In the world of broadcasting, there are awards — and then there is the Golden Mike from the Broadcasting Foundation of America.
“It’s a very nice award and recognizes not only me but our whole company and what we do every day. But the fact that this whole foundation is tied around philanthropy and giving back to those of us in our business that have a need, makes it even that more special,” said Perry Sook, founder/CEO of Nexstar.
Sook founded Nexstar in 1996 with one station. Today, there are 174 and growing. But the Golden Mike award doesn’t go to the biggest broadcaster, but the broadcaster with the biggest heart.
“We single out one person who has been an icon in the industry and who’s given back in a lot of other ways,” said Dan Mason, Chairman/BFOA.
The Foundation honors a broadcaster who helps broadcasters when a crisis hits.
“We’re here to help broadcasters who fall on hard times, who can’t work, can’t pay their bills, can’t keep their family together. We’re here to help them,” said Jim Thompson, President/BFOA.
In attendance to see Sook honored were Nexstar employees from Panama City — devastated by Hurricane Michael.
“I respect the heck out of the guy. He came to the station, he said he was going to help our employees. Every one of our employees benefitted,” said Terry Cole, General Manager of WMBB-TV.
“The Broadcast Foundation money just helped put a dent in that. It was a lifesaver,” said Chris Golden of WMBB-TV.
“The Broadcast Foundation money helped me relocate and rebuild a life after Hurricane Michael,” said Kelly Grosfield of WMBB-TV.
A who’s who of broadcasters gathered at The Plaza Hotel in New York City for this golden moment. Country band Sugarland sweetened the evening with their Grammy award-winning music.
But the man of the hour was the one who started as a paperboy and grew up to deliver a media empire.
“It’s very gratifying to think what started with one television station will later this year become the largest broadcasting company in America. It was never the goal, but you do look up and realize, ‘wow, look at where we’ve come and how far we’ve come,’” said Sook.