Austin PBS CEO & General Manager Announces Retirement after 17 Years of Leadership

Posted on Aug 2, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Austin, TX)—August 2, 2021— Austin PBS (KLRU-TV) announces the retirement of CEO & General Manager, Bill Stotesbery, effective September 30, 2021, after 17 years of leadership. During his tenure, Stotesbery has positioned the station to better serve the community while simultaneously raising awareness of Austin PBS at a national level.

“Bill’s leadership and commitment to public television over the past 17 years has strengthened and transformed Austin PBS to better serve the needs of our rapidly changing and growing community,” said Laura Beckworth, Austin PBS Board Chair. “Under his guidance, the station has expanded programming and local production, increased community outreach and significantly grown philanthropic support.”

“Working with the Austin PBS staff, Board, and Community Advisory Board has been a great privilege,” said Stotesbery. “Austin PBS touches so many in Central Texas, and the chance to join with so many creative people to serve this area has been incredibly rewarding.”

Austin PBS has become known as one of the most prolific public media stations in the country with over a dozen local and regional series and documentaries produced or currently in development. With Stotesbery at the helm, the station has garnered more than 100 Lone Star Emmy nominations and 20 Lone Star Emmys. He also invested in community-based educational services and outreach that will continue to shape the future of early learning opportunities in Central Texas and serve as a model for other PBS stations.

Stotesbery has been instrumental in expanding the brand of Austin PBS’s long running music television series, Austin City Limits. “Bill was a driving force behind the expansion of the Austin City Limits brand, including moving the production from Studio 6A to The Moody Theater downtown, preserving the ACL archive and launching the ACL Hall of Fame,” said Beckworth.

In 2018, Austin PBS launched the Moving Forward campaign, an ambitious endeavor to create a new generation of public media with greater community impact. Laying the groundwork for Austin PBS’s next 50 years, Stotesbery set out on a strategic vision to build a state-of-the-art facility - The Austin Media Center - and build a growing partnership with Austin Community College on the ACC Highland Campus. From there, Austin PBS will be more visible, more accessible, and more flexible; provide new and greater opportunities for community engagement and collaboration; and remain embedded in the heart of a community-focused educational institution.

“His vision for a new generation of public media, with a new home for Austin PBS and a growing partnership with Austin Community College, will be an important and lasting part of Bill’s legacy to the station and the Central Texas community,” said Beckworth.

“All that has been accomplished by the station, including being one of the most highly viewed and highly regarded stations in the PBS system, is only possible because of the staff and Board who dedicate their lives to this work and the supporters who make it possible to fulfill the organization’s mission,” says Stotesbery.

Words of support are also offered from members of the Greater Austin community.

“There is no one quite like Bill Stotesbery. There simply isn’t,” said Gary Keller, co-founder and chairman of Keller Williams Realty. “Bill has the biggest heart, the largest vision and the highest expectations of anyone that I know. He’s taken these gifts and given them selflessly and nobly to both Austin PBS and all the people who make it happen.”

“For as long as I have known Bill, he has always been that steady leader supporting this community in the best ways possible,” said Christopher Kennedy, CEO of Leadership Austin. “ It speaks volumes that he was in the first ever Leadership Austin class back in 1980 because it speaks to his authenticity as a person who has always put himself out there doing what he can in service of others without seeking attention for it.”

“When I think of Bill, I think of Austin, and I think of the stories he’s helped bring to life that inform, entertain and inspire,” said Dr. Richard Rhodes, Chancellor of Austin Community College District. “We all benefit from watching his vision come to life. I hope we can carry his legacy forward to make him proud.”

For nearly two decades, Stotesbery has dedicated his life and his work to the growth and well-being of the people and the communities which the station serves. His vision, perseverance and focused commitment for nearly two decades is nothing short of remarkable.

Austin PBS

Austin PBS, KLRU-TV is dedicated to telling stories that entertain, inspire and change lives. This community-supported public television station highlights what makes Austin unique — whether music, arts or public issues — by creating and distributing award-winning original content. Austin PBS produces Austin City Limits, Arts In Context, Central Texas Gardener, Overheard with Evan Smith and more for PBS stations across the nation. We also create online-first projects like Decibel, a community journalism initiative that seeks to amplify diverse voices in Central Texas. As a nonprofit educational organization, Austin PBS also prepares children to succeed in school and creates lifelong learning opportunities for all. Find out more at austinpbs.org.

Media contact:

Susannah Winslow Vice President, Communications & Development swinslow@klru.org (512) 890-1040