Brian Lawlor, Scripps executive vice president of television, was in New York Wednesday to claim the 2011 Broadcaster of the Award, given by B&C and the TVB, at the TVB's annual Forward conference.
Lawlor was saluted for his extensive work on behalf of NBC stations nationwide as affiliates board chairman, for innovations such as the recently debuted live streaming app that have set up the Scripps stations as round the clock local media outlets, and for tirelessly representing broadcasters in Washington on vital issues such as spectrum allocation.
Lawlor spoke of his transformation from a sales-oriented young general manager to the leader of a news outlet that could improve the community and even save lives. He was eight months into his first GM job in West Palm Beach in 2005 when Hurricane Francis and its 100 mph winds tore the roof off the station, caused extensive flooding, and a series of electrical fires-all of which threatened to knock the station off the air.
The station stayed on, and was cited by numerous viewers for its role in informing, educating, and even helping save the lives of local viewers.
"At that point, I got it," Lawlor said. "I stopped just running a business and understood the power of a television station. That day changed my life."
Several Scripps executives, including president and CEO Rich Boehne, were there to toast Lawlor, who received a standing ovation from the assembly of broadcast industry leaders. Lawlor said it was humbling to receive the award after attending the conference annually as a young station sales person.