Arkansas PBS wins five Public Media Awards in 53rd annual awards competition

CONWAY — Arkansas PBS won five Public Media Awards from the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) in the 53nd annual competition. Winners were announced Jan. 25, during the Public Media Awards Gala during the 2022 NETA Conference and Corporation for Public Broadcasting Thought Leader Forum. Compilation videos of the winning and nominated projects can be seen at and

The Public Media Awards honor NETA members’ finest work in content, community engagement, marketing/communications and education.

“Our Arkansas PBS team is honored to have been recognized with these highly competitive national awards – including two for overall excellence for the second consecutive year,” Arkansas PBS CEO Courtney Pledger said. “Through hard work and dedication, and together with our numerous statewide partners, we have committed ourselves to reaching new audiences and sharing one-of-a-kind Arkansas stories.

“Congratulations to everyone who worked together to make this recognition possible – your creativity and innovation are truly worth celebrating!”

Arkansas PBS won the following Public Media Awards: 

  • Overall Excellence – Excellence in Content.
  • Overall Excellence – Excellence in Marketing/Communications.
  • Local Project – Reading in the Delta. Over the course of four days in four cities, the Reading in the Delta initiative nurtured the love of literacy in the Arkansas Delta. This program was designed to seed high-quality books and literacy experiences in areas challenged by distance and isolation from libraries and other community assets including digital connectivity. Reading in the Delta was made possible by the Joan R. and Charles M. Taylor II Memorial Endowment Fund.
  • Cultural Documentary – “Urban Forge: Ozark Artistry.” The feature-length film centers on working blacksmiths in Mountain View, Arkansas, as they pass down the tradition and skills from one generation to another, turning raw materials into functional art and keeping a centuries-old craft alive. “Urban Forge” was produced by Charles Eric White, Terrell Case and CJ Burks and executive produced by Ed Leon.
  • Independent Production – “Rap Squad,” Nathan Willis. The feature-length film is an intimate verité documentary about Arkansas high school hip hop artists who seek healing for themselves and equity in their community through their music. “Rap Squad” was directed by Nathan Willis; produced by Willis and Nolan Dean; and executive produced by Craig Renaud and Courtney Pledger.

Arkansas PBS was also nominated for the following Public Media Awards:

The complete PMA winners’ gallery may be viewed here.

Awards were judged by a group of expert panelists from within the public media system, as well as industry professionals working outside of public media. Except for the overall excellence categories, stations competed within their appropriate divisions based on their station size.