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