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Celebration Features Creation of KPBS Hall of Fame

— On September 12, 2010, KPBS will blow out the candles on its birthday cake, as San Diego’s public broadcasting organization turns 50.

“When most people turn 50 they joke about being ‘over the hill’,” said Tom Karlo, KPBS General Manager. “Here at KPBS we feel like we’re moving toward the best years for this organization – and we’re really excited about that.”

After humble beginnings on the campus of San Diego State College (now SDSU), then KEBS (the “E” stood for “educational”) began operating out of a converted closet, on a budget of about $6,000. The station now reaches 1.2 million people each week via KPBS 89.5 FM, KPBS TV or on a nearly $20 million budget.

KPBS’ news staff continues to grow and the organization is about to undergo a major remodel of the Copley Telecommunications Center, which will feature a state-of-the-art multi-media news room. The remodel is the result of a $2.5 million gift from Joan and Irwin Jacobs, and is being designed by LUCE et Studio.

As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration, Karlo created the KPBS Hall of Fame to honor individuals and families whose contributions have made the organization a public media leader in the region and throughout the country.

The Hall of Fame's charter inductees will be recognized at a private event on Tuesday, September 14. Judy Woodruff, Senior Correspondent for the PBS Newshour, is the featured speaker.

The KPBS Hall of Fame consists of two designations: lifetime achievement and visionaries. Lifetime achievement inductees are former staff whose pioneering work set new standards for public media. The visionaries category honors extraordinary individuals and families who have made significant gifts of $1 million or more to KPBS.

Honorees in the Lifetime Achievement category include: Ken Jones, founder of KEBS (now KPBS); Paul Marshall, Emmy Award winning television producer; Tom McManus, former radio Station Manager (1968-1988); Paul Steen, former General Manager and John Witherspoon, the station’s first General Manager.

The Visionaries include: The Copley Family, Dr. Irwin and Joan Jacobs, Joan Kroc, Price Family Charities, Arthur and Jeannie Rivkin, Donald and Darlene Shiley and the Viterbi Family. A brief bio for each inductee follows.

“When I found out that KPBS was going to have a Hall of Fame and that I was going to be among the first inductees, I was really honored,” says Darlene Shiley. “To me, I think of visionaries along the same lines as leadership. A visionary is getting out in front of things and saying, ‘OK. I’m willing to barrel on out there, come along with me and let’s do it together.’”

Once KPBS completes the remodel, the Hall of Fame will be memorialized in a permanent display in the building and updated annually with new inductees.

KPBS is a public service of San Diego State University, serving the region with TV, Radio and Internet content that is educational as well as entertaining—and free of commercial interruption.


For more information about KPBS' anniversary, visit

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