It has arguably been the fastest five years of my life and professionally among my most enjoyable.
This month marks my 5-year anniversary as executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting and it’s difficult to express how much enjoyment and excitement this new challenge has brought to my life.
Most people would surmise that after being in a position for five years that it is no longer new. Those folks, I add humorously, have never run a massive statewide network with millions of dollars in infrastructure and a complex web of technology where one missing element can wreak havoc. If there is a part of the job that keeps me up at night, it’s the hope and a prayer that our eight tower sites, 11 microwave sites and eight transmitter sites function as they should.
When we put together a run of weeks and months free of serious technical glitches, it allows me to focus on other parts of this incredible state asset. Most broadcasters are only concerned with maintaining a single tower and the ancillary equipment needed to support their signals. While I do keep a watchful eye on the complexities of technology, the high-tech equipment is one of the reasons that make this job so much fun. Through our broadcast capabilities, we are able to reach every home in the state on radio and television. That is a valuable resource from a programming standpoint and in times of emergency when we get can the word out to every home in the state over platforms not available to most broadcasters in Mississippi.
From the time they were tykes, I advised my children that they should pursue careers that were of so much interest to them that going to work was a joy rather than a means to an end. I’ve found that joy in the public broadcasting world and at MPB. I am thrilled that we’ve added 20-plus hours of local radio programming each week. I am ecstatic that we are producing high-quality documentaries that are always in contention for national awards. I am proud that we’ve built a news team that offers thoughtful commentary and adequate time for in-depth stories to be told properly. I am impressed at the amount of work our education staff does in early childhood education and dropout prevention, and their many outreach efforts touching the lives of thousands of students. I am delighted at the agency’s rebranding campaign and marketing efforts to bring more attention to our programming.
We have accomplished a lot in the past five years. My time here has passed so quickly that we have only really just begun. That’s the exciting part. That’s the part that energizes me and prepares me to attack a new day with enthusiasm, vigor, and high expectations.