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Dr. Grady James Receives Award

Dr. Grady James Receives Award from the Virginia Association of Broadcasters

The Virginia Association of Broadcasters awarded four outstanding Virginia citizens on Friday, June 23rd for their contributions to broadcasting and the Commonwealth.

Recipients were presented with the awards during the 86th Annual Summer Convention Awards Banquet held at the Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel. Norfolk State University Professor Emeritus, Dr. Grady James, received the 2023 Distinguished Virginian Award.

The Distinguished Virginian Award honors those who, by their own actions, have contributed substantially to the wellbeing of the Commonwealth, its citizens, or the broadcast industry. Recipients have spent a majority of their life in Virginia, and command the respect of broadcasters and the general public.

Dr. Grady JamesDr. Grady James, a native of Ocala, Florida came to Norfolk State University in 1960, when it was a Division of Virginia State University in Petersburg. He was hired as Director of the educational media center, a similar position he held at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Several years later he designed the institution’s first television studios, and equipped them with color cameras, teleprompters, appropriate lighting systems and news sets. The studios became the laboratories for teaching mass communications courses.

Always interested in a career teaching at an HBCU and in broadcasting, he found an opportunity to do both at Norfolk State and WTAR radio and television, the CBS affiliate in Norfolk, where he won five awards for his work in radio and television programs. In 1971 his documentary, “The State of the Welfare” was voted the best radio documentary in depth report. The award was given by the Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters and the Virginia News Photographers Association.

In 1971 James launched a weekly half-hour public relations television series- “Norfolk State Highlights” on WTAR (now WTKR) television (Channel 3). It aired Sunday nights at 11:30 following the CBS news. He was producer and host of the show for eight years. The series won the National Unity award in 1977, as the best education series. The award was sponsored by the Lincoln University (Missouri) School of journalism.

In 1985, James developed a communications conference where he brought local and national broadcast, cable and print professionals to NSU to discuss issues in the “real world”, internship opportunities and interact with students. The conference ran for 13 years and was co-sponsored by Mr. Peter Easter and the Virginia Association of Broadcasters. Dr. James holds bachelor’s degrees from Bethune-Cookman College (Florida), Columbia College (Chicago), and M.S. and Ed.S degrees from Indiana University in Bloomington. He also holds a doctorate in educational media from Temple University in Philadelphia. He is a member of the Hampton Roads Black Media Professionals Hall of Fame, the Norfolk State University Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Virginia Commonwealth Communications Hall of Fame. He is a member of the Hampton Roads Black Media Professionals, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Virginia Association Broadcasters and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated. He is also a veteran of the United States Army.