New Leader Brings Deep Multi-Media and Digital Transformation Experience
HARTFORD, Conn. (January 17, 2019) – The Board of Trustees of Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Inc. (Connecticut Public) today announced the appointment of Mark G. Contreras as its president and chief executive officer effective on March 5, 2019. Contreras comes to Connecticut Public from his position as the Dean of Quinnipiac University’s School of Communications. Outgoing president and chief executive officer, Jerry Franklin will be assisting in the transition until his retirement on June 30 of this year.
“We are confident that Mark Contreras has the perfect combination of experience and skills to lead and grow this organization at a pivotal time for media companies and broadcast journalism in general,” said Tom Barnes, chair of the Connecticut Public Board of Trustees and the chair of the search committee. “In addition to his academic experience, Mark Contreras is a nationally-regarded and seasoned media leader with diverse experience as a private sector chief executive officer, news industry leader and public media board member,” said Barnes.
“Connecticut Public is recognized nationally for the high quality of its work and its willingness to innovate. I’m honored and humbled to be joining this very talented and accomplished team,” said Contreras. “Connecticut Public is a trusted community resource. Its television, radio, educational and digital efforts have promising growth potential. I am excited to explore ways to serve new and expanded audiences and community members throughout Connecticut and the world,” said Contreras.
Mark Contreras has led several media businesses through digital transformation. Contreras served as CEO of Calkins Media, a privately-held media company, which developed innovative strategies to maximize audience reach, engagement and revenue by embracing streaming media platforms such as Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV. The strategy also included providing journalists with new digital video tools and creating more locally focused content.
In addition, he served in top volunteer leadership roles of news media organizations including the News Media Association and the American Press Institute. He is a Fellow of the Millennium Class of Henry Crown Fellows of the Aspen Institute. He serves on the Board of Directors of GFR Media in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Woodward Communications, Inc in Dubuque, Iowa.
The son of an Irish-American school teacher and a Mexican immigrant, Mark grew up in the Midwest—first in Minneapolis and later Chicago. Mark has an A.B. in History from the University of Chicago and a MBA from the Harvard Business School.
He is especially passionate about the role of public media in serving diverse communities. Most recently, as Dean at Quinnipiac, he secured a $500,000 grant to increase the number of underrepresented students at the School of Communications.
He and his wife, Marybeth Sughrue, have one adult son, Michael.
“I commend the search committee on the selection of Mark Contreras who clearly has the proven leadership qualities to take this special organization to the next level,” said outgoing Connecticut Public president and chief executive officer, Jerry Franklin. “His extraordinary accomplishments and commitment to journalistic excellence make him an inspired choice and I’m confident he will garner the respect of the entire Connecticut Public family.” The Search Committee retained Blinkhorn Associates, a highly respected executive search firm that was instrumental in facilitating a robust and efficient process.
On May 22, 2018, Jerry Franklin announced his plans to retire, concluding a period of 34 years during which he had led the way in building one of the nation’s finest and most innovative multi-media public broadcasting companies. Under Mr. Franklin’s leadership, CPTV won two National Daytime Emmy Awards, 98 Regional Emmy Awards, 410 Regional Emmy Award nominations, seven CINE Golden Eagle Awards and one Gracie Allen Award. WNPR also earned two George Foster Peabody Awards, five Ohio State Awards, two Gracie Allen Awards, and more than 60 Associated Press Awards, including eight Mark Twain Awards for Overall Station Excellence.
“We thank Jerry Franklin for his 34 years of service, for leading this institution to unprecedented success, and for laying the foundation for an exciting new era in the history of Connecticut Public,” said Board Chair Barnes.
Connecticut Public is home to Connecticut Public Television (CPTV), Connecticut Public Radio (WNPR) and Connecticut Public Learning. CPTV is a locally and nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including original documentaries, public affairs and educational programming. WNPR is an affiliate of National Public Radio, Public Radio International and American Public Media. Connecticut Public Learning serves high school seniors through a partnership with Hartford Public Schools and the Journalism and Media Academy Magnet School. It is also home to The Veterans Vocational Training Program, a program that provides the men and women of our armed forces and adult learners an opportunity to learn skills necessary for the 21st century digital media workplace. For more information, visit www.ctpublic.org.