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Announcing the New Digital Advisory Council Class

How good was this year’s batch of applicants for the Digital Advisory Council?

You could make a fantastic council from the people who weren’t selected. The Digital Advisory Council is a group of station leaders who work closely with the SPI team (and Ira Rubenstein, PBS Digital’s senior vice president and Don Wilcox, our new vice president of marketing and services) on everything from shaping the strategic direction of PBS Digital’s efforts to improving our communication with station leaders.

As you might surmise, we had a record number of applications this year – 28 people from around the system, to replace departing members.

Our team here went over the applications with current council members. Phrases like “embarrassment of riches” were tossed around. So were things like “how are we supposed to whittle this list down to just three?”

In the end, I fell back on some of the lessons I learned covering politics (in a different century): we cheated. But just a bit. We’re pleased to announce that the new members are:

  • Deanna Mackey, station manager at KPBS, San Diego
  • Alexis Rapo, vice president for digital media at WGBH, Boston (producer representative)
  • Dana Robling, associate general manager for marketing and development at Eight, Arizona PBS
  • Larry Rohrer, director of content at South Dakota Public Broadcasting
  • Dolores Sukhdeo, chief executive officer at WPBT2, Miami 
  • Colleen Wilson, executive director of interactive for KQED, San Francisco. (Edited to add.)

These new members will join with our holdovers – and those rotating off – at the annual in-person DAC Summit held at PBS Dec. 11-12.

Those departing members, by the way, deserve many thanks beyond what we can express. There’s precious little prestige – and more than a little extra work – in serving on the DAC (we’re always using them as guinea pigs, and sucking up free time with “what if” conversations). Please join us in thanking these three who are rotating off after serving the maximum term limit of three years on the council:

  • Anne Gleason, vice president of marketing and new media at WTTW, Chicago – and our outgoing council chair
  • David Dickinson, online manager at Wisconsin Public Television 
  • Teresa Peltier, digital content manager at WSKG, Binghamton, N.Y. 

We’re also losing two other members – Cheryl Spitale-Jones, Digital Media Director at Detroit Public Television, who opted not to seek the optional third year on her term; and Christiane Wartell, former of interactive production at WNET, who recently left Thirteen.

Thanks as well to all the folks who applied and weren’t selected. It truly was a numbers game this year. We’re highly likely to pick on errr, call ‘em for favors as new projects and ideas crop up in 2015 – and we want to encourage all to apply again. With such a strong advisory council in place for Digital, we look forward to seeing what 2015 will bring.

For more about the DAC review the council's charter.

Look for a follow up report out post about the upcoming DAC Summit.

By Tom Davidson | Sr. Director | PBS Digital

Last updated: 11/20/2014 12:43PM EST

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