“We don’t need to replicate what other networks do so well. We do other things.”

Ritschard Homberg

A member at Skyline Club, Southfield, Mich., since 2015
BY LOUIS MARROQUIN / PHOTO BY PETER BAKER — Winter 2016
Who he is: As president and CEO of Detroit Public Television, he oversees one of the country’s largest public TV stations, with 1.5 million weekly viewers, and helped develop and fund programming that improved ratings 25 percent last year.

Staying relevant: “Public television was founded at a time when there were only three traditional networks. Today, there are more like 300 national networks. As the medium has changed, the network has shifted from national to local.” That includes programming such as Detroit Performs, DPT’s popular weekly arts and culture show.

Changing audience: “Public television viewers come to us for a better understanding of society and to celebrate arts and culture at a deeper level. Our audience has gotten a little younger, but more importantly, more diverse. Our ethnic communities have become important partners in building the station.”

Outward facing: To better understand the wants and needs of the Detroit audience, Homberg spends about two-thirds of each workday meeting with local groups, partners, and funders. “Every day, I’m in front of this community in one fashion or another.”

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