Board of Directors
General Manager of KPBS
Director since 2012. Tom Karlo has been KPBS’ general manager since February 2009, but his career at KPBS began in 1973 as a part time assistant while studying television and film at San Diego State University. He won three local Emmys prior to his transition into management. Tom is the 5th general manager in KPBS’ history. Prior to becoming general manager, he served as associate general manager for more than a decade.
Tom’s vision for KPBS is to be the most trusted source of serious journalism in San Diego. In 2009, Tom merged the TV, radio, and digital departments into one content producing center, focused on journalism. Under his leadership, the station created KPBS Evening Edition on TV, shifted KPBS’ online content to focus on news, and expanded the radio schedule to feature news and information 24 hours a day.
The results have been impressive, with audience and fundraising growth over the last 7 years. KPBS has also won numerous prestigious awards under Tom’s leadership. Most notably, the station won the 2015 USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism for the station’s coverage of the scandal surrounding San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. This was the second time in five years the station was honored by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Tom is very community driven in his role as general manager. He spends much of his time representing KPBS in the community and deepening relationships with new and current donors and corporate partners. In August 2016, Tom was honored by PBS as the Development Professional of the Year.
Outside of KPBS, Tom serves as a board member of the following organizations: California Public Television (CPT) - Board of Directors, Vice Chair; Sharp Health Care - Board of Directors; Sharp Grossmont Hospital - Board of Directors. He is also a member of the San Diego Downtown Rotary.
Mr. Karlo is Chair of the PBS Station Services Committee and of the Member Services Access Working Group. He also serves on the PBS Executive and Nominating and Corporate Governance committees and the Working Group on Unserved Areas. He previously served on the Strategic Planning Advisory Group and National Policy Advisory Committee.