Susan Fleischmann, second from left, with staff at Cambridge Community Television from before her retirement as executive director this year. (Photo: CCTV)

Susan Fleischmann, former executive director of Cambridge Community Television, has been selected to get its 2021 Sakey Award for “outstanding contributions to development of access to the media in Cambridge” at CCTV’s annual meeting April 21.

Fleischmann is a “pioneer in public access television,” the organization said Monday. She worked as a photographer and videographer from 1976 to 1988, winning awards for her documentation of social action movements, including the women’s movement. Her photographs appeared regularly in Gay Community News, Off Our Backs and Equal Times. She began her media arts activism when cable franchise hearings were held in Boston in 1981 and joined Cambridge Community Television as access manager upon its opening in 1988; in 1993, she was made executive director. She retired early this year.

During her 33 years as a leader she diversified CCTV’s funding base, expanding the access of the public to diverse media and technologies and inspired multiple generations of Cambridge media makers, the organization said in a press release. Under her management, the Alliance for Community Media’s Hometown Video Festival consistently awarded the organization for “Overall Excellence in Public Access Programming,” most recently in 2019.

The Sakey Award is named for Joseph Sakey (1925-2004), the director of Cambridge Public Libraries who spearheaded the initial cable licensing in Cambridge in the early 1980s – which led to the establishment of Cambridge Community Television.

Other awards to be presented April 21 include the Kristina Kehrer Producer of the Year award, Trainers of the Year, Organizations of the Year, Volunteers of the Year and the David Avellone Award for Most Technical Improvement.

This post took significant amounts of material from a press release.

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