PBS Re-Engineers Technology & Operations Division

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PBS Veteran Gwen Wood Now Heads PBS Broadcast Operations


ALEXANDRIA, Va., August 17, 2000 - As part of its commitment to maintaining public television's leadership position in digital broadcasting and technology applications, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has reorganized its technology and operations division. Beth Wolfe, PBS chief administrative officer, announced that under the new structure, the distribution services department, managed by Gwen Wood, will report to Edward Caleca, senior vice president of technology and operations. Responsibilities within the expanded division have been restructured to maximize service to PBS member stations and strategic planning.

"We all know that the media landscape is changing faster than ever before," explained Mr. Caleca. "This redesign will provide focus and enhance PBS's ability to provide superior customer care to the station membership, top-quality program distribution services and digital television leadership."

Gwen Wood, vice president of distribution services, will take on a greatly expanded role in broadcast operations, supervising 81 employees. Ms. Wood will oversee the PBS technical operations center, satellite operations center, broadcast operations and technical services. She also retains her current distribution duties for PBS packaged program services, including PBS KIDS® (a 24-hour broadcast channel) and PBS YOU (the nation's only 24-hour educational television resource leading to a college degree).

The programming options provided by PBS distribution services are exceedingly popular with member stations and viewers across the country. More than 60 million households receive PBS packaged program services through 125 local stations, DirecTV and Echostar.

A member of the PBS staff since 1981, Ms. Wood began her PBS career in the copyright and related services department. In 1988, she became director of the public television satellite project. In 1994, she was named director of satellite services and an early proprietary version of PBS Online. She was appointed vice president of distribution services in 1997.

Ms. Wood holds a BA degree from Guilford College and a graduate certificate from The George Washington University. She has done graduate work in business administration and finance at the University of Maryland and is currently participating in the continuing education engineering program at The George Washington University, specializing in telecommunications.

The consolidation of broadcast operations under Ms. Wood allows vice president and chief technology officer John Tollefson to take on a much larger role in the design, creation and maintenance of PBS's broadcasting infrastructure, especially in the area of digital transmission. Mr. Tollefson already serves as the chief architect of the PBS digital television system and as the liaison for the PBS Engineering Advisory Committee. He will now direct the PBS Digital Strategic Services Group, which helps member stations with DTV funding, engineering and training issues. He provides leadership and support for the public broadcasting interactive television, cable and DBS distribution strategies and will continue to support PBS's engineering planning and implementation, laboratory and maintenance departments.

Eighteen PBS member stations have launched digital service. At least 26 more local PBS stations are expected to follow this year, for a total of 44 stations reaching more than 40 percent of American households by the end of 2000. PBS showcases at least one HDTV program in primetime each month.

The third branch of the new technology and operations division, information technology, is still headed by AndrŽ Mendes, vice president and chief information officer. Mr. Mendes continues to support all of the internal and external information technology needs for PBS and to provide consultation to its member stations. In addition, he will build a team to enhance the technological support of PBS Online and provide consulting services to the PBS education department. Mr. Mendes is the chief architect of the PBS information technology platform.

Ms. Wood, Mr. Tollefson and Mr. Mendes all report to Mr. Caleca.

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 347 public television stations. A trusted community resource, PBS uses the power of noncommercial television, the Internet and other media to enrich the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services that inform, inspire and delight. Available to 99 percent of American homes with televisions and to an increasing number of digital multimedia households, PBS serves nearly 100 million people each week. More information about PBS is available at PBS.org.


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Jan McNamara