Seattle public TV station KCTS announced today that award-winning producer Jeff Bieber, who’d been scheduled to join the station as vice president of content, has decided to stay put at public TV station WETA in Washington, D.C. Bieber apparently changed his mind for personal and professional reasons, and now KCTS must begin a search for his replacement just days before Bieber was supposed to start.
n a statement late Thursday, KCTS President and CEO Moss Bresnahan said, “We were looking forward to Jeff Bieber’s arrival at KCTS 9. But given Jeff’s commitment to several significant national productions already in progress, his desire to see them through is certainly understandable and we wish him all the best. Our candidate pool for this position included many talented and highly qualified applicants, so this is just a temporary delay.”
The position of vice president of content is a new one created as part of KCTS’ recent strategic planning efforts. In the new role, Bieber would have overseen KCTS 9's content division, including broadcast, production, interactive, and community engagement activities. He was scheduled to start Monday (Jan. 3).
Bieber's selection for the post was big news for KCTS in mid-November. In a press release announcing the hire, Bresnahan verged on the hyperbolic, saying, "Jeff's accomplishments at WETA and his strong record of producing programs that have had an impact beyond a successful television broadcast led our search committee to select him for this position. With him as our new Vice President of Content, we've taken a major step toward our goal of amplifying the power of public media through broadcast, online and community engagement."
Bieber, with a long public television resume and multiple prestigious awards, expressed his own happiness in the same release, saying, “I'm excited to join a public broadcasting station with such a rich legacy of community support. At such a critical time for broadcasting, as viewers are bombarded with hundreds of choices on air and online, I am looking forward to helping KCTS 9 remain strong while becoming the go-to public media destination for years to come.”
Channel 9 spokesman Jason Pagano said KCTS is reopening the position and provided this statement from Bieber:
“I have decided to decline the position of vice president for content at KCTS 9, and I will be staying at WETA to head news and public affairs production as well as developing new media projects. I have great respect for Moss Bresnahan and the terrific team I met at KCTS 9, and I regret causing them some turmoil as they fill this key position. With a strong, loyal audience and excellent staff, KCTS 9 is a leader in the public broadcasting system and will continue to be an innovative and important cultural institution.
"Ultimately, the timing of such a move for me created a conflict between a wonderful opportunity at KCTS 9 and the culmination of several major initiatives I have developed at WETA. In particular, The Latino Americans, an extensive public media project I envisioned three years ago, is now is poised to go into production with the breadth of scope to make the project an important cultural landmark. The best contribution I can make to the public media community right now is to guide these projects to their full potential.”