The Advanced Television Systems Committee today awarded its highest technical honor, the 2021 Bernard J. Lechner Outstanding Contributor Award, to Alan Stein, Vice President of Technology at InterDigital.   ATSC also presented the Mark Richer Industry Leadership Medal to Sen. Gordon Smith, the President and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters.

Congratulating the honorees during this year’s NextGen Broadcast Conference, ATSC President Madeleine Noland said that Stein “is an extremely valuable contributor to the work of ATSC, both as an expert technologist and also as an accomplished group chairperson.  We are honored to salute his dedication with the Lechner Award.”  And she recognized Senator Smith for his outstanding leadership of the National Association of Broadcasters as a “steady advocate for the broadcasting industry who has taken every available opportunity to promote ATSC 3.0 since we first started this important work on next-generation broadcast standards.”


Named for the legendary former ATSC president who led the organization for two decades spanning both ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0, the Mark Richer Industry Leadership Medal recognizes an individual or team that demonstrates exemplary leadership in advancing the mission of ATSC and epitomizes the vision, tenacity and leadership qualities that were the hallmark of his leadership.  Noland invited Richer, who retired two years ago, to present this coveted award to Senator Smith.  NAB Chief Operating Officer Curtis LeGeyt accepted the honor for Senator Smith, who is meeting this week with Wisconsin broadcasters.

“Senator Smith became President and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters in 2009, just before the technology we later termed ATSC 3.0 became a major focus of our organization.  Senator Smith understood the value that next-generation television could bring to the broadcasting industry and he was instrumental in promoting the potential to NAB’s board and membership,” said Madeleine Noland, ATSC President.

Richer Medal recipients include:

  • 2019 – Mark Richer
  • 2020 – The Phoenix Model Market


ATSC’s 2021 Lechner Award recipient Alan Stein is Vice President of Technology, in the CTO office of InterDigital.  He holds 16 granted patents in the field of digital video and currently heads InterDigital’s Visual Standards Team, where he manages a global team of senior technology experts who participate in major video standards organizations.   Alan Stein has been a long-time, active contributor to many ATSC activities, first with Technicolor and now with InterDigital. Stein has been a board member of the UHD Alliance and a member of the CTA Video Board.

“Alan has distinguished himself in numerous leadership roles and in his technical contributions to the work. He has served as Chair of ATSC’s Video group since its inception as an ad hoc group and now in its current form as TG3/S41 Specialist Group on Video for ATSC 3.0.  Stein also serves as Chair of ATSC Planning Team 6 on Global Recognition of ATSC 3.0, assisting ATSC with overall global strategy and organizing specific efforts as needed for various countries exploring ATSC 3.0,” Noland explained.

The Bernard J. Lechner Outstanding Contributor Award is bestowed once a year to an individual representative of the membership whose technical and leadership contributions to ATSC have been invaluable and exemplary. The title of the award recognizes the first recipient, the late Bernard Lechner, for his outstanding service to the ATSC.

Lechner was the retired Staff Vice President, Advanced Video Systems of RCA Laboratories. His 30-year career at RCA covered all aspects of television and display research, including early work on home video tape recorders in the late 1950s, extensive development of flat-panel matrix displays in the 1960s including pioneering efforts on active-matrix liquid crystal displays, advanced two-way cable TV systems and pay-TV systems in the early 1970s, electronic tuning systems and CCD comb-filters for TV receivers in the mid-1970s, automated broadcast cameras and CCD broadcast cameras in the late 1970s and early 1980s, to HDTV in the mid-1980s.

Lechner award recipients include:

  • 2000 – Bernard Lechner, Consultant
  • 2001 – Rich Chernock, Triveni Digital
  • 2002 – Regis Crinon, Microsoft
  • 2003 – Glenn Adams, Extensible Formatting Systems, Inc
  • 2004 – Graham Jones, National Association of Broadcasters
  • 2005 – John Henderson, Hitachi
  • 2006 – Art Allison, NAB
  • 2007 – Mark Eyer, Sony Electronics
  • 2008 – Michael Dolan, TBT
  • 2009 – Wayne Bretl, Zenith/LG Electronics
  • 2010 – Pat Waddell, Harmonic
  • 2011 – Jim Starzynski, NBC Universal
  • 2012 – S. Merrill Weiss, MWG Group
  • 2013 – Mark Aitken, Sinclair Broadcast Group
  • 2014 – James Kutzner, PBS
  • 2015 – Luke Fay, Sony
  • 2016 – Madeleine Noland, LG Electronics
  • 2017 – Skip Pizzi, NAB
  • 2018 – Mark Corl, Triveni Digital
  • 2019 – Adam Goldberg, AGP/Sony
  • 2020 – Jae-Young Lee, ETRI
  • 2020 – Alan Stein, InterDigital
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