Michelle Srbinovich, general manager of WDET-FM, has received the 2016 Madison Hodges Innovator Award for Public Media Advancement.
The award is given by the University Station Alliance (USA) and recognizes an individual’s attempts to make a greater impact in their community and their industry as a public media professional. Srbinovich received the honor Oct. 27 at the USA’s Super-Regional Meeting in Pittsburgh. In addition to the award, she received a check for $1,500.
“What an honor. I’m floored and still in a bit of shock,” Srbinovich said. “Less than seven years ago, I wouldn’t have even called myself a public radio listener, let alone imagined I would be leading our local station.”
A self-described “problem solver with a digital toolkit,” Srbinovich came to WDET in 2009 from Campbell Ewald, where she managed digital projects for Chevy and ran the award-winning online community Navy for Moms. She is currently the youngest general manager running a major market NPR affiliate.
Srbinovich is a proud alumna of the German Marshall Fund’s Marshall Memorial Fellowship, and has been recognized as one of Crain’s Detroit Business’ 20 In Their 20s and United Macedonian Diaspora’s 40 Under 40. A passionate advocate for Detroit, Srbinovich is the co-founder of the Detroit chapter of Girl Develop It and a founding member of the United Way of Southeast Michigan’s Emerging Philanthropists.
At the helm of WDET — a community service of Wayne State University — Srbinovich is responsible for driving the growth of the first working U.S. model of mainstream, major market, multiethnic public radio. She has earned national respect for her work at WDET and her commitment to bringing new audiences to public service media.
"The USA is excited to present Michelle with the Innovator Award,” said John Hess, president of the University Station Alliance Board. “She was chosen from a group of outstanding candidates. Michelle represents the future of public media’s success.”
Earlier this month, Srbinovich was also recognized at the 6th Annual Vanguard Awards alongside 14 other young professionals and entrepreneurs who are growing and excelling in their respective fields. These individuals influence the growth, prosperity and quality of life in metro Detroit. They demonstrate the ability to positively impact the area long-term through professional accomplishments and community involvement.
“I know that there are others out there like me who are passionate about our communities and see the power and potential of media that exists to serve the public,” Srbinovich said. “My story is not a traditional one, and I hope it inspires others to consider public media as a place where they can have an impact. I also hope it inspires current leaders to take some risks, mentor younger staff at their organizations and give them the opportunity to try some things that might go against conventional wisdom.”