Dean Ernest J. Wilson III
USC Annenberg School for Communication Dean Ernest J. Wilson III was elected chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting board by unanimous consent on Sept. 16.
In his acceptance speech, Wilson said that “the stars are aligned as perhaps they have not been since 1967” to reimagine the future of the corporation.
“Then, as now, we need to go beyond the present and reimagine, reinvigorate and expand our inherited vision,” said Wilson, whose responsibilities as USC Annenberg Dean will not change.
Wilson, the longest-serving member of the board, succeeds Chris Boskin, who remains a member of the board. Wilson is an international communication scholar with a focus on the convergence of communication and information technology, public policy and the public interest. He is the first African-American to hold the position of board chair.
“Like Chris, my watchwords will be close consultation, inclusiveness and transparency, consultation with my fellow board members, the excellent staff and with the system as a whole,” Wilson said.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a private, nonprofit corporation created by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 that promotes public telecommunications services (television, radio and online). Wilson was first appointed to the board by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and reappointed by President George W. Bush in 2004.
During his tenure on the board, he has chaired the digital media committee and helped launch and chair the public awareness committee.
“The greatest opportunity is that we have truly arrived at a 1967 moment – a moment like the one that happened 40-plus years ago when public broadcasting was created,” Wilson said.
“The greatest challenge we face is neither money nor governance – the challenge is that we collectively will fail to seize this unique opportunity to become better than we are, to better serve the American people,” he said. “If there is a common thread to the conversations I have had with all the stakeholders, it is their expectation – indeed their hope and respectful insistence – that we forge a common vision for the future.”
Wilson added that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as a whole is prepared to be a strong partner and a collaborative leader as it creates a communications future worthy of the American people.
“With the stars fully aligned, we can actually achieve our common goals by recommitting ourselves to accept nothing less than success, because the stakes are so high,” he said.
“It is imperative that we pursue and achieve our grand common purpose. And it is truly a grand common purpose. There is probably nothing more noble and grand than to succeed in seizing the tremendous opportunities for public service media in the digital age and to provide our fellow citizens with the fruits of non-commercial media, which they so richly deserve.”