CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina — David Crabtree, a veteran broadcast journalist who has served as interim general manager of PBS North Carolina since April, was named to the position today on a permanent basis, the UNC system announced.
The University of North Carolina Board of Governors voted to appoint Crabtree as CEO and Managing Director on the recommendation of UNC System President Peter Hans and with the support of the PBS North Board of Trustees Carolina and trustees of the North Carolina Public Television Foundation. He will assume the permanent role immediately.
“We are fortunate to have a seasoned professional who understands viewers, someone who knows and loves North Carolina, and someone who is deeply committed to the success of PBS North Carolina,” Hans said. “Throughout his interim leadership, he has listened attentively and put his considerable skills to work guiding an exceptional team of professionals in their mission to educate, inform and entertain North Carolinas.”
Crabtree joined the organization in April, replacing Lindsay Bierman, who served as CEO from August 2019 to March 2022. Over the past six months, Crabtree has prioritized one-on-one meetings with staff, contacts with board members and partners, and supporting staff as they deliver a strong portfolio of content, engagement and state education initiatives.
Crabtree and his team continue to navigate the rapidly changing media landscape with investments in cross-platform content distribution, including the launch of a redesigned pbsnc.org website and a new augmented reality app for young learners, Explore. NC, as well as ongoing efforts to explore the applications of NextGen TV technology in the delivery of educational content and resources.
“It became clear during David’s tenure that his leadership approach, extensive broadcast experience, connection to the state and commitment to public service made him uniquely qualified to lead the organization,” said Jack. Clayton, chairman of the board of PBS in North Carolina. “We are grateful for his service as a temp and excited for the opportunities he will bring to PBS North Carolina and the educational mission that is central to his 67-year history of serving the people of our state.”
In his permanent role, Crabtree will be responsible for the overall direction, strategic direction and operation of the organization, which has more than 150 permanent, temporary and contract employees statewide and a portfolio that includes engaging in-person, four over-the-air channels – PBS NC, North Carolina Channel, Rootle 24/7 PBS KIDS and Explorer Channel – and a growing digital portfolio for streaming content online. PBS North Carolina serves the third largest public media market in the United States, with over 90,000 members and an operating budget of over $30 million.
In addition to continuing to deliver the trusted content and transformational experiences the state has come to expect, under Crabtree’s leadership, PBS North Carolina will meet the demands of the present and the future by reintroducing itself to North Carolina and articulating its value proposition through a state brand awareness campaign, a first of its kind in the network. The powerful combination of Crabtree’s name recognition, extensive network of relationships, and the organization’s 10-year strategic plan enables PBS North Carolina to realize its long-term vision through a comprehensive fundraising campaign. “The future for PBS North Carolina is extremely bright,” Crabtree said. “I am honored to serve in this role and remain committed to the success and service mission of this valued public media network.”
Crabtree is well known in North Carolina after a distinguished career as a broadcast journalist at WRAL from 1994 to 2022. An anchor and journalist with three decades in the television news industry, he has received numerous awards, including 16 Emmys Awards, an Edward R. Murrow Regional Award, and the duPont and Gabriel Awards. He was named Reporter of the Year four times by the Radio Television News Directors Association and won the Distinguished Service Award from the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters.
Crabtree’s dedication to public service includes serving on the boards of the Hospice of Wake County, Duke Raleigh Hospital, Duke Children’s Hospital, North Carolina Symphony and Duke University Divinity School.
A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Crabtree holds a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in theological studies from Duke University’s School of Divinity.
About the University of North Carolina System
The University of North Carolina system enrolls nearly 250,000 students at 17 institutions, including the state’s 16 public universities and the nation’s first public residential high school for academically gifted students. The UNC system is one of the strongest and most diverse higher education systems in the nation, with more than $1.8 billion in research expenditures and campuses that serve every region of the state. Affiliated organizations include UNC Health and PBS North Carolina, with its 12-station broadcast network.
About PBS North Carolina
As North Carolina’s statewide PBS network serving the nation’s third largest public media market, PBS North Carolina educates, informs, entertains and inspires its audience on air, online and online. nobody. Through its unique partnership of public investment and private support, the network includes in-person engagement, digital-first social and online content delivery and four live channels: PBS NC, the North Carolina channel , Rootle 24/7 PBS Kids and the Explorer Channel. Additionally, PBS NC serves as the backbone of North Carolina State Emergency Services.