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Kerger Named President of PBS

Jan 23, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Paula Kerger, a top executive at New York’s Educational Broadcasting Corp., will become the Public Broadcasting Service’s sixth president and CEO on March 13, PBS’s board of directors announced Monday.

Ms. Kerger will replace Pat Mitchell, who announced last February she would not seek a third term as PBS president.

An 11-member committee voted unanimously to recommend Ms. Kerger to the full board after a nationwide search for Ms. Mitchell’s replacement, and the board affirmed that decision in a special meeting last Sunday in Dallas.

Ms. Kerger will direct the operations of the nation’s largest public broadcasting service, which consists of 348 member stations reaching more than 99 percent of U.S. television households.

In an interview with TelevisionWeek, Ms. Kerger said revenue will be her top priority coming into the new job. “It’s the biggest issue for public broadcasting,” she said.

Ms. Kerger is no stranger to PBS’s funding challenges. She is a founding trustee of the PBS Foundation and former chairman of the PBS Development Advisory Committee. She is also vice chairman of American Public Television and vice chairman of the Association of Public Broadcasting Stations of New York.

Since 2004, Ms. Kerger has been executive VP and chief operating officer of EBC, the licensee of public stations Thirteen/WNET-TV and WLIW-TV, both in New York. 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.

Ms. Kerger joined EBC in 1993 as VP and director of development and government affairs for Thirteen/WNET-TV. Under her stewardship, the station’s Campaign for Thirteen raised $79 million, the largest endowment campaign ever undertaken by a public television station.

She was promoted to VP and station manager of Thirteen/WNET-TV in 2002. In this role, Ms. Kerger directed the launch of four digital channels: ThirteenHD, Kids Thirteen, World and Create. The latter, launched in January 2006 through a partnership with WGBH-TV in Boston and American Public Television, is public television’s first 24-hour lifestyle channel.

Before joining EBC, 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 City, and as program development officer for the U.S. Committee for UNICEF.