Jon Abbott is President and CEO of WGBH Boston and a leading advocate for public service media nationwide. He joined WGBH as Vice President and General Manager in 1998, became Executive President and COO in 2004, and was named President and CEO in October 2007.
WGBH is a regional, national, and global public service media resource -- creating award-winning documentaries and Web content in news and public affairs, science, history, arts and drama, children's programming, and more. WGBH is PBS's single largest producer of content for television (prime-time and children's programs) and the Web: Nova, Frontline, Masterpiece, Arthur, Curious George, and Antiques Roadshow are just a few of its signature productions. WGBH also is a major supplier of broadcast and Web content for public radio listeners, a pioneer in educational technologies for teachers and students, and a major provider of media access services for the 36 million Americans with hearing or vision loss.
Abbott oversees 11 public TV services and 3 public radio services serving southern New England.
Abbott has worked closely with PBS to extend public service media's reach, spearheading the launch of two new national digital services: Create (a syndicated lifestyle channel co created with WNET/New York featuring many WGBH productions) made its national debut in 2005; PBS World (a syndicated non fiction service co-created with WNET/NY showcasing science, history, nature, and news programming) followed in 2007.
During his tenure as president, Abbott has expanded WGBH's new media and educational efforts and partnerships, from Teachers' Domain (a multimedia online service for teachers and students)...to the experimental WGBH Lab (using the Web and rights-cleared "open content" to open doors to the next generation of media makers)...to We Shall Remain from American Experience, an ambitious multimedia and outreach project about Native history anchored by a groundbreaking five-part television documentary.
These efforts build on Abbott's early and longstanding interest in mining the capabilities of broadband and online social networks to distribute public service media's distinctive content across an expanding array of digital devices -- making it easier for the public as well as educators and students to access WGBH's rich library of programming and information when and where they choose.
Before coming to WGBH, Abbott served as Senior Vice President for Development and Corporate Relations at PBS (1992-1998). Prior to that, he spent five years in senior management with San Francisco public station KQED. A long-time jazz enthusiast, Abbott got his start in broadcasting in 1981 at Columbia University station WKCR-FM.
He serves on numerous public media boards, including the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), American Public Television (APT), American Documentary/P.O.V., and public television's Major Market Group. He is a Trustee of the Boston Children's Museum and Arts Boston, and a board member of Project Healthy Children. And he is an Advisory Council Member for Harvard University's Master of Liberal Arts in Management Program.
Abbott holds a BA from Columbia University and an MBA from Stanford University.