President & CEO
Paula A. Kerger is president and chief executive officer of PBS, the nation’s largest non-commercial media organization representing more than 330 member stations throughout the country. She is the longest-serving president and CEO in PBS history.
Over 15 years, Kerger has led the transformation of PBS from a broadcaster to a multiplatform digital media organization which delivers on public television’s essential mission of education, inspiration and service to the American public. Each year, 80% of U.S. television households watch PBS, and each month, Americans view nearly 375 million videos on PBS’s digital platforms. Programs on PBS are consistently recognized with the industry's most prestigious honors, including Peabody, Emmy and Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University awards.
Under Kerger’s leadership, PBS has deepened its impact, from providing universal access to early learning resources through the PBS KIDS broadcast and streaming channels, to empowering more than 3 million educators each month with digital resources through PBS LearningMedia. Kerger also serves as president of the PBS Foundation, which provides a significant source of revenue for projects that benefit the entire public television system.
Kerger is a frequent speaker on issues around media, culture, education and technology. She has been a featured speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Chautauqua Institution, Detroit Economic Club, CODE Conference, SXSW, BANFF Media Conference and the Milken Institute Global Conference, among other high-profile events.
Kerger has been honored with the Giants of Broadcasting Award; the Advancing American Democracy Award from the Benjamin Harris Presidential Site; the Woman of Achievement Award from Women in Development, New York; the National Education Association Friend of Education Award; Promax/BDA, B&C and Multichannel News Brand Builder Award; and the Realscreen Hall of Fame Award. Since 2010, she has been regularly included in the Hollywood Reporter’s “Women in Entertainment Power 100,” and she is regularly featured in Washingtonian Magazine’s “Most Powerful Women in Washington.”
Prior to joining PBS, Kerger served for more than a decade at the Educational Broadcasting Corporation (EBC), the parent company of Thirteen/WNET and WLIW21 New York, where her ultimate position was executive vice president and chief operating officer. She also held roles at the Metropolitan Opera, International House and U.S. Committee for UNICEF.
Kerger received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Baltimore, where she serves on the Merrick School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council. She has received honorary doctorates from Washington University in St. Louis, Grand Valley State University, Allegheny College, Northeastern University, and she received the Chancellor’s Medallion from University of North Carolina Asheville. She currently serves as a DC Fellow at the Darden School, University of Virginia.
She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Women’s Forum. She serves as director of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and is the former chair of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.