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Tom Karlo

General Manager Emeritus

Photo of Tom Karlo

Tom Karlo is general manager emeritus of KPBS. He retired on December 30, 2020. Karlo began his career at KPBS in 1973 as a part time assistant while studying television and film at San Diego State University. He has held numerous positions including assistant cameraman, director, producer, associate general manager of operations and production, and associate general manager of business, finance and operations, and general manager. He has won three local Emmys and was named general manager in 2009.

During his leadership as general manager, the station merged the TV, radio, and digital departments into one content producing center, focused on journalism and local content. The station created "KPBS Evening Edition" on TV, shifted KPBS’ online content to focus on news, invested in local producers for new regional programming, and expanded the radio schedule to feature news and information 24 hours a day.

The results have been impressive, with staff, audience and fundraising growth during his leadership. KPBS became among the highest rated public television stations in the nation; more than 1.2 million people watch, listen, click or stream KPBS’ content every week. The newsroom has grown from 17 people in 2009 to 45 in 2020.

KPBS has won more than 419 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 former 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. Additional honors were awarded by the National Press Foundation, RTNA Golden Mike Awards, PEN America, Radio Television Digital News Association, Pacific Southwest Emmy Awards, San Diego Society of Professional Journalists and San Diego Press Club.

Recent Stories by Tom Karlo

Public Media Deserves Federal Support

Feb. 28, 2011
By Tom Karlo

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.

View all stories by Tom Karlo ›