URBANA – A manager with long ties to public broadcasting has been hired as general manager of WILL-AM-FM-TV in Urbana, pending approval from the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.
Mark Leonard, general manager for Central Washington at KCTS-TV in Seattle, has been chosen to succeed Donald Mullally, who retired last year.
Leonard will also serve as director of broadcasting for the UI College of Communications. If the board ratifies his hiring, the appointment will take effect June 15.
Leonard spent 27 years in public broadcasting in senior management positions in Seattle and Yakima, Wash., and at WXXI in Rochester, N.Y., where he was vice president for television.
"He brings vision, energy and creativity to WILL and the Division of Broadcasting at a time when public broadcasting needs such qualities," said Ron Yates, dean of the College of Communications.
Leonard said he considers "localism" an essential value of public broadcasting.
"With the overall consolidation of commercial media, localism is an increasingly rare but important asset," he said. "As a result, public broadcasting has a unique opportunity to build and expand upon local strengths."
In his current job, Leonard manages all station operations at KYVE-TV, the Yakima station of KCTS.
He was chief administrative officer at KCTS-TV from 2000 to 2003.
Leonard is a past president of the Washington State Public Broadcasters Association, where he successfully reversed declining state support for public television.
He worked briefly in television production for WILL-TV in 1982.