Peterson embraces media challenge, change

Filed under: One on One |

Charlie Peterson is the general manager of KKTV Channel 11, Colorado Springs’ local CBS affiliate.

Television is one of the most revolutionary inventions of the 20th century, but today it’s a common luxury that’s taken for granted by most people.

For Charlie Peterson, it’s as exciting and vibrant as it ever was, and it’s a business she takes seriously.

Peterson is the general manager of KKTV Channel 11, Colorado Springs’ local CBS affiliate.

She leads a team of eight department heads who run the day-to-day operations of bringing viewers entertainment and news programming from around the city, as well as around the world. Last week, KKTV unveiled a new studio set and began using new, state-of-the-art weather technology equipment.

Peterson took time recently to tell CSBJ about herself and her business.

Organization: KKTV, Channel 11 (KKTV is a subsidiary of Gray Television Group Inc., one of Forbes Magazine’s Top 200 small companies)

Position: Executive vice president and general manager

Hometown: Racine, Wis.

How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: Since July

Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison

A few words about your company: KKTV, Channel 11, is the local CBS affiliate and Colorado Springs-Pueblo’s news channel leader.

Recent accomplishments: Professionally, KKTV recently launched its new look with a state-of-the-art studio news set, and all new weather technology and graphics. Personally, I gave this year’s commencement speech at my alma mater to a very receptive audience. The topic of the speech was “Real life is not at all like Reality Television.”

Biggest career break: My first job out of college. I talked my way into a “temporary”, full-time copywriter position at a local Wisconsin TV station, filling in for a gentleman who was very sick and in the hospital. He eventually recovered and came back to work, but they kept me on anyway. In my career, I recently returned to this station as the general manager before coming to Colorado Springs.

The toughest part of your job: Managing managers. Good leaders give their management team a good bit of guidance. But great leaders must learn to trust their team to help guide the company to its greatest potential.

Someone you admire: My husband, Jim Peterson. I wouldn’t be able to accomplish what I have if it wasn’t for his support and guidance. When my career started taking off, Jim graciously gave up his career to raise our two children, one just newborn and the other 2 years old at the time. He takes the pressure off me so I can focus on the job. He’s also a renaissance man of sorts. He’s a businessman, a carpenter, a welder, a designer, an artist, an intellectual and a fabulous cook – there’s really nothing he can’t do.

About your family: I was so fortunate to have grown up in a large, loving, stable and accomplished family. I am the youngest of eight children and have six sisters and one brother. (Family reunions are a blast!) I have been married to Jim for 12 years and we have two children, Max and Lily, now ages 8 and 5.

Something else you’d like to accomplish: For KKTV to become a visionary leader in our community; to become known as the local TV station that cares about our viewers and is not just involved in the community but helps shape the future of Colorado Springs-Pueblo.

How your business will change in the next decade: This business is forever in a state of change due to the continual advancement of technology. KKTV will soon be on your cell phone, on your wrist and in the palm of your hand. Our news model will become more interactive with our viewers. Analog signals will be a thing of the past, and we will broadcast in digital only.

What book are you currently reading? I just finished “Blink” and am starting “The Other 90% – How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Leadership and Life” by Robert K. Cooper. I also read a lot of dinosaur and butterfly books – to my kids.

What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs? I love Colorado Springs so far – the people are friendly and interesting, the terrain breathtaking and raising a family here is ideal. But I do miss sailing our boat on the “big lake” (Lake Michigan) and being close to my extended family.