JACKSON, Miss. – Royal Aills, a broadcast veteran who has led teams at both commercial and public television stations, has been named the new executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting.
Aills, general manager of RSU Public TV at Rogers State University, was selected by the Mississippi Authority for Educational Television Board of Directors after a national search.
“After a nationwide search, the board is pleased to have Royal Aills join our agency as executive director to lead our award-winning staff as we continue broadcast excellence in Mississippi,” said Board Chairman David Allen. “We look forward to supporting him as he begins his work to take MPB to the next level of excellence.”
Aills officially starts in the role Sept. 19. He succeeds Ronnie Agnew, who left MPB in December 2021 to become general manager for WOSU, the public media station in Columbus, Ohio. MPB News Director Teresa Collier has served as interim executive director during the search process.
Aills said he is grateful for the opportunity to advance MPB’s mission of providing more than a half-century of educational and entertaining programming.
“Mississippi Public Broadcasting has a rich history of local programming that is an inspiration to me,” Aills said. “MPB is doing it right. Whether it’s educational programming, profiling a historical location or person or delivering news and information, this is what we as public broadcasters do well.
“I am looking forward to meeting all the team members and working together to continue building programming that educates, enlightens and entertains Mississippians across the state.”
During his tenure as general manager of RSU TV, Aills’ team won numerous awards, including four Emmys, created the Distance Learning Channel in the wake of the pandemic and produced Oklahoma’s only televised high school academic competition gameshow, which has provided $132,000 in scholarships to students.
Aills previously was general manager of KWHB TV 47, an independent commercial station in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that was part of the LeSea Network, based in South Bend, Indiana.
He began his career working as a photojournalist and producer at KHBS 40/29 in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and KJRH Channel 2 in Tulsa, where he covered some of the most significant stories in the state’s history, including the Oklahoma City bombing and devastating tornadoes.
In 1998, he was hired by Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) to manage its Tulsa office while filling numerous roles – from news reporter to Public Affairs director. Aills was the main anchor of the award-winning talk show, “Tulsa Times,” a program designed to take an in-depth look into the top issues affecting Oklahoma’s residents.
Aills is a graduate of John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. He and his wife, Karen Aills, have three daughters.
Mississippi Public Broadcasting provides relevant instructional and public affairs programming to Mississippians through its statewide television and radio network. MPB enhances the work of educators, students, parents and learners of all ages by providing informative programming and educational resources. MPB’s locally-produced programming focuses on the people, resources and attractions that reflect Mississippi’s unique culture and diverse heritage. Children’s television programs constitute a major portion of the daytime and weekend morning schedules. MPB provides a valuable resource to Mississippians in disseminating information as part of the state’s emergency preparedness and response system. Since 1970, MPB has won over 350 national, regional and statewide awards, including Emmy®, Edward R. Murrow and Parents’ Choice® Awards.