February 23, 2009

Petrowich to lead WSIU Public Broadcasting

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Greg Petrowich is the new executive director of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s WSIU Public Broadcasting.

Gary P. Kolb, dean of the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, announced Petrowich’s hiring today (Feb. 23). The appointment requires ratification by the SIU Board of Trustees.

Petrowich has more than 18 years experience in the public broadcasting field. He is the general manager and CEO of KUAC-FM/TV/DT -- the public broadcast stations at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a post he has held since April 2002. Prior to that, he managed KRCU-FM, the public radio service at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, from May 1996 to April 2002. He also served as operations director at KRCU-FM from August 1991 to May 1996.

Petrowich replaces Candice S. Isberner, who retired in April. Delores J. Kerstein, WSIU Public Broadcasting associate director, has been serving as interim director.

“I'm thrilled to have Greg Petrowich join us here at WSIU Public Broadcasting as the new executive director,” Kolb said. “He brings a wealth of experience and a reputation for solid performance to the job. Greg is a Saluki alumnus from our Radio-Television program and has an abiding love for the University and a deep knowledge of WSIU. He is the strong leader we needed at this time of many challenges and I look forward to working with him to build on the many successes of WSIU.”

A Red Bud native who grew up in New Athens, Petrowich got his start in public broadcasting as a volunteer coordinator at WSIU-FM from August 1989 to August 1990. He served as assistant operations manager at WSIU-FM from August 1990 to August 1991.

Petrowich earned his bachelor’s degree in radio-television from SIUC in 1991; he earned SIUC Broadcasting Service Student of the Year honors also in 1991.

Petrowich was among three “very strong” finalists for the position, Kolb said. He thanked the search committee for its “excellent job conducting our search in the fall -- including in getting a high-quality and diverse pool of applicants to apply.”

KUAC-FM/TV/DT has 25 full-time employees with an annual operating budget of $3.4 million. Petrowich is president of Alaska Public Broadcasting Service and Alaska One Public Television.

Petrowich said his academic experience at SIUC and professional work experience at WSIU “proved to be equally significant factors in shaping my career path.” He said he looks forward to returning to SIUC, and hopes to start on or about March 30.

“It’s an incredible honor to have the chance to return to SIU and work with the team that introduced me to the mission of public broadcasting,” he said.

“I believe now more than ever our society requires independent and trusted media sources. WSIU has a rich tradition of serving Southern Illinois in this role for half a century, however, when it comes to the media landscape, all of us know that the next 50 years will have little in common with the last 50,” he said. “Our challenge is to create a sustainable media organization for the future that meets the needs of the community and the University while always remaining true to our core values.”

Petrowich’s prior experience also includes jobs as an announcer/newscaster at WHCO-AM in Sparta, a news producer at WIDB in Carbondale, and a sportscaster at WXAN-FM in Ava. He was the valedictorian at New Athens High School in 1987.

Petrowich and his wife have two children.