Senator Mark Warner To Be Keynote Speaker at D.C. Event

FOR RELEASE: Oct. 14, 2011

Contact: Richard T. Kaplar
The Media Institute

Arlington, Va., Oct. 14, 2011 – The Media Institute will honor FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson at its annual Friends & Benefactors Awards Banquet Oct. 18 at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Comm. McDowell will receive the Freedom of Speech Award, while Stephenson will receive the American Horizon Award.  The master of ceremonies will be communications attorney and former FCC chairman Richard E. Wiley.

Comm. McDowell has served on the Federal Communications Commission since 2006.  He has fostered free speech by helping consumers expand their communications choices, and by vigorously opposing regulatory policies that would amount to government censorship of media content.  Furman University President Rodney A. Smolla will present the Freedom of Speech Award to Comm. McDowell.

Randall L. Stephenson is chairman and chief executive of AT&T Inc., the world’s largest telecommunications company.  The American Horizon Award will recognize Stephenson’s visionary leadership in the telecommunications industry.  The award will be presented by Benjamin T. Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP.

Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) will deliver keynote remarks.  He is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.  The former Virginia governor was a co-founder of the company that eventually became Nextel.

The black-tie event also coincides with the seventh annual Free Speech Week (FSW), Oct. 17-23, 2011 (

The Media Institute is a nonprofit research foundation specializing in communications policy and the First Amendment.  For more information, visit the Institute online at