Kathleen Pavelko became President and CEO of WITF in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in October 1999.
WITF is a public media center serving 2 million citizens in south central Pennsylvania. WITF’s media services include public television (WITF-TV), two public radio services (WITF 89.5 and WYPM 93.3 Chambersburg), a regional magazine (Central PA) in partnership with the Patriot- News, websites (including WITF.org and ExplorePAhistory.com), statewide radio networks for public and commercial stations (Pennsylvania Public Radio and Radio PA), an advertising agency (Top Flight Media), and a production services division (Media Solutions).
Since her arrival at WITF, Pavelko led and completed a $39 million capital project, securing $21 million in capital campaign contributions and Pennsylvania’s largest-ever state contribution to a public media. The project financed the construction of the Public Media Center, which opened in April 2007. Under Ms. Pavelko’s leadership, WITF’s total assets have quintupled.
Ms. Pavelko’s service achievements include the capital region’s only weekly prime-time public affairs program (Smart Talk on WITF-TV), a statewide public radio network and creating Pennsylvania’s “heritage hub” for history and tourism called ExplorePAHistory.com. WITF 89.5’s first daily news interview program (Radio Smart Talk) premiered in October 2008. Facing Cancer Together, a region-wide convening initiative, launched April 2011 and was followed by Transforming Health, launched November 2012. Two other statewide partnerships followed: StateImpact PA on the state’s energy economy (2013) and Keystone Crossroads on the challenges and opportunities facing Pennsylvania’s cities(2014).
WITF’s journalism has been recognized with many of the most prestigious state and national awards, including ten national Edward R. Murrow Awards and the duPont-Columbia Silver Baton (known as the broadcast “Pulitzer”) for Multimedia Excellence.
From 1996 to 1999, Ms. Pavelko served as president of Prairie Public Broadcasting, a regional public telecommunications center serving North Dakota, western Minnesota, eastern Montana and Manitoba. During her leadership of PPB, Ms. Pavelko restored the organization’s finances and created North Dakota Public Radio, the state’s first statewide public radio network.
Kathleen Pavelko began her career in television production at Penn State Public Broadcasting, where she served in production, promotion and management roles, including as chief operating officer. She was also executive producer for public affairs for West Virginia Public Broadcasting and a freelance print and broadcast journalist working in Athens and London.
Ms. Pavelko taught courses in production, broadcast/cable history and broadcast management as an assistant professor of communications at Penn State.
Ms. Pavelko earned a B.A. with distinction in ancient history and an M.A. in Journalism from Penn State University as well as certificates in Advanced Strategic Management and Non-Profit Management from the University of California/Berkeley and the Harvard Business School.
Her personal awards include a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award, the APTS National Advocacy Award, the Nonprofit Leadership Excellence Award from the Central Penn Business Journal, a Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Communications Alumni Society, and the Penn State Vice President's Award.
She was a gubernatorial appointee to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (2003-2011). She is member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a former trustee of the Archaeological Institute of America, the nation’s largest and oldest archaeology organization. She previously served on the boards of the Station Resource Group, America’s Public Television Stations, and Greater Public. She currently serves on the boards of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Capital Area Corps of the Salvation Army.
Ms. Pavelko is married to Dr. Eugene N. Borza, emeritus professor of ancient history at Penn State and former president of the Association of Ancient Historians. They make their home in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.