This awards program is administered by the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. Selections are made by the National Advisory Board upon recommendations of special screening sessions of the faculty.


In 1938, the National Association of Broadcasters formed a committee to establish a prize similar to the Pulitzer Prize for radio. One member of the committee, Lambdin Kay, was a long-time manager of WSB Radio in Atlanta. Kay became a champion of the awards program and made it his special project.  In a fashion similar to the relationship the Pulitzer Prize has with Columbia University, Kay approached the University of Georgia for assistance.  The awards program was named in honor of George Foster Peabody, a native Georgian, industrialist, financier and major benefactor of the University of Georgia. His daughter, Marjorie Peabody Waite, even served on the first Advisory Board and commissioned the design of the famous bronze medallion.

In 1940, at the first Peabody Awards ceremony, 19 Institutional awards were given to various radio stations and organizations across the country.  One personal award was given to reporter Elmer Davis, the "Personal Award for Best Reporting of the News".


The purpose of this award is to recognize distinguished achievement and meritorious service by radio and television networks, stations, producing organizations, cable television organizations and individuals. While the intent of the Peabody Awards is to recognize outstanding achievement in broadcasting and cable, the competition is open to entries produced for alternative distribution, including corporate, educational, home-video release and CD-ROM. In general, non-broadcast or non-cable entries should be publicly available and part of an overall broadcast or cable enterprise. Programs produced and intended for theatrical motion picture exhibition are not eligible for a Peabody Award.

Personal Peabody Award winners over the years have included Rod Serling, Walter Cronkite, Orson Welles, Studs Turkel, Charles Kurault, Norman Lear, Pauline Frederick, Barbra Streisand, Oprah Winfrey and Christiane Amanpour.

Information obtained from
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