Monday, November 22, 2010

There's a New 'Big Bird' at Rhode Island PBS!

PROVIDENCE, RI – (November 22, 2010) – David W. Piccerelli of Barrington, RI, has been named president and chief executive officer of WSBE Rhode Island PBS. Michael B. Isaacs, chairperson of the Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority (RIPTA), made the announcement after the board voted to approve Piccerelli's selection at its meeting on November 18. The Authority is the governing body that owns and operates WSBE and holds the broadcast license for its two channels: Rhode Island PBS (digital 36.1) and Learn (36.2).

"The board's unanimous decision demonstrates our confidence in David’s leadership," Isaacs said. "David has the right combination of management skill and business acumen, as well as a clear appreciation and enthusiasm for the station's mission. It's that balance of qualities that impressed the board, and will serve the station's best interests now and into the future."

Mr. Piccerelli joined WSBE in 1998, and was promoted to vice-president and chief financial officer in 2003. He has been serving as acting president since March, when the station's former president, Robert Fish, left the position on extended medical leave. Mr. Fish passed away in July.

Isaacs said the vacancy was advertised nationally. The Authority's search committee screened some 24 applicants – including a number from within the PBS system - interviewed candidates and narrowed the field. Isaacs noted that Mr. Piccerelli's familiarity and experience in the station's day to day management were advantages, but Isaacs said the board was most impressed by Piccerelli's competence and commitment. "David successfully demonstrated to the search committee and the board that he understands the station's important role in education, in the community, and in delivering uniquely Rhode Island programming and services to the residents of our state."

"I am honored to have been chosen," said Piccerelli. "My two predecessors were local broadcasting legends, who left indelible marks on the station," he said, referring to Susan L. Farmer, WSBE's president for 17 years, and Bob Fish, who was a commercial radio and television executive before joining the station in 2005.

"The broadcast media landscape continues to change rapidly," observes Piccerelli, who shepherded the station's complex multi-year $3.8 million conversion from analog to full digital broadcasting in 2009. "WSBE has been Rhode Island's source for educational media for 43 years. But it's not just about great television anymore. It's about expanding the traditional definition of education and moving existing programs and services in new directions – on-air, online, and in the community."

Piccerelli said the station's greatest limitation has only ever been financial, not a lack of innovative ideas and talent among the staff. "We've faced many obstacles and challenges over the years, and have always emerged stronger and better than before. I see enormous opportunity for expanding educational media on various platforms. I'm excited to lead WSBE into this developing frontier, while preserving our distinctly local identity," Piccerelli said.

A Rhode Island native and Barrington resident, David W. Piccerelli holds a BS in Accounting from Bryant University. Mr. Piccerelli serves on a number of professional public broadcasting committees and associations. Prior to joining WSBE, Mr. Piccerelli was vice president and manager of the mergers and acquisitions division at Centerbank in Waterbury, Connecticut. His previous position was vice president and corporate secretary at Capital Strategies Group, Inc., in Providence.

Mr. Piccerelli is also an avid golfer, and serves as treasurer on the board of the Brad Faxon Junior Golf Foundation, and president of Rhode Island Country Club.