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People behind the numbers in area business: Jim Pagliarini

  • December 30, 2012 - 2:07 PM

JIM PAGLIARINI, TWIN CITIES PUBLIC TELEVISION

Title: President and CEO

Age: 59

Jim Pagliarini, president and CEO of Twin Cities Public Television (TPT), is leading the station's transformation into a public media company while completing a $30 million fundraising campaign.

Pagliarini, who recently marked his 15th year at TPT, said changing consumer expectations and new media tools are driving the transformation. While TPT has been recognized as one of the nation's best and most-viewed public TV stations, the word "television" no longer appears in the 55-year-old nonprofit station's mission statement, he noted. "It's the recognition of the organization, the board and the leadership that we now are a multimedia organization that has tools at our disposal beyond television," he said.

The capital campaign, expected to close by the end of 2013, is supporting new programming and online ventures.

While general audience and children's programming will continue, Pagliarini said, new initiatives will focus on people at three stages of life: children, with a focus on school readiness, literacy and science, technology, engineering and math; 45- to 65-year-olds; and younger adults -- the millennials.

Before joining TPT in 1997, Pagliarini spent 15 years as CEO and general manager of the public television station in Reno, Nev., a station he helped found.

Q What drew you into a career in public TV?

A While I was in college, I became really interested in children's television. I used to, just for fun, watch "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood." I had the opportunity to work with a producer of "Mr. Rogers" when I was an undergraduate, and that completely changed my vision for what I wanted to be in the future. I wanted to work in the field of media that could do good things for kids.

Q How is the nonprofit media model changing?

A I'm not sure pledge drives are going to appeal to the generation of people using public television 15 years from now. Part of what we are beginning to explore is what are the means and mechanisms by which individuals who value what we do can express that appreciation through a financial contribution. I fundamentally believe very strongly that media will continue to be the most powerful and pervasive tool we have in our society to educate and inspire people. Our advantage is we can occupy a niche in this marketplace where, if we can continue to provide value, I strongly believe that we'll continue to earn the support of foundations and individuals and government funding. 

Q How did TPT's new live music show, "Lowertown Line," get developed? (The pilot airs at 8:30 p.m. Monday on TPT2 and will be rebroadcast and posted online Jan. 1.)

A That's one of the tactical ideas we have to engage this new generation, this younger generation. There's so much musical talent here, we've said "We've got to do a music show at TPT." We have the pilot. There's every intention for that to grow into a series here at TPT.

TODD NELSON

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