Michael Starling of National Public Radio
Receives IAAIS C. Stanley Potter Award
May 22, 2004
Presented by David Noble of Sun Sounds of Arizona, representing IAAIS
The purpose of the Award is to honor outstanding contributions to the audio
information industry. This particular individual has not only served IAAIS
on its Board of Directors, he has also served IAAIS in his work “outside”
audio information services. He has not “grown up” in radio reading, but is
a convert to the cause.
One of the key factors in identifying a candidate for our most prestigious
award, is to find those who think “out of the box” in creating innovations
for furthering audio information access. This award is not about how long
one has been in this industry but what an individual or organization has
contributed to IAAIS's growth, success, empowerment, technological
advancement, and programming creativity.
This nominee does all this and is not a staff member or volunteer at a
member station of IAAIS. He has contributed to the growth of this industry
by helping to represent its mission and purpose to the Federal
Communications Commission, the leadership of non-commercial radio and by
educating us on those things outside our sphere of knowledge. He has
served in key roles that contributed to the industry’s success in
protecting existing radio reading services from the potentially harmful
effects of Low Power FM stations. He champions IAAIS within the public
radio system, and is instrumental in helping IAAIS members meet with and
educate leaders in the broadcast industry. With his support for the work
we all strive to accomplish, he helps further our organizational
development and our reputations as professionals in the broadcast industry.
This individual has offered expertise from both his legal training and his
broadcast engineering background. Most commonly, this is put to use to
develop language for various filings and pleadings for IAAIS with the
Federal Communications Commission filings in which he formulated position
statements that were irrefutable for their concise logic, broadcast
engineering expertise, and plain old good sense. The man I am referring
to unselfishly devotes countless hours to attending IAAIS conferences,
standard setting committees for the broadcast industry, committee meetings
for IAAIS, and has served on our board of directors. He is well-known for
his ability to explain patiently in layman’s terms the vagaries of
complex technologies to aide our industry’s conversion to digital.
Currently he is spearheading the NPR led effort we know as the “Tomorrow
Radio Project”. While its best-known purpose is to test the ability to
send more than one signal through the new digital radio system, he built
into the planning a “home” for radio reading services. Because he meant
for reading services to be included in the plan from day one, the
developers of the digital radio system at iBiquity, and manufacturers like
Kenwood received clear messages that public radio and reading services were
to move into the future of radio together.
Like his “out of the box” thinking ability, he is “outside” our membership.
This has not prevented him from promoting the acceptance of IAAIS's needs
to his companion workers. On countless occasions those co-workers will
remember him asking… “But what about the reading services”? He has made it
a part of his position inside public radio to ensure that audio information
services will not be the step-child of digital radio. He constantly seeks
technological solutions that will accommodate our industry’s need for
inclusion in the digital broadcast world tomorrow.
Ultimately, of course, his efforts are not just about an industry, or a
technology, or the politics of broadcasting. Ultimately, his work helps to
insure that all people everywhere, regardless of disability, can get the
information they need to be full functioning members of the community and
His current title is Vice President of Engineering at National Public
Radio. Only a little while ago he had “Director IAAIS” after his name as
well. Michael reached his term limit on the IAAIS board and so was
required to set aside the title of Director, but he’s earned several other
titles. We call him counselor, advocate, friend, and now; we call him to
our podium receive our highest honor, C. Stanley Potter Achievement Award.
David Noble, Past President, IAAIS