Patrick Butler, retired senior vice president of The Washington Post, has been named president and CEO of the Association of Public Television Stations, which represents noncommercial interests.
Butler is a member of the APTS board and chair of the Maryland Public Television Foundation.
Butler's resume also includes entries founder and former president of Newsweek Productions while with The Washington Post, Washington vice president of Times Mirror, and government relations vice president with RCA. Butler will take over as of Jan. 1.
He joins at a time when noncommercial TV could be in budget-cutter's sites. Republicans, soon to be back in control of the House, have periodically called for cutting or zeroing out noncom funding, a call joined last week by the co-chairs of an Obama administration advisory commission, which advised zeroing out federal funding for noncommercial radio and TV.
APTS president Larry Sidman resigned April 1. Lonna Thompson has been serving as interim president and CEO, though she had said she did not want the job full-time. She serves as APTS executive vice president and general counsel.
"Pat has significant experience and APTS is fortunate that he has a passion for the mission of public media," said APTS board chairman Rod Bates in announcing the new hire.
"Public television has a unique role to play in educating America's children and adults alike, in programming ranging from Sesame Street to the works of Ken Burns that could not be replicated anywhere else," Butler told MultichannelNews, when asked to sum up the value of the service in the face of those government threats. "We also take our public affairs mission very seriously, as dozens of candidate debates in the 2010 campaigns made clear, in an atmosphere of civility that is increasingly rare in our country.
And public television stations are performing important public services ranging from online educational platforms to emergency response systems with new communications technologies that are the direct result of federal investments,"he continued. "Congress and the Administration should be proud of these investments in public broadcasting, which the American people have consistently ranked as among the finest uses of their tax dollars."