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WYSO General Manager Receives Innovator Award

The 2017 USA Madison Hodges Innovator Award for Public Media Advancement has been presented to Neenah Ellis of WYSO, the broadcasting service of Antioch College.

Ellis, General Manager of WYSO at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, has drawn on her deep and diverse experience to creative approaches for turning a college station into one of the most important cultural forces in the community. Neenah has enhanced WYSO’s tradition of community involvement with bold new innovative outreach and initiatives. She believes in full and vigorous engagement with her community. Her institutional involvement with the community is worthy of widespread emulation by every station. Before moving to Ohio, Neenah worked in Washington, D.C. for 30 years.  For 10 years she was a 3-time George Foster Peabody Award winner as a writer and radio producer for NPR’s “All Things Considered”. She is a New York Times best-selling author of “If I Live to Be 100: Lessons from the Centenarians.”  She is also the current President of the 1400-member Association of Independents in Radio.

Ellis said, "It's an honor to be recognized by USA and I’m grateful to Antioch College, which holds the WYSO license, for the freedom they have given me to color outside the lines. Together we’re giving voice to community members through our Community Voices project, both on and off the campus, and opening the doors of the radio station wide and wider every year."

"Neenah has taken the lead at WYSO, engaging the community as an active partner with the station to help create compelling stories that that reflect the area's sense of place,” said John Hess, USA Board President. In addition to the award Ellis received a $1,500 check.

About the Innovator Award

This award reflects the USA’s Mission and Madison Hodges’ desire to strengthen the public media system through improving the relationship between broadcasters and their licensees to help the station/licensee transition to success.  Advancement means not accepting the status quo, so this award is for forward-thinking media professionals and institutional leaders.

Award criteria is based on the quality and importance of a short or long-term achievement. The Award is intended as a platform to recognize success, defined in this case as simply the courage to “try.”  Even failures, if successful in helping move the system forward, can be recognized. The Award recognizes the individual’s attempts to make a greater impact in their communities and their profession as a public media professional. In 2014, the first Innovator award was presented to the Madison Hodges family.

Award History

In 2016, the third Annual USA Madison Hodges Innovator Award was presented to Michelle Srbinovich General Manager of WDET-FM. Srbinovich was responsible for driving the growth of the first working U.S. model of mainstream, major market, multi-ethnic public radio. She earned national respect for her work at WDET and her commitment to bringing new audiences to public service media.

In 2015, the second Annual USA Madison Hodges Innovator Award was presented to Randy Wright of WUFT-FM/WJUF-FM/FPREN. Wright, executive director of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications’ Division of Media Properties, led an effort that impacted the state of Florida with a first-of-its-kind resource to help residents prepare for destructive storms and other emergencies. The Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) in 2015 launched Florida Storms, a free mobile weather application that offers a simple way to stay informed of potential weather and other hazards, backed by real-time credible information from the nearest Florida public radio station.

In 2014, the first Annual USA Madison Hodges Innovator Award was presented to the Madison Hodges family. The late Madison Hodges (1947 – 2014) Manager of WQCS at Indian River State College in Ft. Pierce, Florida will long be remembered for his many contributions to Public Media. 

About Madison Hodges

The late Madison Hodges (1947 – 2014) will long be remembered for his many contributions to Public Media. He was a mentor, a friend, a colleague, and a model leader. He had a long and admirable career in television and radio. As a leader, he knew how to build consensus. Madison worked at several university public radio stations and he worked for many years in Washington, DC as a project manager for the Public Telecommunications Facilities program (PTFP) and as NPR's Director of Policy and Station Services. He then served as Executive Director of University Station Alliance. Throughout his career he also served on several national boards including the University Station Alliance, PMBA board, and the executive board of the Florida Public Broadcasting Service.

Hodges was Manager of WQCS at Indian River State College in Ft. Pierce, Florida when he lost his long-term battle with cancer in 2014. Madison was the University Station Alliance Executive Director in 2006. From 2007 to 2014, he served as USA's past president, past vice-president, and at the time of his passing board member.

About the University Station Alliance

The USA is a grassroots not-for-profit organization founded in 2001 to assist institution-licensed stations with the challenges and opportunities associated with their licensees. *University is a generic title that includes colleges, school systems, and state agencies. For more information:

About Antioch College

Antioch College is a groundbreaking and progressive institution and community, dedicated to winning victories for humanity.  Antioch students apply their classroom learning in the world at-large, through extended co-op work placements with national and international organizations. Antioch teaches and lives its commitments to educational innovation, an engaged campus community, and the pursuit of social justice in all its forms. Antioch College is located in Yellow Springs, OH, in the heart of the Miami Valley. Learn more at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About WYSO

WYSO 91.3 was founded by students at Antioch College in 1958 as a 10-watt community radio station. It is licensed to Antioch College, with its studios on the Antioch campus. It broadcasts on multiple platforms: 91.3 FM, live streaming at, on HD radio and on the Public Radio Player, a mobile application. WYSO is the Miami Valley's only NPR News station with programming from NPR, Public Radio International, American Public Media, PRX and the BBC as well as the work of local and independent radio producers.

WYSO is committed to supporting Antioch’s educational mission and values.