Emily L. Barr is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Graham Media Group, the television broadcasting division of Graham Holdings Company. She has held this position since July 2012.
Barr oversees seven local media hubs — each in a top-71 market, representing just under 7% coverage in the U.S. The television stations, web and mobile platforms are recognized as news leaders across the media spectrum: KPRC-Houston (NBC); WDIV-Detroit (NBC); WKMG-Orlando (CBS); KSAT-San Antonio (ABC); a duopoly in Jacksonville: WJXT (Fully Local) and WCWJ (CW); and WSLS-Roanoke (NBC). GMG also owns Graham Digital, a digital media and technology development group based in Detroit, and Atlanta-based Social News Desk, a leading provider of social media management tools designed to connect newsrooms with their users.
Under Barr’s leadership, Graham Media Group was awarded “2016 Station Group of the Year” by Broadcasting and Cable Magazine.
Prior to joining GMG, Barr served as the President and General Manager of ABC 7 Chicago (WLS–TV), the ABC-owned station in Chicago, IL. She held this position from April 1997 until July 2012. In 2009, Barr helped create The LIVE WELL NETWORK, an innovative, nationally-distributed digital broadcast and online network focusing on home, health and lifestyle programming. Previously, Barr served as the President and General Manager of WTVD–TV, the ABC–owned station in Raleigh–Durham, North Carolina, which she joined in October 1994. In July 1988, Barr joined WMAR–TV in Baltimore, Maryland, as the Director of Broadcast Operations & Programming. She became Assistant General Manager in May 1993.
Earlier in her career, Barr was the Director of Creative Services (1987-88) and Advertising and Promotion Manager (1985-87) at KHOU–TV in Houston, TX. She also worked as a writer and producer for WJLA–TV in Washington, D.C., which she joined in January 1983. Barr began her career in broadcasting in 1980 as a news editor at KSTP–TV in St. Paul, MN.
Barr serves on the boards of the Associated Press and the Television Bureau of Advertising. In addition, she is the Chairman of the NBC Affiliate Board and serves on the National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation. Barr is a past Chair of the NAB TV Board and former Chair of the ABC Board of Governors. She has served twice as Chairman of the Board for the Illinois Broadcasters Association.
In 2020, Barr received the Broadcaster of the Year award. Honored for her civic involvement, Barr is also 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 & Sciences. She was awarded the 2014 Vincent T. Wasilewski Broadcaster of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association and received the 2010 Westbury Leadership Award from the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago for her involvement in a citywide media effort to raise funds for the Haitian earthquake relief effort. That year, Barr received an Honorary Doctorate from Robert Morris University in recognition of her community service.
A native of Haverhill, Massachusetts, Barr is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and holds a BA in Film Studies from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota where she also serves on its Board of Trustees. In 2020, Carleton College honored Barr with its Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. In 1986, she earned an MBA from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Barr is married to Scott M. Kane and has two daughters. They live in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago.