KSAT 12 parent company announces retirement of CEO Emily Barr, names Catherine Badalamente as successor

Graham Media Group CEO Emily Barr will retire in March after helming the company for a decade

Catherine Badalamente

Graham Media Group, the parent company of KSAT 12 and six other local news stations, announced Tuesday that CEO Emily Barr will retire this month and Catherine Badalamente will be her successor.

Badalamente, currently serves as vice president and chief innovation officer for Graham Media Group.

Barr’s leadership and management transformed the organization from a broadcast-based model to seven local media hubs — each in a top-71 market, representing just under 7% coverage in the U.S.

In 2020, Barr received the Broadcaster of the Year award from Broadcasting & Cable Magazine; and, later this spring, she will be inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. Barr was elected to the 2021 class of the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation’s Giants of Broadcasting and Electronic Arts.

Emily Barr, CEO Graham Media Group (Graham Media Group)

“Emily’s leadership has been critical to the company’s success. Graham Media Group has continued its tenure as a best-in-class operator, and Emily has led the organization to receive numerous awards and achieve record earnings,” said Timothy J. O’Shaughnessy, chief executive officer of Graham Holdings Company. “(Emily’s) deep commitment to the communities we serve has been unparalleled. But perhaps the greatest element of her legacy is the excellence of the team she has built, as evidenced by her successor, Catherine Badalamente. On behalf of everyone at Graham Holdings, I want to thank Emily for her decade of service to the company.”

Badalamente has spearheaded the company’s digital efforts since 2009 and helped secure numerous awards recognizing the company for excellence in local news production. KSAT was named “Best Local TV News Website” in 2021 by Editor & Publisher Magazine.

Badalamente joined Graham Media Group in 2000, working for WDIV in Detroit.

She has also served as chair of the board of directors of the Local Media Association, treasurer of the board of directors of the Local Media Foundation, and immediate past chair of the National Association of Broadcasters Digital Officers Committee. She earned a BA in communications from John Carroll University.

“I could not be more pleased to appoint Catherine the new CEO of Graham Media Group,” O’Shaughnessy said. “Catherine has helped keep GMG ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing industry, including her leadership in growing each of our digital news sites to be Comscore-ranked No. 1 in their local markets. As the next generation of Graham Media Group unfolds, we have a next generation leader to help steer the ship.”

Barr has also been honored for her civic involvement. She is the 2018 recipient of the Golden Mike Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America, and was inducted into the 2016 Silver Circle of the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She was also awarded the 2014 Vincent T. Wasilewski Broadcaster of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association.

“We are so proud of the audience growth and product innovation we have been able to achieve under the leadership of Emily Barr. Her leadership and love of the business gave us the fuel we needed for our company to become the best in the local media business. Emily’s team development skills have been at work over the years,” said Phil Lane, vice president and general manager of KSAT 12. “Working by her side, learning along the way, building the digital side of our business and winning many industry awards in the process has been her very capable and dynamic Chief Innovation Officer Catherine Badalamente. Catherine has been hard at work getting ready to take the reigns of this great local media company. There is no doubt that her drive, innovative spirit and love of the business will continue to keep this great company growing.”


About the Authors:

Kolten Parker is digital executive producer at KSAT. Previously, he worked at the San Antonio Express-News and the Texas Observer.