A Message from the President and CEO of WVIA Public Media
June 13, 2013
After almost 23 years as President and almost 40 as an employee, I thought it time to make room for an extraordinary successor. Tom Currá came into WVIA’s sights nine years ago as an independent filmmaker who wanted our money to make a movie. I had learned the hard way how many of these folks had the passion but wanted no part of raising the money to achieve their vision. So I turned Currá away with a chuckle at his quarter-million dollar budget plan only to be astonished a year later when “Stories from the Mines” premiered to raves from a who’s who audience in Scranton. It was then I knew that this man likely held the key to a WVIA future we knew required ambitious and expensive regional documentaries. Convincing Tom to leave commercial television and self-employment as a filmmaker was not at all easy, but he no doubt agrees his eventual “yes” in 2004 was a master stroke for WVIA and the Currá family.
Esteemed and long-respected friends always advised me not to stay too long in this job and to plan for succession by someone better. Over the past several years my best work had been met and exceeded to the extent that one day recently I found myself just admiring, not running, great Public Media stations. Leadership that inspiring, communities so responsive to our programs and a staff that truly respects Tom Currá deserved the logical next step of his Presidency.
All of you have heard me countless times in my decades at WVIA make the case for government funding, and we’ve been nationally recognized for that work. Nonetheless the past years have necessarily weaned many public media stations like ours from state grants as the economy shrunk. And the future of federal funding is not encouraging. So last year I offered the WVIA Board my full-time services for three years in fundraising for an endowment that one day will make your PBS and NPR stations less dependent on government funds that frankly have always been at risk. I want to thank our Board of Trustees, many of whom I’ve worked closely with since early 1991, for agreeing to the idea and for their constant support and confidence.
And with extreme pride in my colleague Tom Currá’s restless mind, relentless hard work and success, I look forward to what our WVIA will become in the years ahead.
After 9 years of working with my valued colleagues at WVIA I am humbled and honored that the Board of Directors and the WVIA team has given me this opportunity to serve as President and CEO.
Over the past 5 years Bill Kelly has mentored me to prepare for this opportunity. We have spent countless hours strategizing new ways to grow our public service to the region we so humbly serve. I want to publicly thank Bill Kelly for his mentorship and leadership throughout these years.
WVIA will continue its commitment to producing quality programming that not only resonates regionally but also brings our stories to the forefront nationally, showcasing the greatest attributes of our communities.
We are proud to serve the 22 counties of northeast Pennsylvania and the Central Susquehanna Valley, and we could not do it without the generous support of our members and underwriters.