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American Public Television Announces Jonathan Abbott as the 2022 Recipient of the American Public Television Lifetime Achievement Award

Abbott led GBH Boston as chief executive for the past 15 years, will step down at the end of 2022 after 34 years in public media

BOSTON, MA (December 14, 2022) – American Public Television (APT) today announced GBH President and CEO Jonathan Abbott as the winner of the 2022 APT Lifetime Achievement Award. APT President and CEO Cynthia Fenneman presented the award to Abbott at a special meeting on December 7.

In his 24 years with GBH, including 15 years as president and CEO, Abbott led the organization’s digital transformation, built its endowment and vastly expanded service to audiences. A nationally recognized leader and innovator, he led GBH’s efforts to create and distribute content across new platforms at the local and national level, which has grown to encompass ten digital and broadcast media channels. A member of the APT Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2013, Abbott was a key collaborator in launching digital public TV multicast channels Create and WORLD in partnership with APT and The WNET Group, and in collaboration with PBS and NETA.

“APT is pleased to bestow Jon with our Lifetime Achievement Award, acknowledging his deep commitment and transformational contributions to the public media system in education, development, digital channels, content streaming, and revenue creation,” said Cynthia Fenneman, President and CEO of APT. “The partnership between APT and GBH under his leadership has resulted in lasting programming legacies with popular productions including America’s Test Kitchen, Simply Ming, Lidia’s Kitchen, Roadfood with Misha Collins, and Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Television.”

“It’s been an extraordinary privilege to be part of public media’s mission in many ways. The best days have always been those that involved collaboration and collective effort to advance our mission,” noted Abbott. “Together we always go farther. I’m grateful for all the work I’ve been part of with Cynthia Fenneman and her APT team!”

Abbott began his public media career at NPR/PBS station KQED in San Francisco where he helped launch the nation’s first all-news NPR station. He then moved to PBS in Washington, D.C. as Senior Vice President for Development and Corporate Relations. He joined GBH as Vice President and General Manager in 1998 and was named President and CEO in 2007. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University and an MBA from Stanford University.

Previous recipients of the APT Lifetime Achievement Award include America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) president and CEO Patrick Butler; former Corporation for Public Broadcasting senior vice president of television and digital video content Jennifer Lawson; and former Twin Cities PBS president and CEO Jim Pagliarini.


About American Public Television
American Public Television (APT) is the leading syndicator of high-quality, top-rated programming to the nation’s public television stations. Founded in 1961, APT distributes 250 new program titles per year and more than one-third of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles in the U.S. APT’s diverse catalog includes prominent documentaries, performance, dramas, how-to programs, classic movies, children’s series and news and current affairs programs. Midsomer Murders, America’s Test Kitchen, AfroPoP, Rick Steves’ Europe, Pacific Heartbeat, Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Television, Legacy List with Matt Paxton, Front and Center, Lidia’s Kitchen, Kevin Belton’s New Orleans Kitchen, Simply Ming, The Best of the Joy of Painting with Bob Ross, Front & Center, James Patterson’s Kid Stew and NHK Newsline are a sampling of APT’s programs, considered some of the most popular on public television. APT also licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service and distributes Create®TV — featuring the best of public television's lifestyle programming — and WORLD™, public television’s premier news, science and documentary channel. To find out more about APT’s programs and services, visit

Press Contacts:
Olivia Wong
APT Vice President, Marketing & Communications

Ajani Martin-Abascal
Marketing & Communications Associate
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