Mar 17, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterWyoming PBS general manager Ruby Calvert has decided not to retire this summer, reversing her announcement to the contrary earlier this year.
"It's really strange -- you start second-guessing yourself," Calvert, 65, said this week. "The more I thought about it, the more I thought there are some things I really want to do at the station."
She made up her mind to renounce her retirement a couple of weeks ago during a meeting in Washington, D.C., where she received the Association for Public Television Stations's 2013 National Advocacy Award for her "exceptional efforts in furthering public television's legislative goals."
"It was awarded partially be-cause of the communicating and relationships I've developed with the state legislature and our national congressional folks," Calvert said.
"I think that's something all of us have to work on."
Through her 31 years at Wyoming PBS, Calvert said she has been able to develop strong relationships with influential people in the state.
For example, Calvert met with Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead before the most recent legislative session to ask him to spare the Riverton station from cuts this year.
"Budget cuts would have been really horrendous for us," she said. "To cut even 6 percent would have meant I would have had to lay off one or two people.
"So I went down and just begged him to exempt us from the budget cuts. And he did."
She anticipates a similar struggle next year, which is one reason Calvert said she wants to stick around.
"Not to say we'll be protected in the next round, but I'll do what I can," she said.
She said a new general manager likely would not have been prepared to take as strong a stand with the state.
With her departure from Wyoming PBS more "open-ended" now, Calvert hopes she will be able to help pick her successor and prepare him or her for the job.
"I've already been in touch with people who were interested," she said.
She also wants to continue raising money for the Wyoming PBS production endowment that will pay for local programming in perpetuity.
"I feel so proud about that," Calvert said. "That's probably one of the best things I've done. Long after I leave it'll be kicking money up to the station to produce local shows."
The endowment generates about $55,000 annually for the "Wyoming Capitol Outlook" series, "the Wyoming Chronicle" series, and several "Main Street, Wyoming" programs.
"That's just been the greatest thing, and it'll continue forever," Calvert said. "No matter what, that money will always be there to do public affairs shows and programs. ... That's a real long-term benefit and asset for the station."
Calvert hopes to settle some satellite issues during her remaining time at PBS, and she said the station is working to develop a channel devoted to American Indian programming.
"We'll hopefully be launching that in May," Calvert said.
She plans to participate in upcoming strategic planning meetings for the station, then pick and choose several additional priorities she wants to accomplish.
"When those are done, I suspect that'll be when I'm done as well," Calvert said.
She added that she will be more prepared to retire next time.
"You need to think about what you're going to do next and have everything laid out, and I didn't," Calvert said. "It was just premature."
For now, she said, she feels re-energized about her job.
"As I look ahead and I thought about it, I kind of got all excited again, like it's a whole new job," she said. "I feel great about the decision, and I hope others do too."
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