HBS Club of San Diego



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CEO Forum Series - Tom Karlo, General Manager, KPBS


Fish & Richardson
10/3/2017 7:00 AM to 10/3/2017 9:00 AM


"What's Hot & What's Trending..." 


The HBS Club of San Diego Presents...

CEO Forum Series





Tom Karlo

General Manager, KPBS



October 3, 2017

7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.



Fish & Richardson Law Center
12390 El Camino Real
San Diego, CA 92130


Public Broadcasting: A Radical Rethink in a Uncertain Environment

Just as KPBS has been hitting its stride as converged news organization, the threat of elimination of federal funding for public broadcasting, the state of journalism under fire in a hostile political environment, KPBS must completely rethink its business strategy and redefine success in order to remain relevant.  

KPBS General Manager Tom Karlo will provide a deep dive into his strategy to evolve KPBS as the most trusted source for local news in San Diego. Tom will share how the media industry’s shift to digital disrupted traditional broadcasting and led to KPBS becoming a converged news organization, reporting on TV, radio, and digital platforms. While this transformation brought great success and growth to the organization, making it an example among public broadcasting stations nationally, this new operating environment requires a courageous response. Tom will outline KPBS’s plan to survive and thrive in an ever changing media landscape.


TOM KARLO has been KPBS’ general manager since February 2009, but his career at KPBS began in 1973 as a part time assistant while studying television and film at San Diego State University. He won three local Emmys prior to his transition into management. Tom is the 5th general manager in KPBS’ history. Prior to becoming general manager, he served as associate general manager for more than a decade.

Tom’s vision for KPBS is to be the most trusted source of serious journalism in San Diego. In 2009, Tom merged the TV, radio, and digital departments into one content producing center, focused on journalism. Under his leadership, the station created KPBS Evening Edition on TV, shifted KPBS’ online content to focus on news, and expanded the radio schedule to feature news and information 24 hours a day.

The results have been impressive, with audience and fundraising growth over the last seven years. KPBS has also won numerous prestigious awards under Tom’s leadership. Most notably, the station won the 2015 USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism for the station’s coverage of the scandal surrounding San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. This was the second time in five years the station was honored by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Tom is very community driven in his role as general manager. He spends much of his time representing KPBS in the community and deepening relationships with new and current donors and corporate partners. In August 2016, Tom was honored by PBS as the Development Professional of the Year.

Tom has lived in San Diego for more than 40 years. He and his wife Julie have been married for 43 years. They have three grown children and four grandchildren.

Outside of KPBS, Tom has spent many of his fall weekends for the last 36 years as a cameraman for NFL Films. He has filmed 14 Super Bowls and received a National Emmy for Sports Cinematography for HBO’s Inside the NFL.

Tom serves the following organizations:
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) - Board of Directors, Executive Committee 
California Public Television (CPT) - Board of Directors, Vice Chair
Sharp Health Care - Board of Directors
Sharp Grossmont Hospital - Board of Directors
San Diego Downtown Rotary - Member








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