Milwaukee PBS — the nation’s top-rated PBS station — is focusing on high-quality local programs and adapting to an ever-changing media landscape in a new five-year strategic plan announced to members and volunteers Monday.
The station, a licensee of Milwaukee Area Technical College, worked over the past six months to develop the plan with a consultant experienced in strategy for public television and radio stations.
High-quality content is the focus of the plan, which includes launching a national search for Milwaukee PBS’ first Chief Content Officer. This new senior executive will direct a broadcast and digital team to develop programs that will sometimes launch first online, as one example. While technology enables the station to share content more quickly than in the past, quality storytelling will remain the focus.
“This plan comes at an exciting time for us, including the critical role we will play in coverage of the upcoming 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee. Milwaukee PBS will host both the PBS NewsHour and Washington Week productions and staff,” General Manager Bohdan Zachary said.
The strategic plan also addresses the Great TV Auction, a longtime institution at the station. In the last year, Milwaukee PBS made a sustained effort to revitalize the auction, including bringing it to a newly-renovated space. A thorough review of revenues and costs, however, found that the reality is clear: online auctions and shopping through any number of services have changed the way people shop and this fundraising effort ultimately generated a net loss for the station.
New fundraising efforts, including a focus on planned giving and encouraging more online giving from donors, will replace the revenue that it once generated. Longtime auction volunteers will have the opportunity to support an appraisal fair to be held this fall, among other events.
“We are excited to start this new chapter in partnership with our members and volunteers, who will continue to help drive our success and maintain our status as the nation’s most watched PBS station,” Zachary said.
# # #
About Milwaukee PBS
Milwaukee PBS is southeastern Wisconsin’s premier non-commercial media organization. Milwaukee PBS consists of two high-definition television stations, WMVS and WMVT, and four additional digital television services. The Milwaukee PBS stations are the area’s only over-the-air source for PBS and other national public television programs. The stations are watched by over 627,770 viewers each week throughout southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Milwaukee PBS is a viewer-supported service of Milwaukee Area Technical College. MATC is a two-year vocational-technical college based in Milwaukee, WI offering day, evening and weekend classes on four campuses. For more information, visit www.MilwaukeePBS.org.