Emily L. Barr is currently a Strategic Adviser for Graham Media Group, the television broadcasting division of Graham Holdings Company. She has held this position since March 2022 when she announced her retirement as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Graham Media Group, a position she held since July 2012.
As CEO, Barr oversaw seven local media hubs - each in a top-70 market, representing just over 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 named the 2021 Station Group of the Year by TV NewsCheck and 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, NC, which she joined in October 1994. In July 1988, Barr joined WMAR–TV in Baltimore, MD, 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, DC, 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 currently serves on the Executive Committee of the National Association of Broadcasters and is the immediate past Chairman for Television for the Association. In addition, she serves on the National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation. Barr is currently the Chair of the NBC Affiliate Board and is a past Chair of the ABC Board of Governors. She has twice served as Chairman of the Board for the Illinois Broadcasters Association.
Honored for her civic involvement, Barr was inducted into the 2022 Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. Additionally, Barr was named one of the 2021 Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts by the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation and was awarded the 2020 Broadcaster of the Year by Broadcasting & Cable. Additionally, Barr is the 2018 recipient of the Golden Mike Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America. She was inducted into the 2016 Silver Circle of the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. In 2014, Barr was awarded the Vincent T. Wasilewski Broadcaster of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association.
A native of Haverhill, MA, Barr is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and holds a BA in Film Studies from Carleton College in Northfield, MN where she currently serves on their 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, DC. Barr is married to Scott Kane and has two daughters.