President and General Manager
MESSAGE FROM OUR PRESIDENT & GENERAL MANAGER | May 2021
A Month of the Arts with Vegas PBS
From Inside the Met: The Birthday Surprise to Great Performances: Uncle Vanya and much more, this month we bring Southern Nevadans exceptional fine arts series and documentaries. Our arts programming continues to be an audience favorite, particularly as opportunities to see live performances and visit museums haven’t been as easy to
access. In addition to the creative arts, we honor some of the most creative people of the past year: educators. The Heart of Education Awards for CCSD Teachers, presented with The Smith Center, celebrates the exceptional work and successes these national heroes performed in some of the most challenging circumstances.
On Inside the Met: The Birthday Surprise, airing Friday, May 21 at 9 p.m., discover how the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 150th birthday is upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the art institution to close its doors for the first time in history, while facing financial losses and a battle to protect artistic treasures. Then, bringing the theatrical stage to Southern Nevadan’s living rooms, don’t miss Great Performances: Uncle Vanya on Friday, May 7 at 9 p.m. Experience Anton Chekov’s masterpiece in this Olivier Award-winning West End production adapted by Conor McPherson starring Toby Jones and Richard Armitage from London’s Harold Pinter Theater.
Vegas PBS and The Smith Center bring you The Heart of Education Awards for CCSD Teachers with a special one-hour broadcast on Sunday, May 23 at 8 p.m. This awards ceremony celebrates exceptional educators who make teaching an art in the Clark County School District. From academic challenges to mental health struggles, educators across the country have been a vital light for children throughout the country during this challenging time. We are proud to celebrate their creative solutions by honoring this year’s award recipients on our broadcast, and the entire Vegas PBS family thanks them.
There was tremendous excitement at Vegas PBS when our Special Needs Resource Library reopened for in-person appointments. We held a special celebration for the first family to visit the library since its closing. The library is dedicated to serving those with special needs throughout the state of Nevada, their parents, caregivers and service providers. Anyone interested can make an appointment by calling 702.799.1010 Option 7 or emailing email@example.com. In addition to in-person appointments, the library will continue to offer curbside no contact pick-up with the ability to place orders online. And finally, for those who cannot visit the library, we offer free mail delivery throughout the state of Nevada as grant funds allow. Order media at vegaspbs.org/specialneeds.
As we get closer to in-person activities we will continue to offer our resources to the community in the safest ways possible. From the arts in your living room to award-winning educational resources we are known for providing, it is all made possible by the support of our members. Thank you for being there for us while we continue to be there for our community.
All the best,
Vegas PBS Leadership | Bios
President and General Manager
Mary Mazur is President and General Manager of Vegas PBS and the first woman to lead the station in its 53-year history. In her position she oversees Vegas PBS’ overall strategic direction and the management of day-to-day affairs across all business units. She also serves as the executive director of the Southern Nevada Public Television (SNPT) Board of Directors. An award-winning television executive, Mazur was previously general manager of Arizona PBS. Under her leadership, Arizona PBS produced 120 hours of news content annually, and launched two new local programs, receiving multiple regional Emmy nominations and awards.
Prior to joining Arizona PBS, Mazur was executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Los Angeles-based KCETLink Media Group. There, she oversaw KCET’s move to a new state-of-the-art facility and was a member of the executive team that guided the successful merger between KCET and LinkTV to form the KCETLink Media Group.
Mazur was the executive producer for KCET’s nationally distributed programs A Place of Our Own and its Spanish language companion Los Niños en SuCasa. Under her direction as chief content officer for KCET, the station received more than 380 awards for programming, including four George Foster Peabody Awards and three Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards. Mazur herself is the recipient of two Peabody Awards, a duPont Award and a regional Emmy Award. Prior to joining KCETLink Media Group, Mazur was senior vice president of series development at Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, and prior to that served in a similar role at Patchett Kaufman Entertainment. A graduate of Santa Clara University, Mazur also has worked in program development for both the NBC and CBS networks.
Dr. Niki Bates
Educational Media Services Director
Dr. Niki Bates is the Director of Educational Media Services. In her position, Dr. Bates provides supervision, strategic direction and innovative leadership for the station’s educational outreach beyond the broadcast and unique services that have been developed to assist Nevada’s public, private, charter and home schools, such as: a media library for families with special needs; early learning parent engagement workshops; teacher training and online classroom materials; K-12 programs and initiatives; and more. With more than 28 years of experience, Dr. Bates’ passion is education, and she is unwavering in her commitment to serving schools and the community. She holds a Master of Special Education degree and a Doctoral Educational Leadership degree with a minor in curriculum development. Dr. Bates also holds an executive certificate in leadership and management.
Sal Carrera is the Director of Development. Carrera oversees the short-term and long-term fundraising strategies for the station, including membership, major gifts, corporate partnerships, planned giving, grants and other philanthropic efforts. He is also responsible for cultivating funder relationships with individuals, corporations and foundations looking to support Vegas PBS in various areas including corporate underwriting, productions, educational workshops, emergency communications, capital equipment and more. Prior to Vegas PBS, Carrera worked for a large media company in Santa Monica, CA, Las Vegas, NV, and Denver, CO, in various capacities including research and local and national sales. For over a decade, he blended that love for broadcasting with education and led an innovative K-12 public school outreach model in ten languages designed to engage parents through events, web streaming, social media, radio, television and newspaper. Carrera is originally from Carpentaria, California, where he attended Cate High School and later, the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Production Services Director
Kareem Hatcher is the Director of Production Services. He is responsible for the administration and operation of broadcast and non-broadcast program production for the station. Hatcher joined Vegas PBS in 1990 as a student worker and gradually advanced to his current position. As a Las Vegas native, he has used his understanding of the unique needs of the Las Vegas audience to guide his vision for the Vegas PBS production department with organizational talent and expertise. Throughout his career he has gained expertise in all facets of television production. Within the time Hatcher has been with Vegas PBS, he has worked on multiple documentaries, live pledge drives, educational videos and was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2010.
Business and Finance Manager
Brandon Merrill is the Business and Finance Manager. Merrill is responsible for all aspects of fiscal management including budgeting, financial reporting, grant management and compliance with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). He has worked in both the private and public sector with a significant understanding of both GASB and FASB reporting. Merrill graduated from Southern Utah University with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and continued his education at Arizona State University, receiving his Master of Business Administration. He has been with Vegas PBS since 2011 and with the Clark County School District since 2005. Merrill and his wife are the lucky parents to six beautiful daughters and one son. He enjoys spending time with his family, being in the outdoors, being actively involved with his community and church, and seems to always be working on a home improvement project.
Communications and Brand Management Director
Allison P. Monette is the Director of Communications and Brand Management. In her role, Monette directs strategic communication, branding and marketing for all station initiatives, programming and events. She is also responsible for managing the station’s paid and earned media efforts, print, digital and social media platforms. A bilingual communications professional, Monette began her career as a television news reporter for the NBC affiliate KNDU-TV in Washington state. After leaving the newsroom, she focused on helping nonprofits and government agencies advance their missions through strategic communications, digital marketing and social media initiatives. Prior to joining Vegas PBS, Monette worked with organizations including the United Way of Southern Nevada, the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, the Clark County School District and more. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and Spanish from the University of San Diego and Master of Communication Management degree from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Monette is a member of the Junior League of Las Vegas, the Public Relations Society of America and American Marketing Association Las Vegas Chapters. She has received various PRSA Pinnacle Awards and been featured in Real Vegas Magazine Women Who Wow and Las Vegas Woman Magazine 2019 Local Leaders.
Cyndy Robbins is the Director of Content. First joining the station in 2007, Robbins oversees several departments including traffic, programming, and communications. Robbins began her career in public media at Nebraska Educational Television, serving as the assistant to the Ready To Learn specialist. After receiving her master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, she joined the staff at Iowa Public Television, where she spent 10 years working in programming. Robbins was named Chair of the PBS Programming Advisory Council in March 2021 and serves on the PBS Pledge Advisory Council, the PBS KIDS Leadership Council and American Public Television’s (APT) Pledge Advisory Group. She also served on the PBS Development Advisory Committee (DAC), Marketing Advisory Committee (MAC), as well as the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) Programming Council and the Public Television Programmers’ Association (PTPA) board. Robbins is a graduate of the Las Vegas Metro Chamber's Leadership Las Vegas and has received several awards, including a PBS Development Inspiration Award for the “Do Your Part” campaign, a Golden Grid Award, a regional Emmy, numerous Pinnacle Awards, and has been featured in VEGAS INC. and Las Vegas Woman.
Workforce Training and Economic Development Director
Debra Solt is the Director of Workforce Training and Economic Development. In her position, Solt manages the station’s high stakes testing center which proctors exams for licensed occupations, high school completion and job qualifications. As part of the station’s workforce initiative, her department’s programs add capacity to Vegas PBS’ existing workforce system by offering candidates the choice to complete online programs. Solt is known nationally and internationally as a specialist in partnering with business and industry for the development and implementation of customized workforce programs that produce measurable results for clients and the community-at-large. Prior to joining Vegas PBS, Solt spent over fourteen years in higher education in Nevada and Washington State.
Engineering, IT and Emergency Response Director
John Turner is the Director of Engineering, IT and Emergency Response systems. Turner supervises all informational technology, engineering and emergency response functions. He also directs technical planning and the direction of Vegas PBS’ broadcast systems. Turner is an Emmy award winning television manager with over 30 years in commercial television news. Turner has received Emmy and Telly awards for his news coverage during the Persian Gulf War, Los Angeles riots, Northridge Earthquake, trial of O.J. Simpson and Hurricane Katrina. He previously worked at KLAS-TV as the Assistant Chief Engineer and Director of News Operations, as well as for KVVU-TV as the Assistant Chief Engineer. Turner holds a Master of Forensic Psychology degree from the University of Southern California. He sits on the Local Emergency Planning Commission (LEPC) as the media representative and co-chairs the PIO position. He has also served as a Reserve Police Officer for the Boulder City Police, staff at Disney Parks, and Technical Director for the Rams football team and Angels baseball team.