New PBS Head Announced

kerger.jpgPBS announced yesterday that Paula Kerger, executive vice president and chief operating officer of WNET, will take over as president of PBS on March 13, 2006. Kerger replaces Pat Mitchell, whose six years at the helm were peppered with allegations of liberal bias, the rocky tenure of Kenneth Y. Tomlinson and decreasing revenues. Kerger’s appointment seems to be a smart one and one that will dodge any stench of political bias (to wit: Former Co-Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee Patricia Harrison called the appointment “a very wise move“).

In an interview with the Post, Kerger made it clear what her focus would be:

    “Our biggest issue is revenue. We have to find ways to come up with the resources we need to do the types of programs we want. We need to do the kinds of programming that commercial broadcasters and cable aren’t doing.

    “At the end of the day, we’ll be judged by the good work that we’re doing. But you need a base of support to do that.”

Kerger would, ideally, like for PBS to have an endowment that could enable her to avoid the politically-charged funds that come from the federal government.