Local Public Television Stations Elect New Members to the Board of Trustees of the Association of Public Television Stations

WASHINGTON — February 24, 2013 — The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) today announced the election of six new members to its Board of Trustees, the re-election of three current board members to its Board of Trustees, and the new leadership positions of its Board of Trustees.

The newly-elected trustees are: Ronnie Agnew, Executive Director, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, in Jackson, MS; Edward Kaplan, Chair, Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission, in Owings Mills, MD; Becky Magura, President/CEO, WCTE-TV, in Cookeville, TN; Russell J. Peotter, General Manager, WGBY Public Television for Western New England, in Springfield, MA; Allan Pizzato, President and General Manager, WYES, in New Orleans, LA; and Leslie Wilcox, CEO, PBS Hawaii, in Honolulu, HI.

After a 27-year newspaper career, Ronnie Agnew joined Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) in August 2011 as the agency’s executive director. Agnew is responsible for MPB’s strategic direction and leads the three primary areas that form the agency’s mission: emergency preparedness and response, economic impact media and educational resource development for all projects. As executive director, Agnew has oversight of all MPB radio and television programming, as well as the agency’s digital initiatives. Agnew, a native of Saltillo, Miss., had previously served as executive editor of The Clarion-Ledger for nine years, from August 2002-August 2011. He was the newspaper’s managing editor for 18 months prior to being promoted to the top newsroom position.

In late 2007, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley named Potomac, MD resident Edward Kaplan chair of the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission, the governing body of Maryland Public Television. First named to the commission in 1996 by then-Governor Parris N. Glendening, Kaplan is a real estate developer and entrepreneur who works in the areas of technology, product development, food service and finance. Kaplan earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance and Commerce. After graduation, he began his career in the construction field, which later evolved into real estate development and investments in related fields. In 1983, he was a founding stockholder and director of Palmer National Bank in Washington, D.C., and a director of its successor, George Mason Bankshares, holding that post until 1998 when George Mason merged into United Bankshares. He has served on the board of directors of United Bank of Virginia since 1998.

Becky Magura has over 30 years of experience in production, educational outreach and management at public television station WCTE. She resides in Cookeville, TN and serves on numerous regional and national boards. Magura holds a BS degree from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville and a MA degree in Education, with an emphasis in Communications. She has years of experience in television production as an on-air host, producer and videographer. In 2006, Magura became WCTE’s fourth general manager and has led the station team through digital transition in transmission and production. She is also currently serving as the chair of the National Educational Telecommunications Association’s Executive Board.

Russell J. Peotter joined WGBY as general manager in 2001. He has helped the station dramatically increase its local programming, with a particular emphasis on developing partnerships with other mission-driven cultural and community organizations. Peotter also acts as public broadcasting liaison to the Massachusetts Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education & Early Education and Care. Peotter entered public television running cameras at WCBB in Lewiston, Maine during college. After graduation, he held progressive positions in production and promotion until the creation of Maine Public Broadcasting (MPBC) in 1992. At MPBC, he took on fundraising duties as vice president for marketing and development. In Maine, he won an Emmy as creator and executive producer for Made In Maine and an Elmo Award from CTW for developing and executing the Maine Early Childhood Project. In 1999, Peotter also had a primary role in winning a statewide referendum for digital funding.

Allan Pizzato is the president and general manager of WYES-TV, New Orleans, Louisiana, having started in this position on January 1, 2013. WYES-TV provides PBS programming to the greater New Orleans and Louisiana Gulf Coast Region with an emphasis on locally produced documentaries, public affairs and of course wonderful New Orleans style cooking programs. Prior to moving to New Orleans, Pizzato was the executive director of Alabama Public Television (APT) and president of the Alabama Educational Television Foundation Authority (AETFA), a position he held since August of 2000. APT is a public educational television facility headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama with nine stations located across the state and production facilities in Montgomery, Alabama and Washington, D.C. and a public FM radio facility in Huntsville, Alabama. Pizzato served as liaison to the Alabama Legislature and Executive Branch of State government for the Alabama Educational Television Commission. Prior to that time, Pizzato was the general manager of WSRE-TV, director of The Kugelman Center for Telecommunications, and the executive director of the WSRE-TV Foundation, Inc. in Pensacola, Florida. Pizzato’s public broadcasting career of more than 36 years began at Southern Illinois University where he was the station manager of WSIU-TV.

Leslie Wilcox is CEO of PBS Hawaii, heading a lean but media-seasoned team in running Hawaii’s public television system, a community licensee. With technology and touch, the station seeks to bridge geographical barriers, bringing together a population of 1.4 million on six populated islands. The 50th state of Hawaii is the most ethnically diverse in the nation. Wilcox is a former longtime print and broadcast journalist. She was one of three anchors of Asia Now, which aired on PBS stations throughout the U.S. During Wilcox’s six-year tenure, PBS Hawaii has expanded local programming and international perspectives, particularly from Asia and the Pacific, as the state serves as a crossroads for East and West. After the 2011 Japan earthquake, PBS Hawaii quickly arranged with fellow public broadcasters at NHK to go live by satellite to ten uninterrupted hours of tsunami coverage. Wilcox was named Pacific Business News’ 2012 “Businessperson of the Year” in the nonprofit sector. An alum of two nonprofit fellowships, she has been named by Hawaii’s main community chest as an outstanding nonprofit leader.

The APTS membership also re-elected the following current board members: Eric Hyyppa, Director and General Manager, KUSM-TV, MontanaPBS, in Bozeman, MT; Edmund Driggs, Lay Trustee, WTVI, in Charlotte, NC; and The Honorable Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., Lay Trustee, Public Broadcasting Atlanta, in Atlanta, GA.

The APTS Board approved the following leadership: Chair: Polly Anderson, Executive Director, WUCF-TV, in Orlando, FL; Professional Vice-Chair: John Harris, President & Chief Executive Officer, Prairie Public Broadcasting, in Fargo, ND; and Edmund Driggs, Lay Trustee, WTVI, in Charlotte, NC.

About APTS
The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization established in 1979. The mission of APTS is to conduct – in concert with member stations – advocacy, planning, research and communications activities in order to achieve strong and financially sound noncommercial television and advanced digital services for the American people. APTS provides consistent leadership and information that helps our members better accomplish their own missions and goals. Through its affiliate APTS Action, APTS promotes the legislative and regulatory interests of noncommercial television stations at the national level through direct advocacy, and grasstops and grassroots campaigns designed to garner congressional support. For more information, visit www.apts.org.