PBS Establishes Regionally-Based Senior Programming Team
Gustavo Sagastume and Jacoba Atlas Hired in Miami and Los Angeles
NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 10, 2000 - Public television veteran Gustavo Sagastume, currently general manager of WLRN/Miami, and Jacoba "Coby" Atlas, a vice president and supervising producer of CNN Productions, have been named vice president, programming, of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), announced PBS President and CEO Pat Mitchell today, at the opening session of the PBS Annual Meeting in Nashville.
The two new vice presidents join John F. Wilson, PBS's senior vice president of programming, on the programming executive team. Mr. Sagastume, who stepped down from his seat on the PBS board of directors to begin his new position last week, is based in Miami, serving the southern region; Ms. Atlas, a Los Angeles resident, joins PBS in late July as the west coast representative; and Mr. Wilson remains at PBS headquarters in Alexandria, Va., as head of the PBS programming services staff. A fourth midwest-based member of the team has yet to be appointed. All the members of the programming team report to Ms. Mitchell.
The reorganization is designed to ensure that regionally-based programming officials will provide easier access to the programming pipeline for PBS member stations and independent producers. The restructuring also facilitates more widely-dispersed content development and local availability of PBS resources. While the programming executives are regionally based, their mandate is not limited to proposals from their respective areas or any specific genre.
"Content is at the core of everything we do, and one of my key priorities is to ensure that PBS remains a top choice for both viewers and the creative community," said Ms. Mitchell. "These exceptionally talented, accomplished and knowledgeable executives will play a critical role in helping PBS compete successfully for the best producing talent and create the best programs."
Mr. Sagastume, who has 20 years of public television experience, joined WLRN/Miami in 1996, South Florida's largest public media conglomerate, comprised of a television and radio station, two local cable channels and 20 ITFS interactive educational services channels. During Mr. Sagastume's four-year tenure, WLRN Television more than doubled the size of its audience, making it one of the fastest growing PBS stations in the country. Before coming to WLRN, he served at WEDU/Tampa for four years, first as vice president of operations and, later, as senior vice president of national programming. He is also the founding chief executive officer of WEDU's wholly owned, for-profit subsidiary TELEWAVE, a production, marketing and distribution company. Prior to that post, Mr. Sagastume worked in a variety of production and programming positions at WFYI/Indianapolis and WGBH/Boston. In 1988, he was awarded the National Fulbright Journalism Award for his investigative and documentary work in Latin America. Mr. Sagastume was born in Guatemala, raised in New England and graduated from Harvard University in 1979.
Ms. Atlas is currently supervising the production of a six-hour CNN series on the ecological and economic future of the world, along with several election 2000 specials. She also just completed Soldiers of Peace: A Children's Crusade, a profile of the Colombian peace movement spearheaded by children. During her tenure at Turner Broadcasting, Ms. Atlas was supervising producer on a number of high-profile documentaries, including the Emmy and a Peabody Award-winning Survivors of the Holocaust, with Steven Spielberg as executive producer; The Coming Plague, an exploration of emerging diseases; and the Emmy-nominated Dying to Tell the Story, a profile of international war correspondents. She also assisted in launching NewsStand, CNN's news magazine series, and served as supervising executive producer of CNN-Entertainment Weekly. Ms. Atlas is a former partner in VU Productions, the non-fiction arm of Gary David Goldberg's UBU Productions, which she co-founded in 1990 with Ms. Mitchell. Among her VU Productions credits is the award-winning documentary series A Century of Women. Prior to that post, she was the senior producer for NBC News's Today show. Ms. Atlas, who published her first novel, Palace of Light (Dutton) in 1988, studied history at UC Berkeley and earned an advanced degree in film from UCLA.
Mr. Wilson continues to supervise the PBS programming services staff in Alexandria, including content management, scheduling, syndication services and program packaging. Mr. Wilson joined PBS in 1994 as director of program scheduling and planning. He rose rapidly through the programming ranks and was named senior vice president of programming services in 1999. During his tenure, PBS programs have earned more prestigious awards for children's and primetime nonfiction programming than any commercial broadcast or cable network. From 1982-1994, Mr. Wilson worked at PBS member station KAET/Phoenix, where he held a variety of positions including programming director.
PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 34 public television stations. A trusted community resource, PBS uses the power of noncommercial television, the Internet and other media to enrich the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services that inform, inspire and delight. Available to 99 percent of American homes with televisions and to an increasing number of digital multimedia households, PBS serves nearly 100 million people each week. More information about PBS is available at PBS.org.
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