George Foster Peabody
George Foster Peabody Awards (or simply Peabody Awards) program,
named for American businessman and philanthropist George Peabody,
honor the most powerful, enlightening, and invigorating stories in
television, radio, and online media. Programs are recognized in seven
categories: news, entertainment, documentaries, children's
programming, education, interactive programming, and public service.
Peabody Award winners include radio and television stations, networks,
online media, producing organizations, and individuals from around the
Established in 1940 by a committee of the National Association of
Broadcasters, the prestigious
Peabody Award was created to honor
excellence in radio broadcasting. It is the oldest major electronic
media award in the
United States and some say the most prestigious,
sometimes competing for recognition with the Alfred I.
duPont–Columbia University Award. Its rigorous juried selection
system has been compared to that of the Pulitzer Prize. Final Peabody
Award winners are selected unanimously by the program's Board of
Jurors. Reflecting excellence in quality storytelling, rather than
popularity or commercial success, Peabody Awards are distributed
annually to 30 out of 60 finalists culled from more than 1,000
entries. Because submissions are accepted from a wide variety of
sources and styles, deliberations seek "Excellence On Its Own
Each entry is evaluated on the achievement of standards established
within its own context. Entries, for which a US$350 fee (US$225
for radio) is required, are self-selected by those making
2 Peabody judging
3 Key people
4 Award announcements and ceremonies
5 Peabody Awards Archive
7 External links
In 1938, the
National Association of Broadcasters
National Association of Broadcasters formed a committee
to recognize outstanding achievement in radio broadcasting.
Committee member Lambdin Kay, public-service director for WSB radio in
Atlanta, Georgia, at the time, is credited for creating the award,
named for businessman and philanthropist George Foster Peabody, who
donated the funds that made the awards possible. Fellow WSB
employee Lessie Smithgall introduced Lambdin to John E. Drewry, of the
University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass
Communication, who endorsed the idea. The
Peabody Award was
established in 1940 with the Grady College of Journalism as its
The Peabody Awards were originally issued only for radio programming,
but television awards were introduced in 1948. In the late 1990s
additional categories for material distributed via the World Wide Web
were added. Materials created solely for theatrical motion picture
release are not eligible.
The Peabody Awards judging process is unusually rigorous. Each
year, more than 1,000 entries are evaluated by some 30 committees
composed of a number of faculty, staff, and students from the
University of Georgia
University of Georgia and other higher education institutions across
the country. Each committee is charged with screening or listening
to a small number of entries and delivering written recommendations to
the Peabody Board of Jurors, a ~17-member panel of scholars, critics,
and media-industry professionals. Board members discuss
recommended entries as well as their own selections at intensive
preliminary meetings in California and Texas. The Board convenes at
University of Georgia
University of Georgia in early April for final screenings and
deliberations. Each entrant is judged on its own merit, and only
unanimously selected programs receive a Peabody Award. For many
years, there was no set number of awards issued. However, in 2016 the
program instituted the Peabody 30, representing the best programs out
of field of 60 nominees. Prior to this, the all-time record for
Peabody Award recipients in a single year was 46 in 2013.
George Foster Peabody, 1907
George Foster Peabody
George Foster Peabody (1852–1938), namesake of the awards, was a
highly successful investment banker who devoted much of his fortune to
education and social enterprise.
Lambdin Kay was the awards chairman for The National Association of
Broadcasters when he was asked to create a prize to honor the nation's
premier radio programs and performances.
John E. Drewry (1902–1983) was the first dean of the University of
Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
He accepted the position of dean when it was created in 1940. That
same year he helped Lambdin Kay, general manager of Atlanta's WSB
Radio, create the Peabody Awards recognizing excellence in
Worth McDougald (1926–2007) served as Director of the Peabody
Awards program from 1963 until his retirement in 1991.
Barry Sherman (1952–2000) was the Director of the George Foster
Peabody Awards program at the
University of Georgia
University of Georgia from 1991 until
his death in 2000.
Horace Newcomb held the Lambdin Kay Chair for the Peabodys in the
Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication
Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University
of Georgia from 2001 to 2013.
Jeffrey P. Jones
Jeffrey P. Jones succeeded
Horace Newcomb in July 2013 as the Lambdin
Kay Chair for the Peabodys in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass
Communication at the University of Georgia.
Award announcements and ceremonies
Each spring, the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors announce award
recipients for work released during the previous year. Traditionally,
the winners' announcements have been made via a simple press release
and/or a press conference. In recent years, however, organizers have
also taken to television to reveal some
Peabody Award recipients in an
effort to expand public awareness of the awards. An April 2014 segment
CBS This Morning
CBS This Morning included an announcement of 2013 Peabody
winners. In April 2015, the 2014 Peabodys were revealed over an
8-day period, with the entertainment-based recipients revealed on
ABC's Good Morning America.
Formal presentation of the Peabody Awards are traditionally held in
late May or early June. For many years, the awards were given during a
luncheon in New York City. The ceremony moved to a red carpet evening
event for the first time on May 31, 2015, with
Fred Armisen serving as
host. Several famous names have served as Peabody Awards ceremony
hosts over the years, among them Walter Cronkite, Lesley Stahl, Jackie
Gleason, Jon Stewart, Morley Safer, Craig Ferguson, Larry King,
and Ira Glass. From 2014-2016, the Peabody Awards aired on a
tape-delayed basis on the TV channel Pivot,. On June 2, 2017, a
television special of the 76th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony was
broadcast on both PBS and FUSION networks.
Peabody Awards Archive
The Peabody Awards Collection is the flagship of The Walter J. Brown
Media Archive & Peabody Awards Collection. The archives are housed
in the Richard B. Russell Building
Special Collections Libraries on
the north campus of The University of Georgia. The mission of the
Peabody Archive is to preserve, protect, and provide access to the
moving image and sound materials that reflect the collective memory of
broadcasting and the history of the state of Georgia and its people.
The collection contains nearly every entry for the first major
broadcast award given in the United States. Entries began in 1940 for
radio and 1948 for television, and at least 1,000 new entries are
received every year—programs created by local, national, and
international producers. The collection provides a cultural
cross-section of television from its infancy to the present day,
featuring news, documentary, entertainment, educational, and
children's programming. Once judging is complete, all entries are
moved to the Main Library for in-depth cataloging, access, and
^ Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. "Peabody; Who We
Are". Retrieved 2017-09-18.
^ a b Shearer, Lee (2001-03-27). "UGA names new Peabody director".
Athens Banner-Herald. Archived from the original on 2013-06-05.
^ a b c d Moore, Frazier (September 26, 2002). "Emmys over? Now let's
get acquainted with the Peabodys". The Daily Courier. Google News.
Associated Press. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
^ a b c d Koehler, Robert (2011-05-21). "Peabody board casts wide net
for excellence". Variety. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
^ Lawhorn, Jenny (2005-04-09). "
Peabody Award for Iraq
Reporting". NPR. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
^ "Submit an Entry for Consideration". Peabody Awards official.
2014-10-13. Retrieved 2015-03-16.
^ "Broadcasters Honor Rusk". The Albany Herald. Google News.
Associated Press. 1989-01-19. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
^ "Radio: New Order of Merit". TIME. Time Inc. 7 April 1941. Retrieved
14 September 2009. (subscription required)
^ a b "60 Minutes Journalist To Deliver UGA's Peabody-Smithgall
Lecture". TheStreet.com. PR Newswire. 2011-03-16. Retrieved
2013-04-23. [permanent dead link]
^ "Local business icons inducted into hall of fame". AccessNorthGa.
2012-04-13. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
^ a b Cummins, Lance (2004-03-17). "Local student to judge Peabodys".
TheCitizen. Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved
^ "Peabody Hands Out A Record 46 Awards," from TVNewsCheck, 4/2/2014
^ "About the Authors". McGraw-Hill Higher Education. Retrieved 4
^ "The Peabody Awards". peabodyawards.com.
^ a b "
Ira Glass Will Host 73rd Annual Peabody Awards," from the
Peabody Awards website (accessed 4/16/2015)
^ a b Announcement of early 74th
Peabody Award winners from
PeabodyAwards.com (accessed 4/15/2015)
Larry King Hosting Peabody Awards". The Huffington Post. Associated
Press. 2011-03-07. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
^ "Participant Media’s Pivot to Broadcast Peabody Awards Through
2016," from Variety 3/17/2014
^ Pedersen, Erik (2017-04-03). "Peabody Awards 2017 To Air On PBS
& Fusion; Rashida Jones Set As Host". Deadline. Retrieved
^ "History :: UGA Libraries Walter J. Brown Media Archives &
Peabody Awards Collection". uga.edu.
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