Don Benson, president and CEO of Lincoln Financial Media will receive the Media Financial Management Association’s (MFM’s) Avatar Award, its highest honor, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the communications industry and exemplary role in community service. The Award will be presented to at Media Finance Focus 2015, the 55thannual conference for MFM and its BCCA subsidiary. Themed “Blazing a New Frontier,” the conference will be held at The Arizona Grand Hotel & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona, May 18 -20. Benson will receive his award on Monday morning, May18.
With the term “avatar” representing the embodiment of a known model or category, MFM selected it for the name of its highest award to an industry leader. It was first presented in 1983; past recipients have included Cox chairman, Clifford Kirkland; Turner CEO, R.E. Ted Turner; Tribune Broadcasting president & CEO, Jim Dowdle; Hubbard Broadcasting president & CEO, Stanley Hubbard; UPN Television president & CEO, Lucie Salhaney; Former FCC Commissioner, James Quello; award-winning journalist and humanitarian Deborah Norville; TV One president & CEO Jonathan Rodgers; David Kennedy, president & CEO of Susquehanna Radio, Kenneth W. Lowe, president & CEO of The E.W. Scripps Company, and AMC Networks’ president and CEO Joshua Sapan.
“While Avatar Award nominees are considered annually, there have been a number of years since 1983 in which no honoree has been named,” said Mary M. Collins, president and CEO of MFM and BCCA. “I know that anyone who knows or knows of Don Benson will agree his career is distinguished by the type of leadership and commitment to community service that truly make him one of the media industry’s true Avatars.”
As president and chief executive officer of Lincoln Financial Media Company (LFMC), Benson has overall responsibility for the company’s operations of 15 radio stations in Atlanta, Miami, San Diego, and Denver. In December, 2104, LFMC agreed to be acquired by Entercom Communications in a transaction that is expected to close by the second quarter of this year.
Benson, who has served as president and CEO of LFMC since 2008, joined the company in 2006 when it merged with Jefferson-Pilot. He spent more than 20 years with Jefferson Pilot, including serving as senior vice president of operations/programming for Jefferson Pilot's Radio Division for 10 years and as president of the Jefferson Pilot Radio from 2005 until its merger with LFMC.
Benson began his radio career at WMAK/Nashville before joining Jefferson Pilot in 1974 as a programming assistant at WQXI AM/FM in Atlanta, where he later became the station’s operations manager. Benson also has served as vice president of operations of KIIS-FM in Los Angeles and as corporate vice president of programming for Western Cities Broadcasting's seven-station group. In addition, he served as an executive vice president of operations for Burkhart/Douglas & Associates, an Atlanta-based consulting firm.
A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Benson was inducted into its Student Media Hall of Fame in 2010. For each of the last ten years, he has been named to Radio Ink’s list of “The 40 Most Powerful People in Radio.” In addition, he was chosen by Radio Ink as the “2014 Radio Ink Radio Executive of The Year.” He was also inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, which selected him for its Career Achievement Award in 2009. Benson is currently serving his third term as Radio Board chair and is a member of the executive committee of the National Association of Broadcasters. Benson is also a member of the board of directors of the Radio Advertising Bureau and previously served as chair of the Arbitron Advisory Council, representing the top 50 continuously rated radio markets.
About Media Finance Focus 2015:
MFM/BCCA’s annual conference serves as the industry’s primary source of professional education for the media industry’s business and credit management executives, including its newspaper, television, radio, cable, online, mobile and other digital media enterprises. Media Finance Focus 2015 will feature presentations from more than 175 industry experts, who will provide the latest information on accounting, credit and collections, economic projections, valuations, M&A, taxes, human resources, regulatory, and technological developments affecting the media industry.
MFM is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. Registered participants can earn 20 or more CPE credits. Media Finance Focus also offers a number of formal and informal networking activities that are designed to foster idea-sharing and an exhibit hall featuring the latest in products and services for addressing the industry’s financial management and credit and collections requirements. Additional information about Media Finance Focus 2015 and an online registration form may be found on the conference Web site: www.mediafinancefocus.org.
About MFM and BCCA: Media Financial Management Association (MFM) is the premiere resource for financial professionals for media industry education, networking, and information sharing throughout the U.S. and Canada. More information about MFM is available on its Web site: http://www.mediafinance.org. Its BCCA subsidiary serves as the media industry’s credit association. BCCA’s revenue management services include a variety of credit reports on national and local media advertisers and EMCAPP - the Electronic Media Credit Application. More information about BCCA and EMCAPP is available at http://www.bccacredit.com and www.emcapp.com.