Longtime WRAL anchor David Crabtree is officially the new chief executive officer and general manager at PBS North Carolina, the third-largest member station in the nation.
Crabtree has been serving as interim CEO since April and will take on the role permanently effective immediately. The public television station, formerly known as UNC-TV, is run by the UNC System.
“The future of PBS North Carolina is exceedingly bright,” Crabtree said in a statement. “I’m honored to serve in this role and remain committed to the success and service mission of this treasured public media network.”
The UNC System Board of Governors voted to name Crabtree as CEO at its meeting Thursday after a recommendation by UNC System President Peter Hans.
Crabtree also had the support of the PBS North Carolina Board of Trustees and the directors of the North Carolina Public Television Foundation.
Before leaving WRAL in May, Crabtree worked part-time at PBS NC, replacing former UNC School of the Arts chancellor Lindsay Bierman, who’d been in the role since 2019.
At Thursday’s meeting, Hans said he is glad they were able to lure Crabtree away from WRAL to PBS NC earlier this year and found that a search for the permanent job wasn’t necessary.
“As [Crabtree] settled into the role, I began to ask myself why in the world would we conduct a search for a new CEO and general manager when we have a seasoned pro right here,” Hans said.
He said Crabtree understands television and online audiences, knows and cares about North Carolina, believes deeply in the university’s mission and is a trusted and proven leader.
In a statement, Hans said as interim Crabtree “listened carefully and put his considerable skills to work to guide an outstanding team of professionals on its mission to educate, inform and entertain North Carolinians.”
Crabtree will lead the organization’s strategic direction, $30 million budget and station operations while overseeing more than 150 employees, online content and four over-the-air channels — PBS NC, the North Carolina Channel, Rootle 24/7 PBS KIDS and the Explorer Channel.