Realizing that there was no equivalent for the Pulitzer Prize in radio, the National Association of Broadcasters formed a committee to establish a prestigious award for excellence in broadcasting. The manager of WSB Radio in Atlanta Lambdin Kay asked John Drewry, the dean of Grady School of Journalism, to sponsor the award. They named the award for George Foster Peabody, a highly successful investment banker and recently deceased benefactor to the University of Georgia.
Since 1940 the Peabody award has steadily grown from being the “Pulitzer Prize for Radio” to recognizing excellence in a wide range of electronic media. In 1948 the Peabody Awards began recognizing television programs, and eventually cable TV was included beginning in 1981. By 2003, the first website had been included in the list of winners and 2012 saw the first Peabody Award given to a blog. From the first radio broadcast, electronic media has been constantly evolving. As the possibilities for storytelling multiply, the Peabody Awards will continue to draw attention to stories that matter in electronic media. We look toward the new forms of storytelling that will arise as we move deeper into the digital age.
"Every year, over a thousand submissions—including TV shows, radio programs, and various types of web content—are reviewed first by 90 faculty, staff, and students judges at the University of Georgia. Their committees make recommendations to the Peabody Board who are responsible for selecting the final winners.
The Peabody Board is made up of a collection of scholars, media professionals, and journalists. This mix of top-level media professionals from a variety of backgrounds helps to ensure that winners appeal to a wide variety of viewers, rather than exclusively to media insiders. For a program to win, all 16 board member have to unanimously vote in favor of it receiving a Peabody."