WNYC Wins Two 2014 Peabody Awards for Radiolab and WNYC News

Radiolab and WNYC's News Team Honored with Peabody and Headliner Awards  

(New York, NY – April 20, 2015) – WNYC has been recognized with two George Foster Peabody Awards for broadcast excellence in 2014.  

 RADIOLAB’S “60 WORDS” has garnered a second Peabody Award for Radiolab, WNYC’s popular podcast and radio program -- created and produced by Jad Abumrad, co-hosted by Robert Krulwich -- which first won in 2011. Produced by Radiolab’s Kelsey Padgett and Matt Kielty and reported by BuzzFeed’s Gregory Johnsen, this episode pulls apart a single sentence that has led to the longest war in U.S. history. These 60 words of legal language, drafted in the hours following the September 11 attacks, continue to blur the line between war and peace.

Said the Peabody Awards judges: A “Radiolab” collaboration with Buzzfeed reporter Gregory Johnsen, it takes a hard, disturbing look at the broad, malleable wording of the Authorization of Use of Military Force Act, approved by near-unanimous Congressional vote shortly after the 9/11 attacks, and how its interpretation has expanded military power and secrecy.

“CHRIS CHRISTIE, WHITE HOUSE AMBITIONS AND THE ABUSE OF POWER” has also earned WNYC a Peabody Award, its first specifically for news coverage since 1944, when WNYC won for Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s weekly addresses to the City. This series of reports, which examines the exercise of power by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his administration, was the work of a team of WNYC and New Jersey Public Radio reporters, producers and engineers, including Andrea Bernstein and Matt Katz. The effort was led by Nancy Solomon, managing editor of New Jersey Public Radio, and overseen by Jim Schachter, WNYC’s Vice President for News.  WNYC’s sustained investigation helped establish the narrative for the local and national media’s reporting on the Christie administration’s politicization of traffic control at the busiest bridge in the world, of operations at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and of federal Sandy aid in Hoboken. These reports prompted state and federal investigations and spurred legislative reform efforts. 

Said the Peabody Awards judges: “In a series of pithy news reports about the “Bridgegate” scandal, WNYC helped to link a disruptive bridge closure to a broader pattern of questionable political operations by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office. Its coverage sparked national news coverage, high-profile resignations in the Christie administration, and criminal investigations into the Port Authority.”

Last week, both “60 Words” and “Chris Christie, White House Ambitions and the Abuse of Power” were also recognized with 2015 Headliner Awards.

“Both ‘60 Words’ and the Chris Christie series pull back the curtain on the inner workings of political power and the lasting effects of political action, demonstrating the importance of serious journalism to our democracy and national discourse,” said Laura Walker, President and CEO of New York Public Radio, which includes WNYC and New Jersey Public Radio. “We are deeply gratified by these Peabody and Headliner Awards, which honor the producers and reporters at WNYC and Radiolab who are committed to telling stories that matter.”

"’60 Words’ covers a story we just couldn’t shake, and we felt it was important during a time of war to explore the sometimes frightening power of words,” said Abumrad. “I couldn't be more proud of Kelsey and Matt and the whole team.  In many ways, this hour marks a new direction for Radiolab.  It's great to see it recognized with such prestigious award."  

“WNYC was uniquely positioned to report the Bridgegate story in all its complexity, because we are committed to investigative reporting of politics and government in New York and New Jersey, and to coverage of the transportation systems that bind our region together," Schachter said. 

In the past 11 years, WNYC has won seven other Peabody Awards for both its national and local programs: Radiolab, On the Media, Studio 360 (two), Radio Rookies, The Brian Lehrer Show, and The Leonard Lopate Show.

Select winners of the 74th Annual Peabody Awards were announced today by the University of Georgia’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.  The Peabody Award is among the most prestigious awards for broadcasting and cable excellence. The awards will be presented on May 31, 2015 at a dinner at the Cipriani Wall Street in New York.

Radiolab is supported, in part, by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

New Jersey Public Radio is supported by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Fund for New Jersey, the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, Mr. and Mrs. Martin F. Heller, the Schumann Fund for New Jersey, and the Wyncote Foundation.


With an urban vibrancy and a global perspective, New York Public Radio produces innovative public radio programs, podcasts, and live events that touch a passionate community of over 14 million people monthly on air, online and in person.  From its state-of-the-art studios in New York City, NYPR is reshaping radio for a new generation of listeners with groundbreaking, award-winning programs including RadiolabFreakonomics Radio, On the MediaHere’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin and Carnegie Hall Live, among many others. New York Public Radio includes WNYC, WQXR, New Jersey Public Radio and The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space.  Further information about programs, podcasts, and stations may be found at www.nypublicradio.org.


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