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PBS DIVERSITY TASK FORCE LEADERSHIP PROGRAM ANNOUNCES FIRST PARTICIPANTS


The Annual Year-Long Program Will Provide Professional Development Opportunities for Five Public Television Leaders from Across the Nation


ARLINGTON, VA, June 12, 2007 - Building on its long-term commitment to diversity, PBS today announced the participants of the 2007-2008 PBS Diversity Task Force Leadership Development Program - the first to be selected for this annual professional development initiative designed to cultivate a diverse new generation of system leaders. The five executives, who were selected from more than 60 applicants, will take part in a year of activities to provide management development opportunities to highly skilled individuals in public broadcasting.

The annual Leadership Development Program was created by the PBS Board of Directors Diversity Task Force. In June 2005 the Board adopted a “Resolution Promoting the Cultivation of Excellence and Diversity in Leadership with the Public Broadcasting System.” The Leadership Development Program grew out of the resolution. While a preliminary version of the program was initiated last year, this is the first official class of the fully developed project. A call for 2008-2009 candidates will be distributed next March.

“Diversity has always been an important priority for both PBS and the entire public broadcasting system,” said Paula Kerger, PBS President and CEO. “As America becomes increasingly diverse, we want to do everything we can to attract and develop the best talent our country has to offer, so we can be even more effective in serving the public.”

“Increasing diversity at all levels of leadership in public broadcasting is a key element to our future success,” said Jennifer Lawson, Task Force Co-chair and General Manager, WHUT-TV/Washington, DC. “This program is an important step in putting our commitment into action in a systematic way.”

“We were very impressed by the pool of candidates we had to choose from for this first flight of participants — it was very difficult to select only five” said Task Force Co-chair and President and General Manager of WMHT/Troy, Deborah Onslow. “Public broadcasting is home to many outstanding professionals. Investing in their talents is a powerful way to strengthen our system.”

The 2007-2008 class includes:

• Becky Chinn, Director of Membership, Oregon Public Broadcasting
• Karen Hunte, Executive Director of Program Development and Production, KCET/Los Angeles
• Patrick Lopez, Senior Vice President, Finance and Business Administration, KLRN/San Antonio
• James Muhammad, Director of Radio Services, WVPB/Charleston, West Virginia
• Meg Sakellarides, Chief Financial Officer, CPTV/Hartford, Connecticut

Beginning in July, the participants will take part in a number of activities that will build their management and leadership skills. The official “kick-off” will be the five-day NAB Management Development Seminar for Television Executives at Northwestern University (July 23-27, 2007).

The NAB Seminar will provide an overview of topics needed to lead a media organization and will enable program participants to interact with media executives from different industry segments. Other sessions will be planned around such national PBS events as the annual Development Conference in October and PBS Showcase in May 2008.

Participants were selected by the members of the PBS Diversity Task Force, which in addition to Ms. Lawson and Ms. Onslow includes Jon Abbott, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, WGBH; José Fajardo, President and Chief Executive Officer, WMFE-TV/FM; and Eugene Williams, General Manager, KTWU-TV. PBS Board Chair Mary Bitterman and Ms. Kerger served in a non-voting, ex officio capacity.

In order to qualify for consideration, each candidate was required to have at least five years of experience related to public broadcasting, supervisory experience, demonstrated leadership ability and a long-term commitment to public broadcasting. The program was open to managers at public television stations as well as other public broadcating-related organizations.

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CONTACT:
Jennifer Daddura, 703-739-5223, jedaddura@pbs.org

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