Former state Sen. Chip Rogers will start his new job Tuesday earning a lofty $150,000 – making him the seventh executive at Georgia Public Broadcasting earning six-figures annually, despite a rather pedestrian title: Executive producer, community jobs program.
The position, like others at GPB, is paid solely through state taxpayers’ money. But it is more than Gov. Nathan Deal and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle each make in their public jobs.
And it is more than what some of Rogers’ new colleagues made in the last fiscal year, including GBP’s vice president for radio and its chief information officer.
“We’re rolling up our sleeves,” GPB Vice President Nancy Zintak said Friday of Rogers’ pending arrival. “He has spent the last five weeks really researching and digging in about the challenges we have in the state regarding education and job readiness in Georgia.”
One of the state Legislature’s most visible Republican leaders, Rogers resigned office in December to take what he called a new “dream” job with GPB. He had first been elected to the Legislature in 2002.
When he left the Capitol last month, details including Rogers’ new salary had yet to be decided. They were finalized as the governor released new budget proposals Thursday – although Deal included no new direct funding for Rogers’ job in his proposals.
GPB President Teya Ryan said she was not pressured politically to hire Rogers, who has seen a series of missteps that include a failed bank loan and public disclosure of his work for a sports gambling network.
The new initiative Rogers will lead is a programming effort by the public broadcasting titan to cover Georgia’s push for more jobs and economic development.
The effort overall will be paid for through state funds and contributions from private companies and other donors. That mix is important, GPB officials have said, given recent budget cuts totaling about $6 million since 2008. State funds now account for about $12 million, or less than half, of GPB’s total revenue.
Rogers will report directly to Ryan, who has been trying for several years to leverage GPB’s reach across the state to bring together companies and potential employees.
Ryan said in a recent interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that this was a trial run, modeled on programs GPB already has including one of its highest-rated, “Georgia Traveler.”
Rogers, a former television and radio reporter, will spearhead the new effort’s development, and go on-air as a radio host. The program is expected to begin broadcasting in late spring on GPB’s 17-station radio network. The shows will also stream live on www.gpb.org.
“GPB is one of America’s most widely respected and honored public broadcasting organizations,” Rogers said Friday in a statement released through GPB. “The opportunity to play a role in developing quality programming that will benefit communities across Georgia is extremely satisfying on both a professional and personal basis. I look forward to helping move this great broadcasting organization to new heights.”