Lawson and Theriault to leave CPB in May; Tovares will oversee content

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CPB announced three major changes in its executive leadership Monday.

The corporation said Jennifer Lawson, s.v.p. for television and digital content, and Bruce Theriault, s.v.p. for journalism and radio, will both retire in May.

Also in May, Joseph Tovares, s.v.p. for diversity and innovation, will assume additional responsibilities as chief content officer, “with the goal of strengthening coordination and collaboration across television, radio, diversity and innovation,” according to the announcement.

Both Lawson and Theriault are veteran public broadcasters. “Their contributions to CPB and to public media as a whole have been remarkable,” CPB President Pat Harrison said in the statement.

Lawson

Lawson

Lawson has worked nearly 30 years in the field, both at stations and national organizations. She was general manager of WHUT in Washington, D.C., as well as e.v.p. for programming and promotion services at PBS. At PBS, she developed noted children’s programs including Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and Barney & Friends along with promotional strategies for Ken Burns’ The Civil War and Baseball. At CPB she lead plans for digital content development and supported projects from stations and independent producers.

BruceTheriault

Theriault

Theriault has overseen CPB journalism funding initiatives across all platforms since July 2014. Previously he worked as the corporation’s senior v.p. of radio. His experience also encompasses stations as well as national organizations: He served 13 years as s.v.p. at Public Radio International and was g.m. at Alaska stations KTOO-FM in Juneau and KRBD-FM in Ketchikan. Theriault co-founded and served five terms as president of the Alaska Public Radio Network and helped create and chaired the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.

Tovares

Tovares

Tovares has served seven years in his current position. The former producer had worked at Kentucky Educational Television in Lexington and Texas stations KLRU in Austin and KLRN in San Antonio. At WGBH in Boston, Tovares worked on American Experience and served as e.p. for La Plaza, the station’s Latino production unit.

CPB’s previous chief content officer for TV and digital media was Terry Bryant, hired in 2001. Bryant’s title later changed to v.p., media research and relations. She was laid off during cutbacks at CPB in 2013 due mainly to federal budget sequestration.

UPDATE: The decision to replace Lawson and Theriault is still pending. CPB spokesperson Letitia King told Current that “we will be using the coming months to take stock of the media landscape and assess our needs,” drawing on insights from the CPB Board’s Future of Public Media retreat last October.

  • jackatwill

    Just want to note that both Jennifer and Bruce have done so much great work to benefit public media. I hope that in “retirement” they will stay involved. Otherwise, they’ll be greatly missed!