Public radio pioneer William Kling to receive Colman Barry Award from SJU

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April 4, 2007

Saint John’s University will present the 15th Colman J. Barry Award to William H. Kling in honor of his pioneering role in public radio in the United States. The award will be presented in conjunction with Saint John’s Day activities Friday, April 20, at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. The event is by invitation only.

Kling, a 1964 graduate of SJU, is the founding president of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), which originated at Saint John’s and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. It is the second largest public radio entity in the nation. Saint John’s University is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

Kling is president and CEO of American Public Media Group, the non-profit parent company of MPR, Southern California Public Radio, American Public Media and the for-profit Greenspring Company. He was an incorporator and founding director of National Public Radio and the founding chair and president of Public Radio International.

Kling has been recognized as one of the 100 influential Minnesotans of the 20th century by the Star Tribune newspaper. He received the national Edward R. Murrow Award recognizing outstanding contributions to the broadcast industry and the Channels Magazine Award for Excellence recognizing those in electronic media who have achieved business success while maintaining a commitment to excellence. In 2004, he was inducted into the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame.

Kling holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from SJU and a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Communication at Boston University. He and his wife, Sally, live in Minneapolis.

The Rev. Colman J. Barry was president of SJU from 1964 to 1971. He left an enormous legacy at Saint John’s, including the creation of Minnesota Public Radio, the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library and the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning. The Colman J. Barry Award for Distinguished Contributions to Religion and Society is given annually to those who, like Barry, have made significant contributions to human knowledge, understanding or communication in religion and society.