Dustin Block, audience and development Lead for Graham Media Group, has been named an Innovator of the Year by Local Media Association for leading content strategies and original, digital content production for nonlinear platforms across the group, as well as driving new content and revenue opportunities.

Each year, the Local Media News Innovator of the Year award recognizes local media executives who pioneer new concepts, experiment in new and creative ways, and deliver impactful results for their companies.

Block brings an innovative mindset and energetic commitment to engage Graham Media’s digital and broadcast audiences more deeply, enhance local journalism, and create new and sustainable revenue. 

Block is able to recognize opportunities in other areas of media, from newspaper subscriptions and membership to the gaming industry, and imagine ways to apply those insights to the specifics of broadcasting and digital. He’s been a leader at Graham in developing its innovative approach to applying membership and loyalty strategies to broadcast digital.

Block has that unique ability to work equally effectively with content and technology teams, finding ways to leverage technology in ways that have grown both audience and new revenue opportunities. 

He has developed digital dashboards for Graham’s membership initiative that make success measurable, enable project team members to track the effectiveness of their strategies, and demonstrate the long-term business value of loyalty. He and Graham were early adopters among broadcasters of Hearken’s audience engagement tools and, more importantly, the powerful principles behind deeper audience engagement. He’s now working on several innovative projects to apply gaming principles to further enhance those strategies. 

Block is often on the leading edge of innovation for local media organizations while leading teams inside of one of the most innovative companies in the industry. His leadership and creative input is valued by other broadcasters and companies across media and platforms. Block has the ability to absorb great ideas from across all corners of local media and turn them into action plans that are effective and impact driven. His contributions to the local media landscape push everyone forward.

“I’ve had the chance to work with Dustin on several innovation projects and have been consistently impressed with his thoughtfulness, his creativity, and his ability to combine technology with content innovation to create better journalism and sustainable business models,” said Frank Mungeam, LMA chief innovation officer. “Dustin is on the short list of people who ask me innovation questions that no one has ever asked me before! He is a worthy winner of LMA’s award for News Innovator of the Year.”

“I’m truly honored. LMA is a consistent source of inspiration and guidance as we work to secure the future of local journalism at Graham Media Group,” Block said. “Any work I’ve done is built on the foundation laid by Catherine Badalamente, Mike Katona, Michael Newman, Jon Beard and GMG’s entire digital team. If we have a secret, it’s trusting our audiences as partners in innovation. The more we invite them, the more we learn and the better we can serve their needs.”  

This award is sponsored by ppi.