Title

AL JEROME, THIRD PRESIDENT AND CEO OF KCET, ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT FROM KCETLINK

Board of directors initiates succession process;

Jerome remains CEO until successor is named.

 

BURBANK, CA--March 18, 2014--KCETLink announced today that Al Jerome,

President and Chief Executive Officer of KCET for the past 18 years and only

the third person to lead the organization in its 50-year history, has decided

to retire. Mr. Jerome, who plans to step down from his position within the next

six months, has agreed to assist the search committee

in finding
the new KCETLink chief executive, and to work with his

successor to ensure a seamless transition to new leadership.

 

"It's been a privilege to lead this organization during its PBS years and

into an entrepreneurial era," Mr. Jerome said. 

"As we begin preparations for KCET's 50th Anniversary, and continue to

chart a new course for the organization, I feel that this is the appropriate time

to bring in a new CEO. I would hope that my successor builds upon our recent

accomplishments and works with the talented senior team we have in place to

create a new and different roadmap for success in 21st century

public media."

 

Expressing appreciation for Mr. Jerome's years of service to the

organization, Dick Cook, Chairman of the Board for KCETLink, said, "Al Jerome

leaves an exceptional legacy of leadership in commercial and public media. He

has steadily guided KCETLink through a period of significant change with bold

decision-making and risk-taking. The board is committed to identifying a new

leader who can leverage the positive momentum that Al has created to establish

a sustainable model for public media that engages a new generation. We're very

fortunate that Al has agreed to assist in the search and work with his

successor to make the transition as smooth as possible."   

 

Mr. Jerome's predecessor, William H. Kobin, who was president and CEO of

KCET from 1983-1996, and currently serves on the KCETLink Board of Directors,

added: "Al Jerome is one of the brightest, most talented and capable media

executives I've known. I'm sure he knew how difficult it would be when KCET

left the PBS system from which it, like every other PBS affiliate, received a

large percentage of its daily program schedule. From that day on, KCET faced

the extraordinary challenge of having to produce or acquire every program in

its 24-hours per day, 365-days per year schedule, and raise the money to

do so. Fortunately, Al's leadership abilities, honed through a professional

lifetime in both commercial and public media management, made him a perfect CEO

to lead KCET through this unique high-pressure period of transition, which he

is doing with extraordinary creativity, logic and skill."

 

Mr. Jerome's distinguished career spans nearly five decades. He joined KCET

in February 1996 after a 30-year commercial broadcasting career with leading

media organizations including NBC, CBS and ABC. 

During his tenure with KCET, Mr. Jerome created a transmedia organization

that represents the dynamism and diversity of Southern California.  He set an entrepreneurial course for the

organization marked by innovative programming, key partnerships, a strategic

merger and a commitment to digital innovation.

 

Award-Winning Programming

Under Mr. Jerome's leadership, KCET has garnered more than 380 awards,

including 69 Emmys, seven George Foster Peabody awards, five duPont-Columbia

awards and the Edward R. Murrow Award. During his years at the helm, KCET's

schedule has been anchored by a signature local news and public affairs series,

including SoCal Connected and its predecessors, California Connected

and Life & Times.  In

addition, Mr. Jerome made KCET the first public television station in the Los

Angeles market to program a daily international news block that has featured

English-language newscasts from the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Israel and

France.  As part of this service, KCET

was the first broadcast television station in the nation to carry Al Jazeera

English
.

 

KCET also has produced many national programs that reflect Southern

California and its people.  Mr. Jerome

helped launch the national dramatic series, PBS Hollywood Presents, which showcased the producers, directors, writers and

actors in the Hollywood entertainment community. Its many stars included Dick

Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, Daniel Craig, Richard Dreyfuss, Linda Lavin,

Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashãd.

 

He also was instrumental in KCET co-producing American Family on

PBS, the first primetime dramatic series to feature a Latino family. It was

shot in East Los Angeles and starred Edward J. Olmos and Raquel Welch.

 

After raising $50 million to support five years of production, Mr. Jerome

mounted the groundbreaking, Peabody Award-winning, nationally syndicated

series, A Place of Our Own, and its Spanish language companion, Los

Niños en Su Casa
that taught pre-school caregivers and parents how to

prepare children for kindergarten.

 

Mr. Jerome has consistently supported the development of original digital

content.  As a result, KCET.org has

innovated such important, award-winning 

digital series as Artbound, Departures, and a variety of

impactful blogs that have resulted in unique visitors to KCET.org having

increased by 353% since 2011, the year KCET left PBS.

 

An Entrepreneurial Approach

Mr. Jerome's entrepreneurial approach to leadership has allowed KCETLink to

begin building a new public media framework in Southern California.

 

This January marked the 3rd anniversary of KCET's historic break from PBS after

four decades, making it the largest independent public television station in

the nation. Since the split, Mr. Jerome has secured several key working capital

foundation grants to help sustain the organization as it adjusted to its

independence.  In addition, he has built

a new, state-of-the-art, award-winning transmedia production center in Burbank

that more efficiently serves the company's new approach to content creation and

distribution in the digital era.  This

was financed by the sale of the company's studio lot.

 

In 2013, Mr. Jerome championed the merger of KCET and

Link Media, a San Francisco-based national public television satellite network

reaching 33 million households via DirecTV and Dish Network. Link TV's global,

progressive orientation fits strategically with KCET's mission to serve

Southern California's diverse cultural landscape.  The combined organization, KCETLink, has

established an alternative national platform for creating and distributing public

media content that addresses under-represented constituencies and supports

global storytelling.

 

Over the past several years, Mr. Jerome also has forged important strategic

partnerships that have contributed to KCET's ability to grow its pipeline of

global content.  He negotiated a

successful marketing-distribution partnership with the BBC to deliver BBC

World News
to America's public television stations, including KCET. This

network reaches 98% of the U.S. television households.

 

Mr. Jerome spearheaded a partnership with Union Bank-now

in its 16th year-to produce the Local Heroes program, which

identifies and promotes the accomplishments of individuals making a difference

in their community throughout national Heritage Months.

 

Additionally, a partnership with

Japanese public broadcaster, NHK, has resulted in the distribution of NHK

World
, a 24/7 programming service to Southern California, as well as the

co-development of new international content.

 

For a full bio and key accomplishments of Mr. Jerome, please visit kcet.org/AlJerome.

 

 

 

 

ABOUT KCETLINK

KCETLink is the national independent public transmedia

organization formed by the merger between KCET and Link Media.  A viewer-supported 501c(3) organization, its

content is distributed nationally via satellite on DirecTV (375) and DISH

Network (9410), in Southern and Central California via broadcast, as well as

through various digital delivery systems. 

The combined organization reaches a wide audience that includes Link

TV's 33 million satellite subscribers and KCET's 5.6 million households in

Southern and Central California.
As new technologies

continue to make dramatic changes to the media landscape, KCETLink is committed

to driving public media innovation with smarter ways to access content that

engages all audiences. For additional information

about KCETLink productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and

community events, please visit kcet.org or linktv.org.