Ball State University student Blake Chapman is the 2021 recipient of the Al Rent Honorary Ball State PBS/IPR Public Media Student Award.
The $500 award is made possible by an endowment fund established in 2016 at the Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County in memory of J. Allan Rent. It was created to honor Rent’s professional and volunteer work in public media by recognizing a student with a serious commitment to public media, specifically Ball State University’s public radio and public television stations.
A junior from Aurora, Ind., Chapman has been a student on-air board operator and producer at Indiana Public Radio since January 2019. He also works on the “Cardinal Compass” production – a program hosted by Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns that explores the University’s connections with Muncie – which airs on IPR and Ball State PBS.
“Blake is clearly dedicated to a future of broadcasting excellence at Indiana Public Radio and in his career, and he demonstrates a commitment to public service that is at the heart of public media’s mission which foundational people like Al Rent helped build for this community,” Sean Ashcraft, Production Manager at IPR, wrote in Chapman’s recommendation letter.
Chapman, Ashcraft said, has “stood through the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary switch to remote work and track-based announcement workflows, which is no small feat.”
Chapman said public media is what keeps him connected to his Ball State community.
“[Public media] offers a voice for the community that is tuned in to their issues and gives me a better sense of belonging to this region,” he said. “After becoming a member of IPR, my perspective expanded. As I tuned in to more of our local programming, I became much more familiar with this place that I am proud to call home.”
Chapman wants to share the impact IPR — and Ball State PBS — has had on him with others.
“Working for Indiana Public Radio has opened up a lot of doors to me — not just in my professional life, but in my personal life. I’ve become more informed as a journalist and citizen of the United States,” Chapman said. “Being just 20 years old, people in my generation don’t know that much about NPR or PBS, other than kids programming they watched when they were toddlers. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the stories these wonderful journalists and broadcasters create. It’s a necessary service that is as entertaining as it is informative.”
Chapman plans to use the award funds to purchase audio recording equipment that he hopes to use while studying abroad next year.