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Filmmaker Jeff Aiello Is Leaving Valley PBS. Station Is Seeking New CEO/President.
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By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 4 weeks ago on
April 30, 2024

Jeff Aiello is departing from his job as CEO and president of Valley PBS. (David Rodriguez/GV Wire Composite)

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Valley PBS is embarking on a search for a new president/CEO to replace Jeff Aiello, a local filmmaker who took the top job three years ago while continuing to produce shows such as “American Grown: My Job Depends on Ag,” “Outside Beyond the Lens” and “Afterburn: The Creek Fire Documentary.”

Aiello’s tenure has been marked by praise for the Emmy-winning content he has produced that has aired on the Valley’s public television station as well as criticism over the political bias of some of that programming and the potential for conflict of interest by having Aiello serve as the CEO while simultaneously producing content.

At the time of his appointment, the station board had opted to split the station’s top leadership duties between Aiello and Nancy Borjas, who serves as chief operating officer and handles the day-to-day operations.

When contacted by GV Wire on Tuesday, Aiello declined an interview.

An email to members of the Community Advisory Board from Laura Goodreau, the station’s administrative support specialist, confirmed that the station is embarking on a search for a new CEO but was somewhat vague as to why Aiello is leaving.

“After careful consideration and discussion within the Executive Board, we have collectively decided to initiate the search for our next CEO. Jeff has been an integral part of our journey, and he will continue to support us during this transition period until we find the right individual to lead us forward.

“This decision has been made with the best interests of our station in mind. We believe that bringing in fresh perspectives and leadership will help propel us toward our goals and further enhance our station’s impact within our community.

“As we embark on this search process, we are committed to casting a wide net and exploring all potential candidates who possess the qualities and vision needed to steer our station to greater heights.”

National Search Underway

The station posted the president/CEO job opening Monday on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting jobline website. The station also has engaged the services of Kathy Bray at Denham Resources, who has been hired for past CEO searches.

Aiello’s departure will mark the latest in a series of turnovers in leadership at the station, which had enjoyed stability in its first three decades with just two CEOs, Colin Dougherty and Paula Castadio. Since 2015 there was a revolving door of CEOs, leading to Aiello’s appointment in May 2021 that did not result from a national search. The board said at the time that a prior national search was unsuccessful.

The appointment of Aiello, who was already selling programming to the station through his production company, 18THIRTY Entertainment, elicited concerns and criticism from Dougherty and other current and former station executives and members of the Community Advisory Board published in local media.

The station also embarked in a series of personnel layoffs, citing low revenues resulting from the pandemic.

Repayment, Fines Ordered after Federal Audit

In 2023 the station was hit with its first-ever penalties by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting after a federal audit found it had failed to comply with grant requirements and required Communications Act public records disclosures.

The station’s locally produced programming and rejection of a Community Advisory Board applicant also drew the attention of PBS Public Editor Ricardo Sandoval-Palos, who confirmed in September to GV Wire that Valley PBS viewers had brought concerns to his attention.

Thus far, there has been no follow-up report from Sandoval-Palos as to his review.

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Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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