Notable Visitor: Paula Kerger

During PBS’ Executive session at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, July 30, 2017, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger discusses upcoming PBS programming. All photos in this set should be credited to Rahoul Ghose/PBS

When PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger visited Phoenix in November, she met with Arizona PBS staff and donors and spoke to an audience of journalism students about the impact of public broadcasting. She also appeared on “Arizona Horizon.”

In discussing the power of public television, Kerger emphasized that most PBS stations are one of the last — often the last — locally owned and operated media outlets in their area. “We occupy a space that is singular,” she said. “We’re not driven by a commercial imperative.”

Though federal funding for public broadcasting has been secured for this year, Kerger said she looks at it as an ongoing dialogue. “Legislators have tough decisions to make,” she acknowledged. “Every year, our stations and communities need to make the case for our funding.”

Although Kerger leads the national PBS organization, each station is independent and reflects the community it serves. Kerger said that she feels a key part of her job is visiting stations around the country to see their progress and challenges for herself. “We have stations in every community,” she said. And she emphasized that bipartisan studies continue to show the high level of trust in stations like Arizona PBS among people of all backgrounds and beliefs.

Kerger also spoke about the legacy of PBS. “I hear all the time from people who grew up with Sesame Street, or learned how to cook from Julia Child, or saw dance for the first time on public television,” she said. “I measure success by those stories.”

To see Kerger’s appearance on “Arizona Horizon” in full, visit azpbs.org/horizon/kerger.

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