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AETN Executive Director Pledger elected to PBS Board of Directors

Posted 30 Sep 2019

Courtney Pledger, executive director of the Arkansas Educational Television Network, has been elected to the PBS Board of Directors for a three-year term as a professional director. Professional directors are station leaders from the public television system.

"We are thrilled to have Courtney Pledger join the PBS Board of Directors," Paula Kerger

"We are thrilled to have Courtney Pledger join the PBS Board of Directors," Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS, said. "The strength of public television is in the community, where local stations such as those within the AETN network serve as beacons of education and inspiration for millions of Americans.

"A highly respected leader, Courtney brings a wealth of experience and strategic savvy that will help PBS and our system thrive amid a dynamic media landscape."

Except in the case of filling vacancies created by resignations, PBS member stations elect the professional directors. The full board elects general directors, the PBS president and professional directors filling vacancies on the board.

portrait photo of Courtney Pledger

"I am hugely honored to be able to represent AETN and my fellow PBS member stations by serving on the PBS Board of Directors," Pledger said. "I look forward to joining the national conversation and to helping shape the future of public media in our country."

Pledger joined AETN as executive director and CEO in 2017. Under her leadership, AETN has launched the Arkansas Citizens Access Network (AR-CAN) for broad-based, livestreaming coverage of state government proceedings; brought high school championship football and basketball games to viewers throughout Arkansas on AETN Sports; and spearheaded the national PBS program "State of the Art," which tells the story of the artists of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Additionally, she has implemented an extensive strategic plan and helped advance the network's footprint with the premiere of multiple digital series.

Pledger also serves on the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) executive committee.

Prior to her work at AETN, Pledger worked for more than 30 years in the film and television industry in management, story development and production. An Arkansas native, her first job was as an intern at a public television station while attending Millsaps College. She worked in Los Angeles, London and New York before returning to Arkansas in 2012 to revitalize the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, gaining designation for HSDFF as an Oscar-qualifier in the category of Documentary Short Subject by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Pledger is a recipient of Women in Film's Lillian Gish Producing Award, a Christopher Award and a nomination for a Primetime Emmy.

The PBS Board of Directors is responsible for governing and setting policy for PBS. In total, the Board comprises 27 members: 14 professional directors; 12 general directors; and the PBS president. All PBS Board members serve three-year terms, without pay. The PBS Board includes both professional directors, who are station leaders and elected by station members, and general directors, who represent the general public.

PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS's broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry's most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS's premier children's media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV— including a 24/7 channel, online at, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network is Arkansas's only statewide public media network, which enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers through the distinct channels AETN PBS, AETN Create, AETN PBS KIDS, AETN World and AETN AIRS on SAP. Audiences can also watch on several digital platforms, and members with AETN Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro) and KETZ (El Dorado).