Board of Directors

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Tom Axtell

General Manager of Vegas PBS | Vice Chair, PBS Board

Tom Axtell has served as general manager of Vegas PBS since 1994.  In Las Vegas, he has reinvigorated local programming, integrated emerging technologies, developed new fee for service business models, and created community partnerships to expand the range of sustainable public media services offered locally.  His prior service includes public radio stations in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Fargo, and public television stations in Spokane and Milwaukee. He has experience working for nonprofit, college, and school district licensees as well as markets where the stations operated in sole-service, duopoly and multi-market situations.  He has left the industry a few times to work as a College Vice President for Advancement and State Senate Legislative Aide.  

Vegas PBS moved into its new Educational Technology Campus in 2009 following a successful $72 million capital campaign.  The building is the nation’s first LEED Gold television facility, and first post-Katrina, post 9-11, FCC Media Security and Reliability Commission (MSRC) compliant facility.  Vegas PBS operates a multi-cast television service; programs four additional cable and five EBS channels; manages a media library with over 500,000 online and 11,000 on the shelf titles; an emergency communications data-casting service for police, fire fighters, hospitals, and schools; and a statewide Described and Captioned Media Center.  An extensive Ready To Learn outreach program hosts over 1,200 workshops a year attended by over 190,000 people.  Vegas PBS produces 20 local TV series and specials annually, plus extensive web content.  Its Global Online Advanced Learning (GOAL) program offers 330 professional certifications and 5,000 personal improvement courses for high school students, teachers, medical professionals, workforce training programs, and returning veterans.  Over 119,000 students successfully completed courses last year.  The station routinely ranks in the top ten PBS stations in the Nielsen overnight metered market reports for sign on to sign off gross rating points. 

Tom is active in Las Vegas community affairs, serving on the boards of the Atomic Testing Museum, United Way of Southern Nevada, Nevada Development Authority, Green Chips, Utah Shakespeare Festival Board of Governors, and Las Vegas Rotary.  He has served on several industry boards including the Nevada Broadcasters Association, PBS, and NETA.  Tom has co-chaired pivotal task forces that led to significant industry changes including the K-12 Task Force, Task Force for More Effective Governance, Funding the Vision, Strategic Planning Advisory Group and the Interconnection Committee.  

Axtell graduated from Gonzaga University Law School, Spokane, Washington, and also holds a bachelor's degree in history from Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota.  He has been married for 38 years and has twin daughters.  Mr. Axtell is Chair of the Interconnection Committee PBS Spectrum Working Group.  He also serves on the PBS Executive, Finance, and Nominating and Corporate Governance committees. He previously was Chair of the PBS Strategic Planning Advisory Group and served on the Corporate Support Advisory Committee.