Two-time BGSU alumnus honored with prestigious ‘Giants of Broadcasting’ award

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – A two-time Bowling Green State University alumnus who started his own low-power AM radio station out of his parents' house as a teenager was recently honored as among the nation’s best in broadcasting.

Former president and CEO of Susquehanna Media Co., Dr. David Kennedy ‘76, ‘81 received the prestigious 2023 Giants of Broadcasting and Electronic Arts Award from the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation.

He joins the ranks of some of the most notable names in broadcasting, including Walter Cronkite, Barbara Walters and Edward R. Murrow.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work in an industry that I love and have loved since I was a kid,” Kennedy said. “It’s an incredible honor to be recognized. I’m humbled and still shocked that my name is on that list.”

Kennedy received the award at a ceremony in New York City in November alongside seven other 2023 honorees, including Wolf Blitzer of CNN, JuJu Chang from ABC News and Nina Totenburg of NPR.

The Giants of Broadcasting award celebrates the remarkable creators, innovators, leaders, performers and journalists who have blazed trails in the radio and television broadcasting industry. More than 250 people have received the award since its inception in 2003.

Real-world application

While pursuing a master’s degree and doctorate in communications at BGSU, Kennedy focused his studies on audience analysis, which he said opened the door to incredible growth opportunities in broadcasting.

He began applying what he was learning in class and through his research to his job at a local Toledo radio station, improving listenership and garnering the attention of the company’s executives.

Not long after, Kennedy began traveling around the country to work with the company’s other radio stations, developing new formats and improving station ratings by focusing on audience perceptions and adjusting programming based on market segmentation.

“It was my work at BGSU that helped me develop the skills and ability to do those things. I could look at problems and opportunities from different perspectives," Kennedy said. “The ability to approach a specific problem and apply the kind of critical thinking skills I learned at BGSU has paid off in so many ways and in so many situations throughout my career.

“I’m deeply indebted to the people at BGSU, both the instructors and my fellow students. They made a huge impact on my life.”

Bettering the industry

Kennedy held numerous positions throughout his 33-year career at Susquehanna Radio Corp., from announcer to operations manager and director of program research, before being named president and chief operating officer in 1995.

In 2004, Kennedy was named president and CEO of Susquehanna Media Co. and remained in that role until 2006 when the company was sold to Cumulus Media.

With his vast knowledge and experience in broadcasting, Kennedy chaired numerous industry committees and the boards of prominent trade organizations, including the National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau.

Through those volunteer positions, his efforts ranged from working with ratings companies to better design survey instruments and improve the analysis of audience data to lobbying Congress and the Federal Communications Commission regarding critical broadcasting industry policy and regulatory matters.

“My experiences at Bowling Green were instrumental in honing my ability to work collaboratively with others and to bring new thinking and perspectives to the many issues that the industry was facing,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy remains involved in many broadcasting trade organizations and is also the managing director of Aspire Ventures, LLC, a technology-focused venture capital firm he co-founded.

Updated: 01/22/2024 10:00AM