Government Programming Awards

The Government Programming Awards (GPAs) are annual awards that recognize excellence in broadcast, cable, multimedia and electronic programming produced by local government agencies. Categories cover a variety of programming including, among others, community events, documentary, public affairs and public service, interview/talk show, performing arts, sports, election coverage and children’ s issues. Celebrating over 30 years of programming excellence, the GPA’s celebrate the achievements of programmers across the nation.

GPA Entry Site

The 2021 GPA Call for Entries period is open! Entries due April 30th. Download the GPA Call for Entries.
New this year: NATOA has launched a GPA Entry Fee Scholarship. Submissions due by April 16th. See the rules for eligibility and entry form here.

2021 GPA Important Dates
  • April 16, 2021: GPA Entry Fee Scholarship submissions due
  • April 30, 2021:  All entries must be submitted online
  • April 30, 2021: All entry fees must be paid online or received at NATOA
  • June 1 – July 6, 2021: Judging Period
  • August 3, 2021: Finalists Notified
  • September 23, 2021: Winners Announced at Virtual Awards Ceremony

Program must have been originally produced between April 17, 2020 and April 29, 2021.

New and Notable in 2021

  •  NATOA is offering a GPA Entry Fee Scholarship for entities whose budgets were negatively impacted during the past year. Submissions due by April 16th.  Click here for eligibilty and application.
  •  Awards and Certificates will be shipped to winners following the Virtual Awards Ceremony.
  •  Entries must be submitted electronically and include a URL to a YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, or your channel’s On-Demand video only.
  • New Category - Category #17 - Animal Services
    A feature, story, segment, PSA, program, or series that focuses on animal services, programs, support, or adoption programs.
  •  New Category - Category #25 - Public Health (COVID) - Short Form
    In-depth treatment of COVID related issues focused on subjects of concern to a community (i.e., testing, vaccines). The full program length must run less than 10 minutes to be eligible for this category.
  •  New Category - Category #26 - Public Health (COVID) - Long Form
    In-depth treatment of COVID related issues focused on subjects of concern to a community (i.e., testing, vaccines). The full program length must run more than 10 minutes to be eligible for this category.
  •  New Category - Category #45 Best COVID-19 Update/Virtual Production 
    This new category is designed to recognize the ingenuity of media and production staff’s ability to produce a quality show or broadcast meeting to inform and communicate to their community on the status and subject of local pandemic issues with the use of virtual connections for social distancing purposes.  
    A production of a virtual COVID-19 Update news conference, COVID-19 community meeting or non-meeting production (not including city council and regular public meetings. See Cat #1). 
    Requirements: Must include a Zoom/Webex style meeting with limited editing, may include use of external resources and videos, must be at least 60% virtual. Any Pre- or Post-produced segments must not exceed 40% of the total program. Entry should not exceed 10 minutes in length.
  • New Categories - Categories #61 – 63  - Public Service Announcement (COVID)
    Single spot (60 seconds maximum) on COVID related issues focused on subjects of concern to a community (i.e., mask mandates, social distancing, gathering capacity limits).    
  • New Category - Category #65 - Public Service Announcement Campaign (COVID)
    A minimum of three spots (not to exceed two minutes each in length) on COVID related issues focused on subjects of concern to a community (i.e., mask mandates, social distancing, gathering capacity limits).

When Are The GPAs Held?

The GPAs are an Annual Awards Program that is commenced in the Spring each year, with judging over the summer months, and the award winners being celebrated at an awards ceremony in conjunction with the NATOA Annual Conference.

Where Do I Get the “Call For Entries Brochure” for the Awards Program?

The 2021 GPA Call for Entries can be downloaded HERE.  Be sure to review the brochure carfeully for entry rules and requirements prior to submitting your entries.

How Do I Submit An Entry?

You will simply need to create a profile and submit your entry. Payment for entries must be received by April 30, 2021.

When Will I Be Notified That I’ve Won?

Finalists will be notified in August and judges feedback and scores will be available to view.

How can I purchase additional trophies if I've won?

Duplicate awards can be ordered directly from our awards vendor. Visit the L&K Trophy awards page for details.

What Do I Need to Know to Participate? 

Budget Worksheet (pdf)

All entries must:

  • Be submitted by a local government, such as a city, town, township, village, or county; or be submitted by a non-profit organization whose scope of programming includes government access, such as an access corporation, community media center, foundation or other entity serving local government interests. Each award is granted only to the jurisdiction or organization, not to individual contributors.
  • Be produced in-house, that is using your facility's equipment, staff, interns, volunteers, freelancers or contract personnel. The only exception is acquired documentary file/news footage, opens, special graphics or equipment rental that your facility out-sourced for added enhancements.
  • Identify your annual operating budget for video programming on the entry form. Annual Operating Budget is defined as the budget for video production personnel (include benefits in salary calculation), supplies and services (i.e. use of outside production facilities, equipment rentals, talent fees, etc.). Any outside funding (grants/underwriting) should be included in the operating budget if those funds were used in program production. Do not count budgets for franchise enforcement regulated activities, capital budgets (equipment) or building leases/rentals. An example of operating budget calculations can be found at
  • Ensure your entry is submitted under the correct budget guidelines.
  • Include programs, stories and segments originally produced between April 5, 2019 and March 26, 2020.
  • All entries must be submitted online. A separate online entry form must be submitted for each individual entry. On the entry form, include a link to an online video of your entry (YouTube or Vimeo links only).
  • No DVD entries will be accepted.
  • The name of the jurisdiction, governmental entity or organization and program title must be consistent with the information provided on the official entry form and will be used on any awards.
  • Direct any questions about the NATOA Government Programming Awards to Jennifer Harman (703) 519-8035 Ext. 201,

All entrants must authorize the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) the non-exclusive right to use, reproduce, display and distribute in whole or in part video content selected from the jurisdiction’s video entry in the 2021 Government Programming Awards in any manner to facilitate the promotion of NATOA, the Government Programming Awards and the importance of local programming nationally. The entity submitting the entry must further authorize NATOA the non-exclusive right to compile the video content in whole or in part with other video content for promotional and informational purposes. The entity submitting the entry understands and acknowledges that the video content released may be broadcast, cablecast, video streamed or otherwise publicly distributed. The entity submitting the entry warrants that they are authorized on behalf of the jurisdiction to enter into this release and to grant the rights to the video content to NATOA. Any entrant warrants that to the best of their knowledge that this release conforms to all applicable laws and government rules and regulations, and that the released content does not contain any matter which in any way infringes or violates any copyrights, trade secrets, patents or similar intellectual property rights of any person or entity. By signing or submitting the entry via the on-line process, all entrants are deemed to have granted such release.

The fees for NATOA members are as follows:

  • Categories 1-70 $65 per entry
  • Categories 71-74 $50 per entry
  • Categories 75-78 $75 per entry

The fees for non-NATOA members are as follows:

  • Categories 1-70 $110 per entry
  • Categories 71-74 $95 per entry
  • Categories 75-78 $125 per entry

There is no limit on the number of entries you may submit. However, a program may be entered in no more than three categories if it fits each category description (this limitation does not include programming entered in the Overall or Craft categories). Programs entered in the wrong category or technically unviewable will be disqualified at the discretion of the GPA Committee Chair, however every effort will be made to accommodate each entry. No refunds. To join NATOA and pay the member entry fees, please visit us on-line at

Before mailing your submission, review this checklist to ensure your entry is complete:

  • Entry must be made online. An official entry form must be completed for each entry and submitted online with a link to an online video of your entry.
  • Pay online or mail payments to:
    PO Box 45792
    Baltimore, MD 21297-5792
  • A purchase order does not constitute payment. Entrants whose payments are late will not have their entries sent to the judging site and will be disqualified.
  • Follow rules and guidelines that pertain to the section that the entry is being made in. Failure to comply may result in disqualification.
  • Not sure which category to enter your video in? Watch previous winners at for help identifying which categories are the best fit for your programming.
  • Not sure how to determine your annual operating budget? Annual operating budget is defined as the budget for video production personnel, supplies and services including equipment rental, freelance staff, on-air talent, external production support, and grants. Do not include franchise/ regulatory costs, capital budgets for one-time equipment costs, or building lease/ rental. A budget worksheet can be found here

Payment must be received by the entry deadline, April 30, 2021. The online entry system will allow you to pay by credit card or print an invoice if paying by check. If paying by credit card, the payment must be made by April 30, 2021. If paying by check, the check must be mailed by the deadline. A purchase order does not constitute payment. Entrants whose payments are not received by April 30, 2021, will not have their entries judged and will be disqualified.

Please make all checks payable to NATOA and mail them to:

PO Box 45792
Baltimore, MD 21297-5792

A panel of at least three judges will judge all qualified entries. The recommended judging panel consists of at least one NATOA member. Judging will occur from June 1 - July 6, 2021.

Entries will be rated upon criteria that consider the diversity of local government production facilities by recognizing the value of effectiveness and creativity. Only production elements that are specific to the category as defined in the Call for Entries are judged for that entry.

Award of Excellence and Award of Distinction winners will be recognized at NATOA’s Virtual Government Programming Awards Banquet on September 23, 2021. Fourth and fifth place winners will receive an Award of Honor certificate. There is no charge for the initial award won. Duplicate copies of trophies may be purchased.

All trophies will be sent to winners following the GPA Banquet