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Deon Levingston of Radio One recognized as inaugural Amos Brown Community Advocate Award recipient

Minority Business Review, Indiana Minority Business Magazine and Hirons present award at 2024 Champions of Diversity Awards.

Minority Business Review, Indiana Minority Business Magazine and Hirons awarded Deon Levingston, regional vice president of Radio One, with the inaugural Amos Brown Community Advocate Award at the 2024 Champions of Diversity Awards. The Champions of Diversity Awards recognize individuals and organizations that exhibit a high level of commitment to diversity. The sold-out event was the largest single-day diversity event of its kind in the country, with over 1,000 community and business leaders gathered in downtown Indianapolis on Friday, Jan. 12.

“The Amos Brown Community Advocate Award is a wonderful recognition for my brother and yet another way his presence will continue to be felt,” said Oveda Brown, sister of the late Amos Brown. “Amos impacted the lives of so many people, and I’m happy his legacy will live on through this award.”

“I’m so grateful to Minority Business Review and Indiana Minority Business Magazine for recognizing me alongside several outstanding community leaders who are putting in the work to provide opportunities for all,” said Levingston. “Receiving this inaugural award is an incredible honor.”

Levingston has served as an advertising, broadcast radio and television executive for more than two decades, managing some of the most successful urban radio stations in America. He played an instrumental role in reviving several underperforming radio and television stations in media markets ranging from one to 135. Levingston has also served in key leadership roles for Emmis New York and YMF Media. Under his leadership in New York, WBLS became the No. 1-ranked radio station for the first time in over two decades.

In his current capacity as a leader in Indianapolis and Detroit, Levingston ushered his stations to get more involved in the community through impactful engagement and service. His leadership was evident throughout the Urban One acquisition of Emmis Communications’ Indianapolis radio cluster and the impact it had on the Black-owned media market in Central Indiana. Levingston’s visionary approach has led to Radio One Indy and Detroit being two of the most successful markets in Urban One’s portfolio.

“The 17th annual Champions of Diversity Awards marked a significant milestone, showcasing a remarkable surge in growth. This amplification underscores the importance of shedding light on champions dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion, emphasizing that their impact is increasingly indispensable in today’s evolving landscape,” said Robert Shegog, president and CEO of Recorder Media Group.

“As societal dynamics shift, the awards serve as a powerful testament to the enduring relevance and urgent need for recognizing and celebrating those who tirelessly advocate for a more inclusive and equitable society.”

The inaugural award is named after local radio host, columnist and activist, Amos Brown. Brown wrote the “Just Tellin’ It” column in The Indianapolis Recorder and hosted “Afternoons with Amos” on WTLC. In 2007, Brown was inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame and is a two-time winner of the Indiana Broadcasters Association’s Spectrum Award. Active in Indianapolis civic affairs, Brown was a board member of the Indianapolis Urban League, United Way of Central Indiana and Indiana Black Expo.

“I had the great pleasure of working closely with Amos in 2010 on the Indianapolis census Complete Count Committee,” said Deana Haworth, chief executive officer of Hirons. “The friendship we built led me to a much deeper appreciation of the real deficiency shared by our closely aligned industries: a workforce that, in racial and ethnic terms, did not reflect the population of the surrounding community.”

Following his passing in 2015, The Indianapolis Recorder, Radio One, the Brown family and Hirons established an internship program honoring his legacy. The program encourages students of color to seek careers in communications and supports minority recruitment efforts, both for the companies involved and throughout Central Indiana. Seven interns have completed the program since its inception in 2016. Taylor Morton, Ball State University ’17, was the inaugural intern.

Hirons offers the Amos Brown internship every summer. To be considered eligible, applicants must be a current junior, senior, master’s student or recent graduate in good academic standing, with priority given to minority students. Interns are selected by a panel of judges, including Oveda Brown, sister of Amos Brown; Deon Levingston, regional vice president of Radio One; Robert Shegog, president and chief executive officer of Recorder Media Group; and Sheila Smiley, senior vice president of media and digital of Hirons. Once finished with the program, interns act as ambassadors for the program and serve as mentors to future Amos Brown interns.

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