PBS Member Stations Vote Vegas PBS General Manager Tom Axtell to Serve on the PBS Board

Posted by Latoya Bembry on

(Las Vegas) – PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger announced the results of the 2013–2014 voting that elected four station leaders to serve as Professional Directors on the PBS Board of Directors. Vegas PBS General Manager Tom Axtell was one of four individuals elected. This appointment marks Axtell’s fourth term serving on the PBS Board. Each of the directors will serve a three-year term that begins on November 6 at the fall meeting of the PBS Board.


Axtell has led several national task forces that led to major industry changes. A task force on K-12 education recommended leveraging the educational reach of public television through complimentary multimedia services on cable, online and mobile devices. A task force on more effective governance led to a restructuring of the PBS Board and changes in election procedures. The recent Funding the Vision II report recommended changes in the manner of requesting sponsorships from individuals, corporations and foundations.


“PBS and our member stations are in the midst of an exciting moment in our shared history – with the reach of our content and our system’s ability to impact lives continuing to grow,” said Kerger. “At the same time, our country’s still-recovering economy and the media landscape’s ongoing evolution challenges us to work in new ways. We are extremely fortunate to have Tom Axtell serving another term on our Board, which is composed of extraordinary leaders who give generously of their time, energy and expertise to guide our public service enterprise.”


The PBS Board includes both professional directors, who lead public television stations, and general directors, who represent the general public. The membership of PBS elects the professional directors. The general directors are elected by the Board, which also appoints the PBS president and CEO. The directors are responsible for governing and setting policy for PBS. In total, the Board comprises 27 members: 14 professional directors; 12 general directors; and the PBS president. All PBS Board members serve three-year terms without pay.

Axtell, who has served as general manager of Vegas PBS since 1994, has ushered in an era of innovation for the local public television station. Recognizing the need for an affordable, accessible and comprehensive workforce training program in a city that has experienced high unemployment, Axtell implemented Vegas Virtual Online Education. This program offers 330 professional certifications and 5,000 personal improvement courses for high school students, teachers, medical professionals, workforce training programs, and returning veterans. More than 115,000 students successfully completed courses last year.


In addition, Axtell is credited with the vision of operating a “green” station, paving the way for the construction and design of Vegas PBS’ Educational Technology Campus. Vegas PBS moved into its new Campus in 2009 following a successful $72 million capital campaign. The building is the nation’s first LEED Gold television facility, and first post-Katrina, post-9/11, FCC Media Security and Reliability Commission compliant studio. Vegas PBS operates a multi-cast television service; programs four additional cable and five EBS channels; manages a media library with more than 210,000 online and 16,000 on-the-shelf titles; an emergency communications data-casting service for police, fire fighters, hospitals, and schools; and a statewide Described and Captioned Media Center. An extensive Ready To Learn outreach program hosts more than 600 workshops a year attended by more than 100,000 people. Vegas PBS produces 20 local TV series and specials annually, plus extensive web content. The station routinely ranks in the top ten PBS stations in the Nielsen overnight metered market reports for sign on to sign off gross rating points.

Axtell’s prior service includes public radio stations in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Fargo, and public television stations in Spokane and Milwaukee. He has experience working for nonprofit, college, and school district licensees as well as markets where the stations operated in sole-service, duopoly and multi-market situations. He has left the industry a few times to work as a College Vice President for Development and State Senate Legislative Aide.

Axtell is active in Las Vegas community affairs, serving on the boards of the Atomic Testing Museum, United Way of Southern Nevada, Nevada Development Authority, Green Chips, Utah Shakespeare Festival Board of Governors, and Las Vegas Rotary. He has served on several industry boards including the Nevada Broadcasters Association, PBS, and NETA. Axtell graduated from Gonzaga University Law School, Spokane, Washington, and also holds a bachelor's degree in history from Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota. He has been married for 35 years and has twin daughters.


In addition to Axtell, three other PBS station executives were chosen in the 2013-2014 election:

  • Rich Homberg,President & CEO, Detroit Public Television, Detroit, MI
  • Shae Hopkins, Executive Director and CEO, Kentucky Educational Television
  • JoAnn Urofsky, General Manager, WUSF Public Media, Tampa, FL


Urofsky will be returning for a second term. Homberg and Hopkins, will be serving on the Board for the first time.


About Vegas PBS


Dedicated to enriching the lives of those who call Southern Nevada home, Vegas PBS Channel 10 is one of America’s most watched PBS stations on a per capita basis.  Five additional channels are available over the air or on cable and satellite including Create, Vme, Worldview, Rewind and Jackpot.


Vegas PBS expands its television broadcast impact through supplemental materials on Vegas PBS.org, PBSKids.org, PBSKidsGO.org, and PBSParents.org.  Vegas PBS also offers extensive online distance education for workforce development and economic diversification through Vegas Virtual Online Education.


Vegas PBS also provides educational resources to teachers including TeacherLine professional development courses; One Place, an educational media service and online curriculum service.  Ready To Learn offers literary and health workshops based on curriculum materials in daytime children’s programs.


For more information on programming and services, please visit www.VegasPBS.org, like us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/VegasPBS, or follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/VegasPBS.



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