PBS SoCal Announces Leadership Transition

COSTA MESA, Calif. (Feb. 5, 2015) – Long-time President of PBS SoCaL/KOCE-TV, Mel Rogers, will retire from his post as CEO effective April 30, 2015 and Andrew Russell will be named the incoming President and CEO.  The announcement and unanimous appointment was made at the PBS SoCaL Board of Trustees January meeting in Los Angeles.

Rogers has served for the past 18 years as the station’s second president, and will leave behind a legacy of accomplishments.  In 2011, Rogers led KOCE in stepping forward as the new primary PBS station for Los Angeles in order to preserve a full-service PBS station for the region. Under Rogers’ leadership, KOCE was re-named PBS SoCaL and it began its significant expansion to serve Southern California, stepping in as KCET left the PBS family.

Russell is a California native and a long-time public television executive who came to PBS SoCaL two years ago from his executive roles at PBS headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Russell has more than 20 years of experience with PBS and the Corporation of Public Broadcasting (CPB).  In his two years at PBS SoCaL, Russell has driven rapid growth in the station’s membership and revenues, increased PBS SoCaL’s content distribution, opened new offices in Downtown LA and Century City, and built new local partnerships.

“Mel has done an absolutely amazing job in leading the station through some very unique and challenging times,” said Jim McCluney, Chairman of the Board for PBS SoCaL.  “The entire Board wishes to recognize Mel for his many contributions to public television and for his vision and determination to raise the station to where it is today. We are also very excited to have Andy now take the leadership of the organization to propel it to even greater success in the future.”

“When I hired Andy to join PBS SoCaL as COO, I did so with the intention of putting in place a likely succession plan for the station.  I’m enthusiastic about Andy’s ability to take PBS SoCaL to new heights of service for Southern California,” said Mel Rogers.

“I’m excited and thankful for this opportunity to build a great future for PBS SoCaL in serving the greater Los Angeles area. I congratulate Mel on the leadership he’s provided, his numerous accomplishments, and his great commitment to serving this community. I look forward to working with community leaders and organizations across our viewing area to create new opportunities for discovery, engagement, and connection for Southern Californians,” said Andrew Russell.

Among Rogers’ many accomplishments, he led the conversion of the station to digital HDTV and the relocation of its transmitter from La Habra Heights to Mt. Wilson, expanding the station’s broadcast reach throughout the L.A. market in 2003.  In 2004, he directed the KOCE-TV Foundation’s effort to purchase the broadcast license from the previous owner, the Coast Community College District, making the station an independent community-focused enterprise. Rogers also emphasized the need for the station to be locally relevant, resulting in the production of many local programs throughout his tenure.  During Rogers’ 18 years at the helm, the station, both as KOCE and PBS SoCaL, has consistently seen growth in both viewership and revenues needed to ensure its future.

Russell held a number of executive roles at PBS and CPB, where he shaped PBS’ primetime strategy, led the creation of the Ready-to-Learn service for pre-school children, and significantly grew PBS revenues as the leader of PBS Ventures.  He holds an MBA from Stanford University, an MPA from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis.

About PBS SoCaL

PBS SoCaL is the only station in the Greater Los Angeles area providing the full PBS schedule to Southern California and is home to all PBS program premieres as they are released nationally. As Southern California’s full-service PBS station, PBS SoCaL provides early education, access to a broad array of arts and culture, and programs for, about and by the people of Southern California.

PBS SoCaL is the parent to three unique broadcast channels, PBS SoCaL/KOCE-HD, PBS SoCaL Plus, and PBS SoCaL World, which are dedicated to educating, entertaining and enlightening viewers throughout Southern California. PBS SoCaL offices are located in Downtown LA, Century City and Costa Mesa.  PBS SoCaL is proudly, our communities’ largest classroom, largest stage for the arts and trusted source of information. Explore the future of PBS in Southern California at www.pbssocal.org.

# # #



Stacy Shaffer

(714) 241-4166