NPR’s Marty Garrison will receive the 2013 Radio World Excellence in Engineering Award from the editors of Radio World, the newspaper for radio managers and engineers. The announcement was made by U.S. Editor in Chief Paul J. McLane. Recipients represent the highest ideals of the U.S. radio broadcast engineering profession and reflect those ideals through contributions to the industry.
Garrison is vice president of technology operations, distribution and broadcast engineering for NPR. “Marty heads the technical team that ensures that NPR programming gets on the air and is distributed nationally and globally,” McLane says. His staff also oversees distribution of public radio programming in the United States via NPR Satellite Services and is responsible for NPR’s own extensive back-office systems. With approximately 200 employees, the department is the second largest at NPR after its news staff.
Garrison supervised the move of NPR’s technical operations this year to the organization’s new headquarters in the NoMa neighborhood of Washington, D.C., including its new 55,000-square-foot newsroom, new studios and technology and distribution centers that support iconic programs such as “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition.”
“Marty and his people were responsible for facilitating one of the highest-profile radio build-outs in North America,” McLane continues. “The project demanded meticulous coordination, a vast amount of detail work and a move that had to be planned down to the minute, even the second. By all accounts it was a successful transition, and the job even was completed earlier than originally anticipated, creating a showcase in the nation’s capital for the best that public radio has to offer.”
“Marty’s leadership was critical to achieving the rare result of delivering a project of this magnitude and complexity ahead of schedule and under budget, and to the satisfaction of all constituencies,” says NPR Chief Administrative Officer Joyce Slocum. “From production studios for our programming, to computers and telephones for our support staff, to the satellite system for distribution to public radio stations, Marty’s teams worked together to ensure that everything functioned smoothly from the first moment.”
It was not Garrison’s first technical project involving aggressive timeframes and large capital budgets. He is former senior vice president of global technical operations for Turner Broadcasting System and has held technical management leadership positions with Thomson Reuters, British Petroleum and other companies. Radio World also cited his exceptional IT experience and strong management record. “His career exemplifies the evolving skills needed to lead media technology organizations,” McLane says. “Like radio itself, Marty’s career merges traditional radio and audio considerations with new media platforms, data networks and IT infrastructure.”
Garrison is the second NPR recipient of the award; Michael Starling, currently executive director of NPR’s Technology Research Center and NPR Labs, received it in 2005. Last year’s recipient was Paul Brenner of Emmis Communications.