APTS restructures to support strategic goals for state-level advocacy, public service

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The Association of Public Television Stations has restructured its staff to align with recently adopted strategic goals, including efforts to promote best practices, increase state and federal funding and support advocacy for the system at large.



Two key staffers are stepping up to manage the expanding workload. Kate Riley, director of government relations, has been promoted to v.p., government and public affairs; she will focus on advocacy and state and federal funding. Emil Mara, v.p. for finance and administration, will direct member services.

The reorganization follows through on a strategic plan adopted by the APTS board of trustees in November, according to Pat Butler, president. The plan, “Greater Success Through Greater Service,” outlines APTS’s goals supporting public TV’s work on public service, public funding and public policy priorities.

To address the public service part of the plan, APTS is launching the “What Works” clearinghouse, which will compile examples of best practices among members and determine how they can be extended to other stations.

“This gives people a much better idea of what the other stations in the system are doing and how they can do it,” Butler said. “It will hopefully improve everyone.”

As for public funding, APTS aims to provide more advice to member stations about securing and preserving state funding. Since the recession, stations have recouped roughly $20 million of the $100 million in state pubcasting subsidies that were cut during that time, Butler said. “We’re hopeful we can rebuild the lion’s share of that lost amount in the next few years,” he said.

APTS won’t be lobbying at the state level, but advising stations as a service included in its standard slate of offerings. “Stations need help with their state funding,” Butler said. “But this is not going to be a bunch of D.C. people coming down and going door-to-door with state legislators.”

APTS will continue its historic role of lobbying for federal funds as well. By adding state-level advocacy support to its portfolio, the organization hopes to amplify the message for new and possibly future congressional leaders about why they should fund public television.

“We’re looking at this holistically, and it’s one good story we can tell at the federal and state levels,” Butler said. “Anyone with impact on funding, we want to educate about the benefits of public television.”

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