Lloyd Wright, president and CEO of WFYI Public Media, has been name the Beech Grove Alumni Association’s Alumnus of the Year.
Wright has nearly four decades of experience in public service media and oversees Indiana’s flagship PBS and NPR stations, which include six 24/7 broadcast services, WFYI Productions, WFYI Learning Services and Indiana Reading and Information Services.
He has held his current position since 1989 and was previously the programming director. He also served as broadcast operations manager for WTTW Chicago and was employed by the Indiana University News Bureau after serving as director of instructional broadcasting for the Indiana Department of Education.
A 1972 graduate of Beech Grove, Wright earned his bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from IU in 1976. He also graduated from the University of California-Long Beach and the Stanley K. Lacey Executive Leadership Program in Indianapolis.
Wright has fond memories of his school days in Beech Grove and boasts that he can name every teacher he had. He played baseball and basketball and wrote a trivia column, “Answer the Wright Way,” for the high school newspaper. “I loved speech class,” he said. “My teachers saw something in me that I didn’t even know was in me. They gave me a great foundation for a rewarding career.”
During his tenure at WFYI the annual operating budget has grown from $2.5 million to more than $10 million. The station’s services and community-based programs have also expanded significantly in scope and impact. WFYI relocated in 2008 to new a facility in Downtown Indianapolis and established an innovative partnership with the Economic Club of Indiana, of which he sits on the board of trustees.
The station has evolved from a local programming producer into an award-winning one that distributes nearly a dozen documentaries and public affairs programs nationwide each year. WFYI was honored with three PBS Development Awards in 2008, including the coveted Award of Excellence for Overall Membership.
Wright is the recipient of numerous honors, including an Emmy Award for technical achievement, the William Kobin Public Television Leadership Award and two Sagamore of the Wabash honors — the highest commendation given by the governor for distinguished service to the state.
He is serving his fourth term on the PBS board of directors and is a trustee of American Public Television. He serves on the boards of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, the Economic Club of Indiana and The Confucius Institute at IUPUI.
His accomplishments are too numerous to list individually, but in addition to relocating the station, they include raising $21 million for the station’s capital campaign in 2008, the implementation of many educational initiatives and creating a joint operating agreement with WTBU-TV to manage public TV on behalf of Butler. He is the founder and president of the WFYI Foundation and was inducted into the Richard M. Fairbanks Indiana Broadcast Hall of Fame in October.
A member of the Downtown Rotary Club, the Indianapolis Press Club and the IU Alumni Association, Wright has three children, Zach, 26, a medical student; Emily, 22, an IU graduate who majored in communications; and Lindsay, 20, a sophomore journalism student at IU.