Saturday, October 1, 2022

Pittsburgh Radio: Deborah Acklin Steps Down As CEO At WQED

Deborah Acklin
WQED President and CEO Deborah Acklin is stepping down after 12 years of leadership and success to focus on essential medical treatments following a diagnosis of non-smoker’s lung cancer.

As the first woman President and CEO of WQED, Deb has served in her current role since 2010, and prior to that held leadership roles across a broad range of organizational operations — from Executive Producer to Executive Vice President and General Manager. Among her many achievements, she led WQED out of crippling debt and functional bankruptcy to become a financially-thriving multimedia powerhouse. Her tenure is also marked with unprecedented professional awards recognition for producing meaningful content at the local, national and international levels, as well as building and nurturing a nationally recognized education department.

A public media champion, Deb’s production and distribution experience ensured that WQED Pittsburgh remains a national and international content creator, distributing The Pittsburgh Symphony Radio series, and epic documentaries including August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand; Harbor From The Holocaust; and The War That Made America, the latter, for which she served as Executive Producer. She also envisioned the potential for Doo Wop music showcases, which raised many millions and became a favorite of PBS pledge shows nationwide.

Nationally, Deb was elected by her peers to serve on the boards of PBS, America’s Public Television Stations, and the PBS Major Market Group. Locally, she was sought after to provide leadership and guidance to Pittsburgh community boards including the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Symphony, Carlow University, Winchester-Thurston School, and the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. As Chair of the Three Rivers Arts Festival Advisory Board, she was responsible for reviving the Festival by transferring its oversight to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

In her own words, “Leading WQED – my hometown PBS and classical music station – has been a singular professional honor. Growing up, these were almost the only channels we watched and listened to. Day one on the job, I met Fred Rogers, and it all instantly crystallized for me. I hope I’ve been a worthy student of his life’s example. Thank you, Pittsburgh!”

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