LAB Adds Four Members To Its Board

The newest directors at the Library of American Broadcasting are Harry A. Jessell, TVNewsCheck; Heather Birks, Broadcast Education Association; Ruth Gaviria, Entercom; and Walter Podrazik, University of Illinois.

The Library of American Broadcasting has elected four new members to three-year terms on its board of directors. The votes were unanimous on a conference call of the board Tuesday led by Ginny Morris, CEO of Hubbard Radio and chairman of the LAB Board. The call was yesterday. (Dec. 19).

The Library of American Broadcasting has the mission of preserving the rich history of broadcasting. Much of that history is housed at our Library on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. LAB also presents the annual Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts to identify professionals who have demonstrated outstanding excellence across a multimedia spectrum that now comprises radio, conventional television, cable TV, satellites, the internet and, prospectively, the social and developing media.

The new members are:

Harry A. Jessell, editor and co-publisher of TVNewsCheck. Prior to launching TVNewsCheck in January 2006, Jessell worked for more than 25 years as a reporter and editor for B&C (formerly Broadcasting). As the magazine’s top editor from 1997 to 2004, he moved the magazine from Washington to New York City and shifted its focus from law and regulation to programming and business.

On the magazine’s editorial page and in his bi-weekly column, he argued for full First Amendment protections for and minimal government regulation of broadcasting and other electronic media. He continues that advocacy in his weekly Jessell at Large column on TVNewsCheck.

As a reporter at B&C in the 1980s and early 1990s, Jessell covered broadcast technology, cable TV, the FCC, Congress and the federal courts. He was named executive editor in 1993 and editor in 1997.


He graduated from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh in 1976, with a BA in journalism..

Heather Birks, executive director of the Broadcast Education Association. Birks has been the executive director of the BEA since June 2006. She builds strategic alliances with corporate and academic organizations to help educators promote research and get tools, techniques and contacts needed to teach and train future media professionals.

Under her leadership BEA has increased the number of scholarships and grants awarded and launched programs like the Radio Show Student Scholar Program and BEA’s Fall regional conference, BEA On-Location.

She came to BEA after working for over 10 years at the National Association of Broadcasters in the Government Relations Department, Television Department and the NAB Education Foundation (NABEF).

In the six years she worked at NABEF she helped build, manage and produce the Service to America Awards and helped launch and run the Broadcast Leadership Training Program, a 10-month executive MBA-style program for broadcasters interested in learning the art of assessing, acquiring and running successful radio and television stations.

She graduated with a B.A. in comparative politics from Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

Ruth Gaviria, chief marketing officer, Entercom. Entercom Communications is a leading media and entertainment company and creator of live, original, local audio content reaching more than 100 million people each week. As the company’s first-ever CMO, Gaviria has executive oversight of all the strategic marketing and communications functions, including corporate marketing, brand development and design, ad sales marketing and research, and corporate communications and public relations.

Prior to joining Entercom in 2016, Gaviria served as the EVP of corporate marketing at Univision Communications where she was responsible for strategically structuring and institutionalizing the marketing organization. During her tenure at Univision, she developed and executed the rebrand of the corporation and its portfolio of television broadcast, digital and multimedia properties. Gaviria also led the Univision Upfront events from 2012 through 2015, automated cross-channel promotion and created the digital marketing practice for the company.

Prior to joining Univision, Gaviria launched Hispanic Ventures at Meredith Corporation where she created a portfolio of lifestyle print and digital brands and a custom publishing practice to engage with Hispanic consumers.

She began her career in brand management and held brand posts at Procter & Gamble, Miller Brewing, Colgate Palmolive and Time Inc. Gaviria has been recognized with several leading industry awards including Fast Company’s “Top 100 Most Creative People in Business” in 2014, Ad Age’s “Top Women to Watch” in 2013, Cable Fax’s “Most Powerful Women in Cable” in 2013, and Ad Age’s “Top 100 Marketers” in 2000, among other industry accolades. Currently, Gaviria serves on the board of ALSAC and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University.

Walter “Wally” Podrazik, adjunct lecturer, University of Illinois at Chicago and television curator at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. He is a graduate of the School of Communication at Northwestern University. He teaches courses on future TV, television history and the intersection of mass media and politics at UIC.

In his work, Podrazik has experienced, firsthand, history-in-the-making in handling media logistics at high-profile events, such as, the Democratic Party’s quadrennial presidential nominating conventions and currently serves as television curator at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.

He regularly provides insights online, on radio and television, at conferences, in a variety of education forums, and in print. Podrazik composed the introduction chapter to the anthology New Critical Perspectives on the Beatles: Things We Said Today (2016, Palgrave/Macmillan) and has co-authored nine books including: the season-by-season history of television, and Watching TV (Third edition in 2016, Syracuse University Press), hence bringing that media story to today’s contemporary viewing and political settings.

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