The Importance of Public TV
Becky Magura, President and CEO of Nashville Public Television, leads the over-the-air station that reaches nearly 2.4 million people throughout the Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky viewing area. NPT is also available to anyone in the world through its array of NPT digital services, including wnpt.org, YouTube channels and the PBS video app. A native Tennessean, Becky has 40 years of experience in production, educational outreach, and management in public media.
She has extensive service on regional and national boards and has received numerous awards for her work. Most recently, PBS named Becky a recipient of the 2021 C. Scott Elliott Development Professional of the Year Award.
What should we know about Becky?
One of the most fun things we learned is that Becky got to ride on the bus and interview Ken Burns when he was in Tennessee to promote the Country Music documentary. Becky has always lived in Tennessee and, to our benefit, has always had her “dream job” in public television, first in Cookeville and now in Nashville. She started as a student intern in Cookeville and now is an award-winning member of public television.
Why is public television important?
Public television is an infrastructure that is important for this nation that will never come again. What it brings is so important and critical to our democracy. It would be challenging to recreate it again. The job today is to deliver it to audiences where they are. NPT has to be on all platforms but also engaging new audiences. NPT has been delivering content for 60 years and much more is to come.
What does the NPT audience look like?
It’s very similar to the national audience. NPT does skew heavily female except for programming like Tennessee Crossroads. And NPT is growing with families. There is a 24/7 kids channel that is also streamed live. The programming is also growing among cord cutters. NPT now has four channels, all free.
What are the most watched shows?
Tennessee Crossroads is the top viewed show, even ahead of Antiques Roadshow, which is the most viewed PBS show. There’s also NOVA, Nature and all our local shows do very well.
What is happening with Antiques Roadshow?
After a bit of a hiatus, Antiques Roadshow is kicking off a 2022 national tour and Nashville will be the first stop on the tour. They will be at Cheekwood on May 10 and tickets are available through a lottery.
Tell us about the Ken Burns Country Music series.
Ken Burns Country Music was an amazing series for PBS and Tennessee. It resonated with people all across the country and particularly in Tennessee. It shows us what it means to be an American. Ken Burns was amazed that people came out on his tour to see him across the state. NPT did some amazing companion pieces to the series.
How does PBS Passport work?
PBS Passport is an online portal of curated content you can see and binge watch early or have extended viewing. It is Netflix style and gives members some extended viewing privileges.
Viewers can move from being a viewer and become a member to help support public stations.
Becky shared about being a female CEO in broadcasting in 2022.
Becky has a lot of female friends who run stations and finds peer encouragement very important in her role. Presently, PBS has a female CEO Paula Kruger, the longest serving PBS President and CEO, and Patricia Harrison, the longest serving president and CEO of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting. They have been incredible role models for Becky. There is much more intention of including women and people of color in leadership now. All of the major commercial stations in Nashville have female CEOs.
Resources and Links
Becky Magura on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-magura-435aa61b/