PBS CEO Announces New Strategic Content Plan

Posted by PBS Publicity on

John Boland, Leader at KQED, to Join PBS as Chief Content Officer

Arlington, Va., June 13, 2006 - In her first major strategic move as the President and Chief Executive Officer of PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), Paula A. Kerger today announced the creation of a new position -Chief Content Officer - and the appointment of John Boland, public broadcasting veteran to the position.

In his new role, Mr. Boland will direct television programming, new media, education and promotion. He will oversee the delivery of PBS' distinctive content through PBS member stations, in classrooms and on multiple platforms, including online, on-demand and via the increasing array of digital devices, furthering PBS' commitment to educate, inform, entertain, and enrich lives through media.

The structural reorganization reflects one element of Ms. Kerger's plan to strengthen PBS' ability to serve citizens in a multi-platform universe. Last month, Ms. Kerger announced a groundbreaking agreement to offer more PBS programs through video on demand services, and in recent speeches to the National Press Club, the Media Institute and the PBS Showcase, she has discussed public television's next steps in embracing new technology and the many benefits it offers viewers.

"PBS and our member stations are undergoing a transformation from traditional television broadcasting to a vibrant 21st century digital public media service," said Ms. Kerger, who joined PBS as its sixth president and CEO in March. "While continuing to provide our excellent 'legacy' television programming and educational services, PBS will embrace new technology to provide the highest quality content to audiences when, where and how they wish.

"John Boland is the ideal person to help PBS realize the full potential of the digital revolution to serve and interact with audiences in new and meaningful ways. He has successfully created a model digital content organization at KQED, and is a respected leader in public broadcasting," said Ms. Kerger. "The combination of his public broadcasting track record, his journalism background and his previous experience as a media executive in the private sector make him uniquely qualified for this important position at this pivotal moment."

Mr. Boland currently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer at KQED Public Broadcasting, the San Francisco-based organization that operates the PBS and NPR stations in Northern California. At KQED, he leads a multimedia organization of more than 150 television and radio producers and programmers, editors, reporters, educators, web content developers, management and technical personnel. Under Mr. Boland's leadership, the KQED content organization has been successful in delivering both traditional television and radio services and in the use of new technologies and cross-platform initiatives.

"I am honored to join Paula Kerger as she leads PBS into the future. I firmly believe that the digital era is a time of unparalleled opportunity for public media," Mr. Boland said. "Today, the old cliche 'content is king,' is more true than ever. Public broadcasting consistently delivers quality you can count on and produces content that provides real educational and entertainment value. In an analog world, if you missed the broadcast, you missed the show. In the digital world, this amazing archive of the greatest programming can be available indefinitely to the American people.

"It's an incredibly exciting moment and I look forward to working with colleagues at PBS and at our member stations to meet the many challenges we will encounter during this transition," added Mr. Boland.

Since joining KQED in 1995, Mr. Boland has served in several capacities, including his current position of Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and Vice President, Marketing, Development and Communications.

He has played a pivotal role in KQED's transformation from a public broadcaster to an integrated multi-platform digital media and community service organization, creating a cross-disciplinary content management structure and encouraging early experiments with Internet video on-demand, podcasting, blogs, original audio and video content for the web, content partnerships with other public broadcasters, and the use of new technologies for educational and community outreach.

While championing digital innovation, Mr. Boland also dramatically increased the level of traditional content creation on all media, most notably the launch of seven local and regional television series and KQED's emergence as a producer of high quality national and international content for the PBS system, including the current Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures series, China from the Inside for PBS and the BBC, several programs for Great Performances, the acclaimed Frontline World documentary series in partnership with WGBH, and Sweeney Todd in Concert, which was recognized with the Primetime Emmy Award in 2002 for Outstanding Classical Music-Dance Program.

He brokered KQED's five-channel digital agreement for cable television and serves as the primary executive content liaison with PBS, NPR and other key industry organizations. Mr. Boland also led the development of Quest, a ground-breaking science, nature and environment initiative, launching in fall 2006, that combines, under a single brand, a weekly television series, a weekly radio series, web site with unique content, educational resources for formal and informal educators, and a content partnership with regional museums, educational organizations and community-based organizations.

Mr. Boland also played a leadership role in strategic planning, brand management, labor negotiations, and fundraising. He negotiated KQED's international television production agreements and served as executive in charge of its most important television productions.

KQED recruited him in 1995 to lead a financial turnaround at San Francisco Focus magazine, which KQED owned and operated at the time. He began his career as a daily newspaper reporter and editor in his native New Jersey in the late 1960s and has held a number of senior management positions in media and communications prior to joining KQED.

Mr. Boland will join the staff at PBS headquarters in Arlington, VA in September and report directly to Ms. Kerger. The start of his tenure will coincide with an internal restructuring. Under the new arrangement, Mr. Boland will oversee four departments: Programming; Education; Online Services; and Promotion and Brand Management.

About PBS
PBS is a media enterprise that serves 348 public noncommercial television stations and reaches almost 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of other educational services. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (pbskids.org), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.


- PBS -

Lea Sloan, Vice President, PBS Communications, 703-739-5021, lsloan@pbs.org
Stephanie Aaronson, Senior Director, PBS Communications, 703-739-5074, saaronson@pbs.org