Longtime Public Broadcasting Service executive Andrew Russell is joining PBS SoCal as chief operating officer as the public television station ramps up its operations to better serve Southern California.
Russell, who currently serves as PBS' senior vice president for strategy and research, has more than 18 years' experience with PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, where he helped shape PBS' prime-time schedule and developed the Ready-to-Learn service for pre-school children.
He is expected to help lead the efforts of the Costa Mesa-based station, also known as KOCE-TV, to increase its revenue and profile in the community, including opening a facility in downtown Los Angeles. Russell will be charged with expanding local content with an eye toward creating programming that can be syndicated nationally.
The station became the primary PBS outlet in the Los Angeles region in 2011 when KCET-TV dropped its affiliation to become an independent.
“Andy brings vast experience in strategic programming content, new business development, and digital, interactive media for public TV and radio, making him the perfect person to help drive our growth and guide our strategic direction," PBS SoCaL chief executive Mel Rogers said in a statement.
Russell, 53, has an MBA from Stanford University, a masters degree from Princeton University and a bachelors degree from UC Davis. The Mill Valley, Calif., native plans to join the station in early March. He will report to Rogers.
Rogers noted that Russell has been PBS’ facilitator on primary station launches in Los Angeles and Orlando, Fla. "So he knows today’s Southern California issues very well," Rogers said.