Tom Karlo has been KPBS’ general manager since February 2009, but his career at KPBS began in 1973 as a part time assistant while studying television and film at San Diego State University. He won three local Emmys prior to his transition into management. Tom is the 5th general manager in KPBS’ history. Prior to becoming general manager, he served as associate general manager for more than a decade.
Tom’s vision for KPBS is to be the most trusted source of serious journalism in San Diego. In 2009, Tom merged the TV, radio, and digital departments into one content producing center, focused on journalism. Under his leadership, the station created KPBS Evening Edition on TV, shifted KPBS’ online content to focus on news, and expanded the radio schedule to feature news and information 24 hours a day.
The results have been impressive, with audience and fundraising growth over the last seven years. KPBS has also won numerous prestigious awards under Tom’s leadership. Most notably, the station won the 2015 USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism for the station’s coverage of the scandal surrounding San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. This was the second time in five years the station was honored by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Tom is very community driven in his role as general manager. He spends much of his time representing KPBS in the community and deepening relationships with new and current donors and corporate partners. In August 2016, Tom was honored by PBS as the Development Professional of the Year.
Tom has lived in San Diego for more than 40 years. He and his wife Julie have been married for 43 years. They have three grown children and four grandchildren.
Outside of KPBS, Tom has spent many of his fall weekends for the last 36 years as a cameraman for NFL Films. He has filmed 14 Super Bowls and received a National Emmy for Sports Cinematography for HBO’s Inside the NFL.
Tom serves the following organizations:
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) - Board of Directors, Executive Committee
California Public Television (CPT) - Board of Directors, Vice Chair
Sharp Health Care - Board of Directors
Sharp Grossmont Hospital - Board of Directors
San Diego Downtown Rotary - Member
With funding for public broadcasting under siege, KPBS General Manager Tom Karlo makes the case for support. He can't do it alone, so read more to learn how you can help.