs, OR

The Bader Award

The Bader Award is given annually for a single stunning innovation or a lifetime of vital contributions to Community Radio. This award honors individuals or groups whose work has advanced the vision and values of Community Radio, whether in programming, management, infrastructure development, technology or development of the field.

About Michael Bader

Lorenzo Milam, a Johnny Appleseed of community radio, dedicated The Radio Papers, his essays on community broadcasting, to two lawyers: Al Kramer, “who told me to raise hell in radio,” and Michael Bader, “who showed me how.” That’s how Mike would like to be remembered, as the man who showed clients how.

Mike was a shrewd, hardworking, tirelessly detailed attorney, who lived a larger life through his clients. He wasn’t by nature a hellraiser. He couldn’t be and be the kind of lawyer he was; but he loved clients who were. If clients didn’t want to make the world spin a little faster on its axis, he treated them with professional respect. If they wanted to move the world, they had his complete devotion.

He loved NFCB and community stations because he knew that while they sometimes struggled to survive, they would not be satisfied with survival. They wanted to make something happen. Mike helped many of the pioneering community stations get on the air and he protected them like a terrier from all threats. He didn’t have to agree with them. In fact, he preferred clients who were quite different from himself. But if a station had something to accomplish, Mike was eager to show it how.

Mike not only defended community stations, he also supported them with time, attention and money. He drew no distinction between the needs of large or small clients for his services. If you retained Mike Bader, he was your man for the duration, and often well after that.

Mike was a partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Haley Bader & Potts, which later affiliated with Garvey Schubert Barer. He died in November 2001 at the age of 72.

Bader Award Recipients

2017 – Sue Schardt
2016 – Florence Hernandez-Ramos
2014 – Ginny Z. Berson
2013 – Dr. Walter Sheppard, PTFP
2012 – Ken Freedman, WFMU
2011 – Peggy Berryhill, Native Media Resource Center
2010 – Brian DeShazor and the Pacifica Radio Archives
2009– John Crigler, Garvey Schubert Barer
2008 – Hugo Morales, Radio Bilingüe
2007 – Ellin O’Leary, Youth Radio

The Media Citizenship Award

NFCB recognizes those who enable voices to be heard: every day heroes and heroines who work to strengthen communities through active engagement in local media. We believe that media activism is a powerful form of upholding a major tenet of civic life; that our shared quest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness ties us to one another and implies that we learn to make decisions, create boundaries, and break down walls.

Since its founding, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters has honored the best in community media. We honor lifetime achievement for colleagues with the Michael Bader Award. Every year we receive numerous nominations from stations for volunteers who go the extra mile in exceptional ways at the local station they love with our Volunteer of the Year Award. We recognize audio masterpieces by talented makers through our Golden Reel Award. Each of  these has focused on the realm of working at a station or in the field. In 2016 we initiated a new award, the Media Citizenship Award, that recognizes the role of media activism in civic life. We didn’t know that the press would soon be labeled the “Enemy of the People” at that time so it seems strangely fitting in 2017 to be continuing this new award tradition for those who have shown extraordinary courage toward improving civic life through their community media work.

NFCB’s Media Citizenship Award is an honor given to an organization or individual working locally in community media while  inspiring a larger movement of others in community media. Media Citizenship Award recipients are acknowledged for their overall impact and the distinction of their activism in community media.

Media Citizenship Award Recipients

2017 – Community Media Assistance Project
2016 – Denis Moynihan