The MAPB has announced its 2017 Public Media Impact Award recipients. CMU Public Radio’s John Sheffler will be honored for his nearly 40 years of professional service and leadership and Detroit philanthropist William H. Smith will be recognized for his generous contributions to Detroit Public Television.
John Sheffler retired in May 2015 from WCMU (Mt. Pleasant) as Director of Radio after nearly 40 years with the station, a career that began while he was a student at Central Michigan University. He is credited with creating the series “Our Front Porch” in 1979, highlighting live Traditional Americana and Celtic music. The program was broadcast nationally by NPR from 1983-1988 and was a weekend WCMU mainstay for more than 34 years. “Our Front Porch” recordings have been collected by the Library of Congress and the Irish Traditional Music Archives in Dublin.
William H. Smith founded Allied Film & Video in Detroit after he and his wife, Patsy, moved to the city in 1960. They quickly became regular patrons of local culture and education, including Detroit Public Television. When Bill sold his company in 1995, the Smiths established a private charitable foundation and donor-advised fund through the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan. The couple was among DPTV’s lead donors as the organization expanded its services and facilities to convert to digital broadcasting in 2005, providing funding for the Smith Family Broadcast Operations Center. Following Patsy’s death in 2006, Bill made an additional gift for the construction of the Bill and Patsy Smith Studio at the Riley Broadcast Center. In 2013, Bill and his children made a $1 million commitment to established DPTV’s William H. Smith Family Leadership Circle to encourage other’s in charitable giving to the organization by their generous example. As of 2017, the giving circle surpassed its $4 million goal with more than 55 donors participating in high level support of the values and mission of DPTV.
The MAPB Public Media Impact Awards will be celebrated on Aug. 22 at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville as part of the MAB’s annual Advocacy Conference evening Awards Banquet. Click here to attend.