WASHINGTON – Corp. for Public Broadcasting president and CEO Richard Carlson is stepping down after almost five years at the helm of the pubcast umbrella organization.
In a memo to CPB staffers released immediately after a CPB board meeting Monday, Carlson said he was resigning to allow another president to lead public broadcasting into the digital era.
“This is a logical juncture for CPB to seek new leadership – someone with his vision of what broadcasting is about to become, and someone willing to commit to dealing with this challenge over the next several years,” Carlson wrote.
Carlson, a Republican, was hired during the Bush administration. In the intervening years, membership of the CPB board has become more Democratic, creating a less comfortable environment for Carlson.
Some members of the pubcaster community felt Carlson should have done more two years ago when Republicans took over Congress and began attacking public broadcasting and threatening its federal funding. CPB was attacked by Republicans including House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and former Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Larry Pressler (R-S.D.), who claimed it was a bloated bureaucracy that was siphoning off much of the almost $300 million in federal subsidies for back-office operations rather than station operations. CPB’s main function is to distribute the annual federal subsidy to members stations and the Public Broadcasting Service.