CEO Q&A: Paula Kerger, president and CEO, PBS

Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, speaks with Kimberly Maul about the network's advocacy platform and how she interacts with its PR team

CEO Q&A: Paula Kerger, president and CEO, PBS
What are PBS' main business issues?

We are evolving from broad-cast television, which has been our core business, into a true multi-platform media organization. We are reaching Americans through television, online, mobile devices, websites, and in classrooms - all in various platforms.

How would you describe your interaction with PR and communications?

We're attempting to effectively tell our story, so it's extremely important that we work closely together so we are aligned on the messages we're conveying, as well as ensuring we're using all the various networks to distribute information.

We have lots of stakeholders in public television: our member stations, the producers we work with, funders, and our audience members. So the communications department is a key partner in making sure we are touching all of the various people who care about public broadcasting.

PBS' platform is to advocate for arts, culture, children's media, and American democracy. How do you promote these issues?

In our 40 years, we've established ourselves as the most trusted brand in news and a leader in children's media. We obviously use our own air to promote these issues. We use traditional PR and paid media. We are increasingly using social media, our website, and other interactive tools. I do a lot of public speaking. We also have something many media organizations don't - volunteers who are very active ambassadors.

How do you use social media?

To engage viewers in the content we're producing. Our PBS Facebook page has more than 420,000 fans and gets more than 90 million impressions a month. We have 560,000 fol- lowers on Twitter. Our YouTube channel gets 100,000-plus views a day - and that continues to increase. We've been placing content on YouTube almost since the start [in 2005]. That has been a great source of putting content out for the public, but also bringing people to our broadcast.

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