PRPD President Arthur Cohen (left) and Craig Oliver, winner of this year’s Don Otto Award, in Portland, Ore. Photo credit: Ken Mills.
Usually I write news stories or The Leslie Report commentaries about topics in which I’m an observer; but here, I want to share one that’s more personal to me.
The Public Radio Program Directors bestowed its Don Otto Award on audience researcher Craig Oliver at the PRPD convention in Portland, Ore., last week.
Oliver, owner of a public radio audience research consultancy Craig Oliver Consulting, provides expertise to clients of Public Radio International, Greater Public and other public radio stations. He’s also a co-founder and the first president of PRPD. And he is my husband.
Every year, PRPD recognizes one it its peers with the award, honoring unique public radio individuals “whose talents, smarts, and humor have helped public radio move forward over the course of their careers,” according to the organization.
The honor is named after the late Don Otto, director of Eastern Public Radio who mentored many of the people who formed PRPD in 1987.
In accepting the award, Craig credited Otto, along with the late Tom Church, then president of the Radio Research Consortium, for making the “PD Bee” workshops happen, which led to the formation of PRPD. In prepared remarks shared with me for Radio World, he said: “I’m not much on speeches. Otto always said, ‘Let’s plaque ‘em.’ And by this he meant, give ’em an award and get ’em outta here.’ So in keeping with the Otto tradition, I won’t make a speech. I will simply say a gracious ‘Thank you’ to those in public radio who make it possible for me to work.”
Craig began his career at WAMU(FM), Washington, in 1972 as a board op, and rose to become news director and eventually program director before making the transition to audience research.