PBS Announces Results of Board Elections
General Directors Selected and Professional Directors Seated at October Meeting
Donald A. Baer, Tom Axtell and Molly Corbett Broad Elected Board Chair, Professional Vice-Chair and General Vice-Chair
ARLINGTON, VA, October 29, 2015 –Following the close of the first Board meeting of FY 2016, Paula Kerger, PBS President and Chief Executive Officer, announced the results of the recent PBS Board elections. Build-A-Bear Workshop Founder Maxine Clark and IW Group Founder, Chairman and Chief Connectivity Officer Bill Imada were elected as new General Directors. Rock Creek Group Founder & CEO Afsaneh Beschloss, Continental Consultant Group Principal Robert Sachs, and Texas Tribune Editor-in-Chief, CEO and co-founder Evan Smith were re-elected to serve second terms as General Directors. Board officers were also elected. Burson-Marsteller Worldwide Chair & CEO Donald A. Baer and American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad were re-elected as Board Chair and General Vice-Chair, respectively, and General Manager, Vegas PBS Tom Axtell was selected as the new Professional Vice Chair of the Board.
In addition, Mississippi Public Broadcasting Executive Director Ronnie Agnew, WUCF/Orlando General Manager Polly Anderson, KPBS/San Diego General Manager Tom Karlo, KCPT/Kansas City President & CEO Kliff Kuehl, South Carolina ETV President & CEO Linda O’Bryon, and WSKG/Binghamton General Manager Brian Sickora were seated at their first Board meeting since being elected as Professional Directors in August. Mr. Agnew, Ms. Anderson and Mr. Kuehl are first-time directors. Mr. Karlo, Ms. O’Bryon and Mr. Sickora are beginning their second terms.
“PBS is tremendously fortunate to have such a dedicated and talented group of professionals to guide our enterprise,” said Ms. Kerger. “As the PBS system builds on the outstanding success we’ve achieved collectively by promoting innovation, expanding community impact and making content of consequence available to all Americans, the PBS Board and its officers play a vital role in setting our course and working at both the local and national level to move public media forward. I am so grateful to each member of the Board for their expertise, leadership and commitment to our mission.”
The 27-person PBS Board includes both Professional Directors, who are station leaders, and General Directors, who serve as lay members of the Board, as well as the PBS President. The PBS Board of Directors is responsible for governing and setting policy for PBS. General and Professional Directors of the PBS Board are elected to three-year terms and serve without pay.
PBS member stations elect the Professional Directors. The General Directors are elected by the entire Board, as are the PBS President and the Board officers.
Ronnie Agnew (Newly Elected Professional Director)
Ronnie Agnew joined Mississippi Public Broadcasting in August 2011 as the agency’s executive director after a career in the newspaper industry spanning nearly three decades. At MPB, a state licensee, Mr. Agnew has oversight of radio and television programming and the agency’s legislative, education and digital initiatives.
During his time at MPB, Mr. Agnew has successfully overseen the launch of new shows that further the agency’s mission of delivering strong content across all platforms, focusing on issues affecting Mississippi, with an emphasis on early-childhood education, dropout prevent and healthcare. Before joining MPB, Mr. Agnew served as executive editor of The Clarion-Ledger, the state’s largest newspaper. Under his leadership, The Clarion-Ledger won dozens of awards for investigative reporting and was among the Gannett Co. Inc.’s most decorated newspapers nationally for coverage of civil rights issues.
From his long stint in newspapers, Mr. Agnew has brought a sense of urgency to MPB that has led to strong legislative support and an aggressive schedule of new initiatives, including more than 20 hours of local radio programming each week, several new television productions, and an expanded news department. MPB’s education department has broadened its reach as well, implementing Ready To Learn, American Graduate and Between the Lions curricula into school districts throughout Mississippi.
Mr. Agnew is also active in national journalism circles. He has judged the Pulitzer Prize four times, and is a former diversity chairman for the American Society of News Editors. Mr. Agnew also served six years on the board of directors of the Associated Press Media Editors. He is the recipient of four President’s Rings, which recognized the best editors in the Gannett Co. Inc. He is the recipient of the Silver Em Award, one of the highest recognitions for journalism excellence awarded by the University of Mississippi. He is also in Ole Miss’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
Mr. Agnew has been elected to leadership positions on several national public broadcasting boards. In addition to PBS, Mr. Agnew serves on the board of the Association of Public Television Stations and the executive committee of the National Educational Telecommunications Association, and is a member of the Organization of State Broadcasting Executives.
Mr. Agnew is passionate about helping student journalists and those interested in media careers. He served as an adjunct communications professor at Belhaven University in Jackson. He is advisory board chairman for the journalism program at Jackson State University. He is also on the journalism advisory boards for the University of Southern Mississippi and the Meek School of Journalism at Ole Miss. In addition to his commitment to journalism, Mr. Agnew serves on many community boards, including being the immediate past chairman of the Mississippi Council on Economic Education. He was named by blackmississippi.com as one of the most influential African Americans in Mississippi.
Mr. Agnew holds bachelor’s degrees in Radio/TV and English from the University of Mississippi. He is the father of three children, Christopher, a language arts teacher; Victoria, a mathematics teacher; and Rachel, a Phi Theta Kappa honor society member, and junior at Jackson State University.
Polly Anderson (Newly Elected Professional Director)
Polly Anderson is the General Manager of WUCF-TV, the sole-service PBS station serving the nation’s 18th market, Orlando, Florida. She has more than thirty years of business experience with tenure in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. She has served the public broadcasting industry in a variety of roles for over twenty years, including CEO positions at a joint licensee/small station and two university-licensed stations. Additionally, Ms. Anderson served on the APTS board for six years, three years as Vice-Chair and one year as Chair, and has also served as Vice-Chair and Chair of NETA. She is immediate past chair of the University Licensee Association (ULA) and represented the ULA to the Affinity Group Coalition (AGC), where she served for four years, first as Chair of the Communications Committee, and then as ULA representative. Additionally, Ms. Anderson serves on the PBS Interconnection Committee.
Ms. Anderson is well-versed in regulatory policy through her work with APTS and has been involved in numerous committees and task forces around the upcoming FCC Incentive Auction (spectrum). She also has a strong technical background, having led a station with two full power transmitters and 31 low power translators, and now leading a station that is part of a joint master control project. She understands the challenges of leading a small station, and of serving rural communities and diverse populations as well as leading a station in a major market.
Ms. Anderson began her public broadcasting career in 1996 at the University of Florida’s WUFT-TV/FM and went on to positions in Alabama, Texas and New Mexico, including CEO positions in both Texas and New Mexico. In February 2013 she began her tenure as GM at WUCF-TV, a station serving 3.7 million people in Central Florida. WUCF-TV is licensed to the University of Central Florida. The Orlando DMA was in danger of losing all PBS service after the community licensee sold the station. The University of Central Florida bought the license in late 2012 and immediately after the purchase, hired Ms. Anderson. She leads a station which is now considered by all metrics to be thriving. Staff have grown from 11 to 29 FTE; fundraising is up over 65% from year one; community engagement has increased dramatically and the technical capability and reliability have never been stronger.
Ms. Anderson is a Floridian whose home town is Dunedin. She received her BA in Business Administration/Marketing from the University of South Florida.
Tom Axtell (Newly Elected Professional Vice Chair)
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.
Mr. Axtell 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.
Mr. 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.
Donald A. Baer (Returning Board Chair)
Chairman of the Board since 2014 and Director since 2011. Don Baer is Worldwide Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the global strategic communications firm Burson-Marsteller, a WPP company. Mr. Baer has been a member of Burson-Marsteller’s senior leadership since 2008 and has led major client engagements in every sector and part of the world, especially for top technology, communications and media companies.
Mr. Baer’s career has spanned leading roles as a media and communications executive for a wide range of important business, government and non-profit organizations. He has had extensive strategic, creative and operational experience in corporate and media roles as well as in the U.S. Government.
From 1998 to 2007, Mr. Baer helped lead global media company Discovery Communications. As Senior Executive Vice President for Strategy and Development and an executive committee member, Mr. Baer was a principal deputy to CEO, leading worldwide new ventures and acquisitions; marketing, corporate communications, research and public policy, and digital media strategy and operations. He drove significant growth in Discovery’s online offerings, including acquisitions of digital businesses and the launch of its first mobile video services, and he oversaw the Discovery/New York Times Company joint venture in the Discovery Times Channel. As a producer, he supervised Discovery’s public affairs content, including the 2004 Emmy Award-winning series Decisions That Shook the World and a documentary series with Thomas Friedman of The New York Times. Mr. Baer led Discovery’s partnership with the American Film Institute to create the documentary festival Silverdocs.
From 1994-98, Mr. Baer was a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, as Assistant to the President and White House Director of Strategic Planning and Communications and, before, as Chief Speechwriter/Director of Speechwriting and Research. Mr. Baer played key roles in the Clinton Presidency, including the historic 1996 re-election, helping drive integrated communications strategy across domestic and foreign policy, and developing major Presidential speeches and policy initiatives.
From 1985-93, Mr. Baer was a journalist. For seven years, at U.S. News & World Report, he covered politics and the White House and, as an assistant managing editor, oversaw national and international coverage. He also worked at The American Lawyer, has written for publications including The New York Times and POLITICO and was a CBS News on-air analyst. Starting in 2000, he was a writer for the annual Kennedy Center Honors TV production, winning two Writers Guild of America awards.
In the 1980s, Mr. Baer was a media lawyer at New York’s Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler. Mr. Baer is Chair of the Board of Directors of PBS, the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Meredith Corporation. He also serves on the Boards of The Urban Institute, the News Literacy Project, Project Word, the PR Council, the Reuters Editorial Advisory Board and Fora.tv and on the Advisory Council of The First Year: POTUS 2017 Project at The University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Affairs. Mr. Baer served as a member of the Board of Visitors at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was inducted into the North Carolina Halls of Fame in Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations.
Mr. Baer received a B.A. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Phi Beta Kappa), a Master’s in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a J.D. from The University of Virginia School of Law. He and his wife, Nancy Bard, have two sons and live in Washington, D.C.
Afsaneh Beschloss (Returning General Director)
Director since 2012. Afsaneh M. Beschloss is Founder and CEO of Rock Creek, a global investment and advisory firm. Previously, she was Managing Director and Partner at the Carlyle Group. Prior to that, she was Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer of the World Bank, where she was responsible for the investment of the World Bank's assets, as well as external assets from the IMF, central banks and sovereign funds. She also was responsible for the World Bank's borrowings and ratings. Ms. Beschloss has advised central banks, finance ministries, sovereign funds, private financial institutions and regulatory agencies.
Ms. Beschloss founded the World Bank's Natural Gas Group, which invested in gas and power projects that aimed to replace coal in emerging markets. She led the World Bank's Energy Sector Management Group, where she was responsible for energy policy and investing in oil, gas, renewable energy and power projects that reduced carbon emissions. Additionally, she advised Eastern European governments on energy sector privatization. Ms. Beschloss also worked at Shell International Group Planning in London.
Prior to the World Bank, she was with J.P. Morgan in New York and London. She is currently a Director of the Institute for Advanced Study, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the American Red Cross, the Urban Institute, the World Resources Institute, where she is Chair of the Global Advisory Council and a member of the Smithsonian Institute Investment Committee. She has received the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award, was recognized as one of American Bankers Most Powerful Women in Banking and was a recipient of the 100 Women in Hedge Fund Leadership Award.
Ms. Beschloss holds an MPhil (Honors) in Economics from the University of Oxford, where she taught international trade and economic development. She is the co-author of The Economics of Natural Gas (Oxford) and author of numerous journal articles on energy policy.
Molly Corbett Broad (Returning General Vice-Chair)
General Vice Chair and director since 2014. Molly Corbett Broad is President of the American Council on Education. A leading spokesperson for American higher education, Molly Corbett Broad became the twelfth president of ACE in 2008. She is the first woman to lead the organization since its founding in 1918.
Ms. Broad came to ACE from the University of North Carolina (UNC), where she served as president from 1997-2006, leading UNC through a period of unprecedented enrollment growth. Due in large part to the success of the Focused Growth Initiative, minority enrollment at UNC grew at more than double the rate of the overall student body during her tenure. She also spearheaded the creation of a need-based financial aid program for in-state undergraduates and the creation of the College Foundation of North Carolina.
Ms. Broad held a number of administrative and executive positions at several universities prior to her tenure at UNC. At the California State University system, she served as senior vice chancellor for administration and finance from 1992–93, and as executive vice chancellor and chief operating officer from 1993 until her election as UNC president. Earlier in her career, Ms. Broad served as the chief executive officer for Arizona's three-campus university system (1985–92) and in a succession of administrative posts at Syracuse University (1971–85).
Ms. Broad has written and spoken widely on strategic planning for higher education, K–16 partnerships, information technology, globalization and biotechnology. She currently holds a seat on the TIAA-CREF Board of Overseers and the GED Testing Service, LLC. In addition, Ms. Broad also serves on the boards of the Forum for the Future of Higher Education, Business-Higher Education Forum, United Way USA, National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, and Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council. She is past chair of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, past chair of the Internet 2 board of trustees and past president of the International Council for Distance Education. She previously served on the PBS Board of Directors from 2007-2013, and was Vice Chair from 2011-2013.
She has served on the boards and executive committees of the Parsons Corporation; RuffaloCODY; Council on Competitiveness; National Association of University System Heads; and the Centenary Committee for Fudan University in Shanghai, China.
Ms. Broad earned a General Motors Scholarship to Syracuse University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a baccalaureate degree in economics from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She holds a master's degree in the field from The Ohio State University.
Maxine Clark (Newly Elected General Director)
Maxine Clark is one of the true innovators in the retail industry. During her career, her ability to spot emerging retail and merchandising trends and her insight into the desires of the American consumer have generated growth for retail leaders, including department store, discount and specialty stores. In 1997, she founded Build-A-Bear Workshop®, a teddy-bear themed retail-entertainment experience. Today there are more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide. Cumulative sales have exceeded $5 billion and over 140 million stuffed animals have been sold world-wide.
In June 2013, Ms. Clark stepped down from her Chief Executive Bear role to apply her entrepreneurial skills to her passion for improving K-12 public education and to invest in and mentor women and minority entrepreneurs. Ms. Clark credits her teachers as her foundation for success—classroom teachers and mentors alike. To honor them she gives back. Her next “act” is to make public education much more consumer friendly by creating more access for families and students to systems and supports to enrich each child’s learning experience. Just launched is her first product, Blueprint4SummerSTL, a free and easy-to-use mobile app designed to help ALL families navigate the best summer activities for their children. On the entrepreneurship side, investments include Goldie Blox, myEDmatch, Wondermento and St. Frank. Ms. Clark is also a Managing Partner of Prosper Women’s Capital, a St. Louis based fund created to invest in women owned businesses in the St. Louis area and a member of the Board of Advisors of Lewis & Clark Ventures, a St. Louis based private equity firm.
In 2008, Ms. Clark was named one of The 25 Most Influential People in Retailing by Chain Store Age; in 2006, she was inducted into the Junior Achievement National Business Hall of Fame. Ms. Clark was named one of the Wonder Women of Toys by Playthings magazine and Women in Toys, and was also one of the National Finalists in Retail for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2004. In 2005, the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies made Build-A-Bear Workshop Portfolio Company of the Year; it was named one of the International Council of Shopping Centers “Hottest Retailers of 2004” and the Retail Innovator of the Year for 2001 by The National Retail Federation. In 2015 Build-A-Bear Workshop was named to the FORTUNE Best Companies to Work For® list for the seventh year in a row.
In addition to her seat on the Build-A-Bear Workshop Board, Ms. Clark is a member of the Board of Directors of Footlocker, Inc. and Gymboree. Ms. Clark serves on the national Board of Trustees of Teach For America and the local St. Louis regional board, the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of Washington University in St. Louis, the Board of Directors of Beyond Housing and Parents As Teachers and the Nine Network of Public Media Board of Directors where she is the current Board Chair. She and her husband Bob Fox are founding donors of KIPP St. Louis and Ms. Clark is a member of the charter school advisory Board of Trustees. She is also a member of the Committee of 200. Ms. Clark is a graduate of the University of Georgia, and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Saint Louis University and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in Education from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. In 2006, she published her first book “The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart”.
Bill Imada (Newly Elected General Director)
Bill Imada is founder, chairman and chief collaboration officer of IW Group, a minority- owned and operated advertising, marketing and communications agency focusing on the growing multicultural markets. For more than 20 years, Mr. Imada has represented some of the top companies in the U.S., including American Airlines, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Godiva Chocolatier, McDonald’s, Nissan North America, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Southern California Edison, Toyota Motor Sales, Inc., Verizon Wireless, Walt Disney Imagineering, Warner Bros. Pictures, Walmart Stores and many others. His areas of expertise include advertising, branding, multicultural communications, marketing, crises management, and public relations.
Mr. Imada is active in the community and serves on more than seven boards and advisory councils. His board service includes the Advertising Educational Foundation, California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, Center for Asian American Media and the LAGRANT Foundation. Mr. Imada also co-founded the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) more than ten years ago and recently established the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship (ACE), an organization that is based in Washington, D.C. His efforts were recognized by The White House and he was invited to meet President Barack Obama with 12 other Asian/Pacific Islander American leaders. Mr. Imada was also recently appointed to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by President Obama.
Mr. Imada is an active blogger and writer. He is a regular blogger for Advertising Age and writes for a variety of publications including Racing Toward Diversity magazine.
Tom Karlo (Returning Professional Director)
Tom Karlo has been KPBS’ general manager since February 2009, but his career at KPBS began in 1973 as a part time assistant while attending San Diego State University. Mr. Karlo is only the 5th general manager in KPBS’ history. Prior to becoming general manager, he served as associate general manager for more than a decade.
Mr. Karlo’s vision for KPBS is to be the premiere source of news in San Diego. Under his leadership, the station created KPBS Evening Edition – seeing a tremendous opportunity for growth on television – shifted KPBS’ online content to focus on news, and expanded the radio schedule to feature news and information 24 hours a day.
Mr. Karlo’s vision for KPBS is steps closer to reality: 2014 Arbitron data show KPBS Radio as the number one station in morning drive and number two in afternoon drive. Additionally, KPBS received 56 journalism and media awards in 2014-2015, including the 2015 USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism for breaking coverage of the San Diego Mayor Bob Filner scandal (the second time the station has earned this achievement within 5 years).
Much of KPBS’ success is due in part to Mr. Karlo’s efforts representing KPBS in the community and deepening relationships with new and current donors and corporate partners.
Mr. Karlo has lived in San Diego for more than 42 years. He and his wife Julie have been married for 42 years. They have 3 grown children and 4 grandchildren.
Outside of KPBS and PBS, Mr. Karlo serves the following organizations:
- Vice Chair of the California Public Television - Board of Directors
- Pacific Mountain Network - Board of Directors
- Sharp Grossmont Hospital - Board of Directors
- Sharp Healthcare – Board of Directors
- San Diego Downtown Rotary - Member
Kliff Kuehl (Newly Elected Professional Director)
President and CEO of KCPT, Kansas City. Kliff Kuehl graduated with honors from the University of Texas. He worked as a film and video producer in his first career. Highlights include working with Lyle Lovett and directing and producing an independent film starring Academy Award-nominee John Hawkes.
Mr. Kuehl then worked as a production supervisor and operations manager before becoming President and CEO of KWBU-TV and KWBU-FM, the public broadcasting stations for central Texas. At KWBU, Mr. Kuehl helped with several initiatives including Inside Baylor Sports and the national production Christmas at Baylor, and helped start KWBU-FM, public radio for central Texas.
From December 2004 through March 2009, Mr. Kuehl served as the President and CEO of KNPB-TV, public television for northern Nevada. In that time, he helped the KNPB team wrap up a $6.25 million capital campaign, assisted in tripling the number of major donors, and secured a $1 million in-kind donation that added 6,500 square feet to the station’s Northern Nevada offices.
Mr. Kuehl joined KCPT in April 2009. During his tenure, KCPT has built a strong digital and social media team and added one of the first VP’s for Digital & Social Media. Also, he helped to secure a $3 million donation that created the news start up, The Hale Center for Journalism, and helped to acquire The Bridge AAA radio station.
Mr. Kuehl stays engaged on the national level with his work on the PBS Investors Network and with other AAA stations on the VuHaus project. In addition, he serves on the PMBA, APTS and Greater Public boards, and he has presented on panels at PBS and NETA meetings, as well as at SXSW Interactive.
Linda O’Bryon (Returning Professional Director)
SCETV’s President and CEO Linda O’Bryon oversees a statewide network of 19 TV and Radio stations and an education service reaching schools throughout the state. SCETV has studios and production facilities in Columbia and several regions around South Carolina. Ms. O’Bryon joined SCETV in 2010, and in that time the network has opened a new state-of-the art radio production facility, a television newsfeed studio and has launched several national programs including A Chef’s Life (PBS); 180 Days: Hartsville (PBS); Song Travels with Michael Feinstein (NPR); and The Education of Harvey Gantt (APT). During the past year, Ms. O’Bryon fostered and identified support for broader journalism efforts for the network.
Ms. O’Bryon is founding executive editor of Nightly Business Report, a mainstay on national public television for more than 30 years. Ms. O’Bryon spearheaded the creation of NBR while serving as the news director for WPBT/Miami. As General Manager of NBR Enterprises, she orchestrated international co-production partnerships, managed editorial and business operations and developed digital and educational initiatives associated with the series. She was principal co-anchor for the program for 12 years and frequently appeared on the program throughout her tenure with NBR.
Before joining SCETV, Ms. O’Bryon was Chief Content Officer for KQED in San Francisco where she oversaw Radio, TV, Interactive, Education Network, Technology and Engineering.
In 2009, Ms. O’Bryon received a national Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award in Business and Financial Reporting from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She has received numerous national journalism awards over the course of her career. Currently she serves on the PBS Board as well as the Boards of APT and NETA. For PBS, she is vice chair of the Stations Services Committee, and she serves on several other committees including National Policy Advisory, Strategic Planning Advisory and the Investment Subcommittee. Active in her local community, she is a Board member of the Central Carolina Community Foundation and is a graduate of the Midlands Diversity Leaders Initiative of the Riley Institute at Furman.
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Ms. O’Bryon graduated cum laude from the University of Miami with a major in communications and a minor in economics.
Robert Sachs (Returning General Director)
Director since 2013. Robert Sachs is an attorney and business executive who over the past 35 years has served in various executive capacities in the cable TV and telecommunications industries.
Mr. Sachs is principal of Continental Consulting Group, LLC, a Boston-based cable and telecommunications consulting firm that he co-founded in January 1998. In addition, he serves as a director of StarHub, Ltd, a Singapore telecommunications company, and as a trustee or advisory board member of several not-for-profit organizations. From August 1999 through February 2005, Mr. Mr. Sachs left CCG to serve as President & CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (“NCTA”), the principal trade association of the US cable television industry. NCTA represents cable operators, programming networks and equipment suppliers before the federal government. During Mr. Sachs’s tenure at NCTA, the cable industry attained a deregulatory environment for cable broadband services and launched new services including high-speed Internet access, high definition television, video-on-demand, and digital cable phone service. For the prior two decades, Mr. Sachs served in executive positions with Continental Cablevision, Inc. and its successor, MediaOne. From 1988 until 1998, Mr. Sachs was the company’s senior vice president of corporate and legal affairs. From 1979 until 1988, he served as Continental’s director and then its vice president of corporate development.
Mr. Sachs began his professional career on the legislative staff of US Senator Charles Goodell (R-NY). From 1975-77, Mr. Sachs served as legislative assistant to US Representative Tim Wirth (D-CO), then a member of the House Communications Subcommittee. From 1977-78, Mr. Sachs served as a full-time consultant to the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy and from 1978-79, he was legislative counsel to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Mr. Sachs holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Rochester (1970). He earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University (1974) and a law degree from Georgetown University (1978). In addition, Mr. Sachs has completed the Program for Management Development at Harvard Business School (1987).
Mr. Sachs is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is a former director of BigBand Networks, Inc., Global Crossing, Ltd., and UpdateLogic, Inc. He also serves as a governing trustee of The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and advisor to Artists for Humanity. Mr. Sachs is a former director of the Advertising Council, CableLabs, Inc., The Citi Performing Arts Center, The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, and the WGBH Educational Foundation. He is married to Caroline Taggart and resides in Boston.
Mr. Sachs is Vice Chair of the PBS National Policy Advisory Committee and serves on the Station Services Committee, the Strategic Planning Advisory Group and PBS Spectrum Task Force.
Brian Sickora (Returning Professional Director)
Brian Sickora is the President and CEO of WSKG Public Broadcasting in Binghamton, New York. WSKG serves one million people in the Southern Tier of New York with its television and two radio services. Under his leadership, WSKG has developed new award winning, locally produced radio and television programming, as well as new online and radio news services. Over the last eight years, WSKG has steadily increased its audience and major donors (which have quintupled).
Mr. Sickora represents WSKG on a number of national boards and advisory committees.
Before joining WSKG in 2007, Mr. Sickora served four years as the Vice President of System Development and Station Grants Administration at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in Washington, DC. There, he oversaw CPB’s Radio and Television Community Service Grants and Digital Infrastructure grant programs. Prior to CPB, Mr. Sickora was the Executive Vice President of Administration and Operation at Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland, Oregon. He began his career in public broadcasting at his alma mater, Penn State University Public Broadcasting, where he oversaw Finance, Television and Radio Production, and Business Development initiatives. Prior to his public broadcasting career, Mr. Sickora worked in finance, strategic planning, and business development roles in the defense industry at HRB-Systems, a division of Raytheon Corporation, for ten years.
He and his wife Kate, a former National Public Radio employee, reside in Binghamton with their five-year-old triplets – George, Marlene and Virginia – and their dog Larry.
Evan Smith (Returning General Director)
Director since 2012. Evan Smith is the Editor-in-Chief, CEO and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan digital news organization recently called “one of the nonprofit news sector’s runaway success stories.” The Tribune's deep coverage of Texas politics and public policy can be found at its website, texastribune.org, in newspapers and on TV and radio stations across the state, and in the print and online editions of the Washington Post. Since its launch in 2009, the Tribune has won international acclaim and numerous honors, including eight national Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association and six awards from the Online News Association.
Before co-founding the Tribune, Mr. Smith spent nearly 18 years at Texas Monthly, stepping down in August 2009 as the magazine's president and editor-in-chief. He previously served as its editor for more than eight years — only the third person to hold that title. On his watch, Texas Monthly was nominated for 16 National Magazine Awards, the magazine industry's equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, and twice was awarded the National Magazine Award for General Excellence.
For eight years, Mr. Smith hosted the Lone Star Emmy Award-winning weekly interview program Texas Monthly Talks, which aired on PBS stations statewide. He currently hosts Overheard with Evan Smith, airing on PBS stations nationally.
Mr. Smith has served on or chaired the boards of several distinguished organizations, including KLRU-TV, the Blanton Museum of Art, the Headliners Club, the Austin Film Society, the Texas Book Festival, the Waller Creek Conservancy, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Trinity Episcopal School, the Austin Community Foundation and the American Society of Magazine Editors.
A New York native, Mr. Smith has a bachelor's degree in public policy from Hamilton College (Clinton, New York) and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois), which has inducted him into its Hall of Achievement.
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