APTS Presents 2024 Pillar of Public Service Award to Molly Phillips, Former Executive Director and General Manager of Iowa PBS

An image of Molly Phillips, a white woman with short blonde hair wearing a magenta blazer, standing in front of the Iowa Press television set.

America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) today presented the 2024 Pillar of Public Service Award to Molly Phillips, former executive director and general manager of Iowa PBS, for her pioneering work in creating remarkable educational programming and content for the people of Iowa.

The Pillar of Public Service Award recognizes the contribution of an extraordinary leader and innovator in one or more of public television’s three essential public service missions: education, public safety and civic leadership.

Under Phillips’ leadership, Iowa PBS has become deeply embedded in the life of the state. From the station’s high-quality educational resources that help prepare Iowa’s children for success in school, to its hyperlocal coverage of agricultural news, to its broadcast of high school sports state championships, Iowa PBS provides services unique to Iowans that are unrivaled by anyone else in the state.

“Over the course of a 34-year career at Iowa PBS, Molly Phillips has pursued public television’s public service missions in extraordinary ways,” said Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America’s Public Television Stations. “Having served a variety of professional roles, including human resources, communications and community engagement, and culminating with her service as executive director and general manager, Molly has made extraordinary contributions to communities across Iowa and to the entire public broadcasting system.

“Molly and her talented team at Iowa PBS have dramatically demonstrated the power of public television to deliver a broad range of essential public services across the state of Iowa. Iowa PBS is doing what public television stations do best: educating our children and serving our communities as partners in public service.

“Molly has been an innovative and relentless advocate for community service at its finest, both on television and through on-the-ground initiatives, and has set a standard of public service to which every public television station should aspire. 

“We are all inspired by Molly’s dedication and passion for our public service missions and are immensely grateful for her decades of commitment to Iowa PBS and our system. It is my great honor to present Molly Phillips with the most well-deserved 2024 Pillar of Public Service Award.”

“I consider public television an essential service,” said Phillips. “Essential because we help kids become school-ready regardless of where they live or what their families can afford. Essential because we help teachers fill their classrooms with high-quality resources regardless of their district’s budget. Essential because our infrastructure helps assure public safety messages reach the most remote citizen. Essential because we help the homebound feel connected to their communities and each other. Essential because we inspire civic and civil discussion on the issues important to our state. We change lives every day in public media. What could be more rewarding than that? It has been an honor and a privilege to serve my community and my state through my work at Iowa PBS, and it is an honor to accept this award on behalf of that work.”

Molly Phillips was executive director and general manager for Iowa PBS, where she was responsible for leading Iowa’s only statewide broadcast network since 2013. Molly served Iowa PBS since 1990, devoting her career to the advancement of public television and Iowa PBS’s mission to educate, inform, enrich and inspire Iowans. She was previously the director of communications and community engagement at Iowa PBS, where for nearly 15 years she was responsible for the network’s state and federal public policy advocacy. America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) presented Molly with its National Advocacy Award in 2010.

Molly volunteered her time and talents to a long list of organizations advancing the vision and goals of public media. She served as chair on the APTS Board of Trustees and was an active member of the Organization of State Broadcasting Executives (OSBE). She also chaired the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for APTS. Molly served on the Public Broadcasting Service Board of Directors where she co-chaired the PBS Diversity Advisory Committee. She also served as past-chair on the National Education Telecommunications Association (NETA) Board of Directors. She previously served NETA as chair and secretary. As past chair, she also served on the Affinity Group Coalition of Public Media Organizations where she led an initiative to create professional development training opportunities for public media employees.

Molly holds a bachelor of arts in business degree from Grand View University in Des Moines. She was raised in southwest Iowa and she currently resides in Grimes with her husband Steve. They have three grown children together: daughter Courtney and twin sons Taylor and Trevor.

The 2024 Pillar of Public Service Award was presented to Molly Phillips during the APTS Public Media Summit on Monday, February 26, 2024.

About APTS

America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization ensuring a strong and financially sound public television system and helping member stations provide essential public services in education, public safety and civic leadership to the American people. For more information, visit www.apts.org.