Arkansas PBS named finalist for 13 Public Media Awards including Overall Excellence in content, education, community engagement, marketing/communications


Network nominated for overall excellence in four categories for second consecutive year; winners to be announced Sunday

CONWAY, Ark. (Arkansas PBS) — Arkansas PBS has been named a finalist for 13 Public Media Awards from the National Education Telecommunications Association (NETA) in the 54th annual competition. The Public Media Awards honor NETA members’ finest work in content, community engagement, marketing/communications and education. Nominated productions may be viewed at

For the second consecutive year, Arkansas PBS is a finalist in the Overall Excellence categories of education, community engagement, marketing/communications and content.

“Every moment of the day at Arkansas PBS, our audience is front of mind for us, helping us determine how we best tell the unique stories of the people of our state and provide the richest educational opportunities in our communities,” Arkansas PBS CEO Courtney Pledger said. “To be recognized as a finalist in four ‘Overall Excellence’ categories in public media’s only national awards – and for two years running – points to the network’s priorities of deep community connection and quality in local storytelling and education content.

“At Arkansas PBS, we are grateful for our many partners across the state that help us magnify the impact of our work.”

Arkansas PBS is a finalist in the following PMA categories:

  • Overall Excellence in Education
  • Overall Excellence in Community Engagement
  • Overall Excellence in Marketing/Communications
  • Overall Excellence in Content


  • Local Project – Dolly Parton Special Event. When Dolly Parton came to Arkansas to celebrate the success of her Imagination Library program in the state at a closed event hosted by Arkansas Imagination Library (ARIL), Arkansas PBS stepped in to livestream the event for the general public. This service allowed Arkansans to not only experience a moment with Dolly, but also to share awareness of the amazing resources of books the Arkansas Imagination Library provides in the state for free to children.
  • Community Initiative – COVID-19 PSA. This multipronged campaign was designed and executed to be a hyperlocal, highly personal “friends and neighbors” effort to combat COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and vaccine reluctance. It featured intimate and confessional video storytelling by people who have been negatively and profoundly affected by the coronavirus, and plain-spoken, fact-based information by healthcare professionals.
  • Kids & Family – “Rise and Shine” Power Packets. Understanding that Arkansas faces immense challenges with poverty, transportation and broadband access, Arkansas PBS provided dual-language (English and Spanish) educational Power Packets as a supplemental solution to the “Rise and Shine” summer learning educational broadcast, reaching the entire state with no expense to the recipient. As a result, 53,574 total Power Packets were delivered to families, childcare providers, and community organizations.


  • Topical Feature – “7 Days: The Opioid Crisis in Arkansas.” This intimate film illustrates the human toll of the current opioid crisis in the Arkansas, sharing deeply personal stories from Arkansans who have suffered from addiction and documenting the continued fight to address the issues surrounding opioid use, misuse and addiction. "7 Days," produced in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education, features medical professionals and leaders from the Arkansas Office of Drug Director, the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Little Rock Office, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
  • Education – Oral Histories With The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. In this virtual field trip, kids learn about “Passing it on!” with the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. When people think about history, they often think of books. This segment teaches that things that happened in the past have actually been passed down through storytelling, as well as how to ask questions to build an oral history.
  • Short Form – “Speaking Volumes.” Inspired by her time with EAST Initiative, 10th-grader Lexi Jarrett has been building up sports broadcasting for years at Cross County High School, near Wynne, Arkansas. Jarrett pursued a course in media, served as the Thunderbirds’ first female commentator and led a team of students to livestream football games, produce podcasts and more — all while showing resilience through personal trials with Tourette Syndrome.
  • Podcast – “The Growing Season.” This monthly agricultural podcast follows the stories of six Arkansas farmers as they work through a year on their land. Listeners get an inside look at what it truly means to be a farmer today, and the stressors and struggles that come with the lifestyle.


  • Educational Resources for the Community – “Rise and Shine” Summer Learning. This extensive educational program was designed to boost summer learning and help K-5 students retain academic learning targets. The six-week program – featuring lessons led by Arkansas teachers to reinforce learning in key subjects including literacy, math, science and social studies – was produced in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education.
  • Learning Events – “Rise and Shine” Summer Learning.

The complete PMA finalist’s gallery may be viewed here.

With the exception of the overall excellence categories, stations compete within their divisions based on their station size. Awards are judged by a group of expert panelists from within the public media system, as well as industry professionals working outside of public media.

The 54th PMA winners will be announced at the PMA Gala Sunday, Sept. 18, at the 2022 NETA Conference and CPB Public Media Thought Leader Forum.

About NETA

The National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) is a professional association representing 294 member stations in 48 states, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. NETA provides leadership, general audience content, educational services, professional development, and trusted financial management services, including human resources and benefits administration, to individual public media licensees, their affinity groups, and public media as a whole. More information is available at

About Arkansas PBS

Arkansas PBS, Arkansas’s only statewide public media network, empowers learners of all ages by educating, informing, entertaining and inspiring communities. Arkansas PBS serves as a daily and essential resource for Arkansans by creating, sharing, celebrating and driving conversation around Arkansas stories and classic, trusted PBS programs through multiple digital platforms, including livestreaming at, on-demand services and YouTube TV, and the distinct channels Arkansas PBS, Arkansas PBS Create, Arkansas PBS KIDS, Arkansas PBS WORLD and Arkansas PBS AIRS on SAP. Members with Arkansas PBS Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. Arkansas PBS depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at Arkansas PBS is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), KETZ (El Dorado), KETS (Lee Mountain) and KETS (Forrest City).