During the June 13 meeting of the WVIA Board of Directors, a three-year plan was approved, where Tom Curra was elected WVIA’s fourth President and Chief Executive Officer and assumes
overall management responsibility. Billy Kelly is now President Emeritus and Chief Development Officer and will remain active as consultant and on-air producer/host while concentrating on building the WVIA Endowment.
The WVIA Board of Directors is comprised of 21 women and men drawn from throughout WVIA’s 22-county coverage area. They are regional leaders in medicine, law, new media, hospitality, finance, business, philanthropy, education and the arts with responsibility for the FCC broadcast licenses, oversight of fiscal matters and evaluation of management’s performance. In January of this year the board commissioned a Lancaster based human resources consultant to lead WVIA through a strategic planning exercise that determined the timing for proposed changes was excellent.
Curra, a filmmaker/producer, former commercial broadcaster and educator, entrepreneurial thinker and leader has been known to colleagues as a “change agent.” During his nine years at WVIA, Curra was mentored by Kelly and the Board of Directors with responsibilities that expanded from TV production and programming to development to management and strategic planning for all areas of the stations. He came to WVIA in 2004 after making and funding an ambitious regional movie called “Stories from the Mines.” The film became the single most successful local program and fundraiser at WVIA to that time.
Kelly is positioned for leadership of the WVIA Endowment, which will help secure a future less dependent on government funding. Like Curra, also a former commercial broadcaster and educator, Kelly is approaching 40 years at WVIA in various roles but always centered on development and marketing. He became President and CEO in 1991 and led the station through several funding threats while embracing opportunities for the future.
Recognized nationally for his advocacy efforts in 2006 by America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), his on-air journalism skills have won WVIA new audiences, most significantly in the last five years as Executive Producer and host of the station’s acclaimed “Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal.”
WVIA Public Media Studios is approaching its 50th year as the region’s PBS and NPR affiliates, licensed for non-commercial public service through programs and projects unavailable on commercial television and radio. WVIA has led in reacting to financial setbacks, most recently Pennsylvania’s elimination of state funding after a 40-year history.
A million dollars was lost in less than a year but WVIA responded quickly by becoming newly energized and entrepreneurial, ending that fiscal year without a deficit thanks to the generosity of donors and members who embraced the stations at a critical time.
Technology also has long been a WVIA hallmark, in 2001 when the station became this region’s first HDTV broadcaster. Later WVIA built a high-definition theater where a warehouse once stood, enabling new interactive programs, concerts, debates, arts competitions and classroom experiences for people of all ages.
Each year thousands of regional residents come to WVIA to participate in live television and radio. Funded by a successful capital campaign and savings set aside by management for decades, WVIA’s comprehensive digital transition was made possible by regional citizens.