Steve Carlston Named President and GM of KNBC

By Merrill Knox 

Steve Carlston, who has been vice president and general manager of the Four Points Media duopoly KUTV-KMYU in Salt Lake City since 2009, will take over as president and general manager of NBC owned-and-operated KNBC in Los Angeles next month.

Carlston is credited with “increasing the ethnic diversity of the workforce” at KUTV-KMYU; his appointment is especially timely given the recent criticism of KNBC for the a string of demotions among Hispanic talent. Carlston’s predecessor, Craig Robinson, was named chief diversity officer for NBC Universal last month.

An Orange County native, Carlston counts an interview with former KNBC sports anchors Ross Porter and Tommy Hawkins during a “High School Game of the Week” segment as a favorite childhood memory. “I grew up watching NBC4 and am honored to join the rich tradition of the station to work alongside such high quality journalists and news professionals,” he said in a statement.


The full press release from NBC is below:

BURBANK, CA – September 22, 2011 – NBC Owned Television Stations today announced that Steve Carlston has been named President and General Manager of NBC4 Los Angeles (KNBC), succeeding Craig Robinson who was recently appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of NBCUniversal. Carlston, who brings more than 30 years of television industry experience to his position, will report to Valari Staab, President of the NBC Owned Television Stations, and start his new role in October. 

“Between his 30 years of television industry experience, dynamic leadership skills and proven track record of making stations stronger, Steve Carlston is uniquely qualified to take NBC4 to the next level,” said Staab. “Steve is from Southern California and truly understands the importance of a television station serving the local community. I look forward to working with him and welcome him to the team.”

“I grew up watching NBC4 and am honored to join the rich tradition of the station and to work alongside such high quality journalists and news professionals,” said Carlston. “I’m excited to build upon the recent investments in the station to make it even stronger and help NBC4 become the leading local news organization in the market.”

Since 2009, Carlston has been Vice President and General Manager of sister stations KUTV-TV (CBS) and KMYU-TV (MyNetworkTV) in Salt Lake City. In this role, he immediately developed and implemented a strategy to reinvigorate KUTV, which included rebuilding the news and marketing departments and introducing innovative advertising partnerships to generate revenue growth. In just one year, Carlston led a ratings turnaround, launching the station into first place and displacing the long-time market leader by winning every local newscast. Under his leadership, KUTV also tapped into social media to grow its audience, creating one of the largest Facebook communities in the broadcasting industry.

While at KUTV, Carlston focused on boosting the diversity of the station, increasing the ethnic diversity of the workforce by more than 10 percent and installing the market’s only Hispanic weekday anchor/reporter at an English-language television station. He was also recently asked to help establish the Utah Association of Latino Journalists and now sits on its Advisory Board.

From 2004 to 2009, Carlston worked as President and Managing Partner of Las Vegas Television Partners, the owner of Vegas TV (KTUD-TV), an independent television station, and Sun Media Productions, a full-service production company. In this role, he directed the negotiation and acquisition of Vegas TV and Sun Media Productions and oversaw the day-to-day operations of both companies. Carlston was Executive Vice President of Affiliate Relations at Viacom’s United Paramount Network in Los Angeles from 1999 to 2003, where he oversaw all affiliate relations, affiliate marketing and network distribution activities. During his tenure, more than 35 new stations were added to the network’s affiliate base.

Previously, Carlston was President and Chief Operating Officer of SF Broadcasting in Los Angeles, a division of USA Broadcasting, from 1996 to 1998. He was recruited to this position to turn around four Fox-affiliated stations in New Orleans, Louisiana; Mobile, Alabama; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Honolulu, Hawaii. Additionally, Carlston was the Vice President and General Manager of KSTU-TV, the Fox owned-and-operated station in Salt Lake City, from 1992 to 1996. While there, he expanded the amount of local news coverage from 3½ to 16½ hours, including launching morning and noon newscasts. The station won an Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast under his leadership. Earlier in his career, Carlston held a variety of sales roles at Buena Vista Television, WTAE-TV/Hearst Broadcasting and Katz Communications.

Carlston is committed to his community, currently serving on the Boards of the Utah Broadcasters Association and the Utah Council for Crime Prevention. He holds a BA in Broadcast Communications from Brigham Young University.

Carlston and his wife, Loni Coombs, a former prosecutor for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, reside in Agoura Hills, California. They have five children. A native of Orange County, Carlston counts as one of his greatest childhood thrills being interviewed by Ross Porter and Tommy Hawkins from the NBC4 sports department as a high school basketball player during the station’s “High School Game of the Week” coverage.