Public Television Leader Becomes Sixth PBS President
ALEXANDRIA, VA, January 23, 2006 - Paula A. Kerger, a top executive at New York's Educational Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of Thirteen/WNET and WLIW New York - two of the nation's largest public television stations - will become the Public Broadcasting Service's sixth president and chief executive officer on March 13, the PBS Board of Directors announced today. Ms. Kerger will direct the operations of the nation's largest public broadcasting service, comprised of 348 member stations that reach more than 99 percent of U.S. television households. She will succeed Pat Mitchell, who announced her plan to step down as PBS' president and CEO in February 2005.
"I am honored and thrilled to become the next president and CEO of PBS," Ms. Kerger said. "I firmly believe that public television's greatest days lie ahead, and I am truly excited to be working with this wonderful organization and all the public television stations across America to realize the full promise of this medium. Now more than ever, Americans need a strong public television system. I am committed to doing all I can to ensure that they have it."
"Paula is an irrepressible champion of public television, proud of its mission and confident of its future," said Mary Bitterman, Chairman of the PBS Board of Directors. "Her demonstrated leadership, outstanding operational capabilities, and proven development skills will allow her to move into this very challenging role well prepared and well equipped to be the leader that PBS needs now and for the years ahead."
Since 2004, Ms. Kerger has been executive vice president and chief operating officer of EBC and a member of the office of the President, a position carrying both internal and external responsibilities. She manages the overall operations of the corporation, oversees the editorial content of the local station and educational outreach, and directs government affairs, development and communications as well as works closely with the President and Chairman on board issues.
Ms. Kerger joined EBC in 1993 as vice president and director of development and government affairs for Thirteen/WNET. Under her stewardship, the station's Campaign for Thirteen, completed in 1997, raised $79 million, the largest endowment campaign ever undertaken by a public television station.
In 2002, Ms. Kerger was promoted to vice president and station manager of Thirteen/WNET. In this role, Ms. Kerger oversaw local program acquisition, broadcast scheduling, communications, on-air promotion, and pledge production. In addition, she supervised individual giving, as well as Thirteen's volunteer program, viewer and member services, and government affairs. Ms. Kerger also directed the launch of four digital channels: ThirteenHD, Kids Thirteen, World and Create. The latter, launched in January 2006 through a partnership with WGBH/Boston and American Public Television, is public television's first 24-hour lifestyle channel.
Before joining EBC in 1993, Ms. Kerger was the director of principal gifts for the Metropolitan Opera. She also served as director of development and alumni affairs for International House in New York, and as program development officer for the U.S. Committee for UNICEF.
Ms. Kerger is vice chairman of American Public Television and vice chairman of the Association of Public Broadcasting Stations of New York. She is a founding trustee of the PBS Foundation and former chairman of the PBS Development Advisory Committee. She serves on the Eighth Congressional District Advisory Committee on Culture and the Arts and serves as a professional delegate of the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS), from which she received the 1997 Outstanding Grassroots Advocate Award. In 2000, she received the Frances P. Schuman Award from the National Friends of Public Broadcasting and in 2001 was named PBS Development Professional of the Year. In 2005, Ms. Kerger was named to the Women's Forum, an organization of 300 leading women in the professions, arts and business life of New York.
Upon Ms. Mitchell's announcement in February of 2005 that she would not seek a third term as PBS' president and CEO, Ms. Bitterman named an 11-member committee to conduct a nationwide search for her successor. The committee conducted stakeholder interviews across the country and retained the search firm Spencer Stuart. The committee voted unanimously to recommend Ms. Kerger to the full board, and the board affirmed that decision in a special January 22 meeting.
PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 348 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online pbskids.org, continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.