This week on Utah NOW the head of PBS Paula Kerger will be with us. Public broadcasting like many American institutions these days is refining its identity in a changing media environment and a struggling economy. Here's how the New York Times put it not so long ago, 'Is PBS still necessary?'
Paula Kerger joined Public Broadcasting Service in March 2006 as its sixth President and Chief Executive Officer. Ms. Kerger came to PBS from Educational Broadcasting Corporation (EBC), the parent company of Thirteen/WNET and WLIW New York, where since 2004 she served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and a member of the Office of the President, a position carrying both internal and external responsibilities.
In that role, Ms. Kerger managed the overall operations of the corporation, working closely with the President and Chairman on Board issues. In 2002, Ms. Kerger was promoted to Vice President and Station Manager of Thirteen/WNET. While in this position, Ms. Kerger directed the launch of four local 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. 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. Before joining EBC, Ms. Kerger was 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. In 2000, she received the Frances P. Schuman Award from the National Friends of Public Broadcasting. In 2001, she was named PBS Development Professional of the Year. Ms. Kerger was named in 2005 to the Women's Forum, an organization of 300 leading women in the professions, arts and business life of New York. In 2006 she was ranked one of the "Women in Entertainment Power 100" in the annual Hollywood Reporter survey of the industry's top female executives. Ms. Kerger serves on the PBS Executive, Nominating and Corporate Governance and Finance committees, the Diversity Task Force and on the PBS Foundation Board.
I think that PBS is an invaluable service to the country as a whole. So much else of what is available media-wise for people to consume really only panders to their existing point of view. It's like an echo-chamber, left-wing MSNBC or right-wing talk radio, and are we really better off for it?
I argue no. Even beyond the politically-evenhanded content that PBS provides, free of charge (at least when compared to Cable) the rest of PBS's lineup of content is awesome. I even have cable and I still, consistently, find myself so absolutely disgusted at much of the crap there is to watch on TV nowadays but also those damned ads! I swear, I spend more time being pandered to on commercial television than actually being entertained.
So for me PBS is a no-brainer. We all pay into it, some more than others albeit, but we also all benefit from it- and in my case, tremendously.
Posted by N L, Saturday November 15th, 2008 @ 12:55 am
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