For more than 40 years, PBS has played a pivotal role in American culture, offering us the opportunity to explore challenging ideas and new worlds through quality programming that entertains, educates, and, in many instances, calls us to action. Named as America’s most trusted public institution for the seventh consecutive year, PBS consistently “reaffirms what is core to the values of public service media.”
Founded in 1969, PBS sets a standard of excellence as a leader and innovator in television content for both children and adults. In a world where knowledge is paramount, PBS is the standout leader in providing accurate and impartial information, spreading awareness of emerging trends, utilizing new generation technologies, and encouraging viewers to become active participants in shaping the global community of today and tomorrow. Currently, PBS reaches more than 118 million people through TV and nearly 21 million online.
Particularly noteworthy is the positive impact of PBS on children. More than 14 million children watch PBS KIDS® on TV and online each month. Research has demonstrated that PBS’s preschool and early elementary school content contributes toward engaging and inspiring children to succeed, especially in the core curriculum areas that are at the forefront of the nation’s education agenda.
Since 2006, PBS has been under the leadership of Paula A. Kerger, its sixth president and CEO. As head of the organization, she maintains a commitment to high-quality content, education, diversity, and the use of new technology to bring public service media into the lives of all Americans. Kerger’s accomplishments include the 12-hour documentary, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan; the debut of acclaimed children’s programs such as Curious George and Martha Speaks; new primetime science and arts programming; and online sites for parents, teachers, and caregivers.
In addition, Kerger also serves as president of the PBS Foundation. She is a director of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, a member of the board of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, and a member of the Merrick School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council. For the past four years, she has been named to the “Women in Entertainment Power 100” and in 2008 received the Woman of Achievement Award from Women in Development, New York.
PBS is the nation’s largest non-commercial media organization with more than 350 member stations throughout the country. Perhaps the most notable recent accomplishment for PBS under the leadership of Paula Kerger is the pop-culture phenomenon Downton Abbey, which quickly became the highest rated drama in PBS history.