President & Chief Executive Officer
Emily L. Barr is President & Chief Executive Officer of Graham Media Group, the television broadcasting division of Graham Holdings Company. She has held this position since July 2012.
Prior to joining Graham Media Group, Barr served as President and General Manager of ABC 7 Chicago (WLS–TV), the ABC-owned station in Chicago, a position she held from April 1997 until July 2012. Under her leadership and throughout her tenure, ABC 7 strengthened its dominance in the market and remained the top-rated/most watched station in Chicago. In 2009, Barr helped create The Live Well Network, a digital broadcast, online and wireless network focused on home, health and lifestyle programming.
Previously, Barr served as 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 Director of Broadcast Operations & Programming. She was promoted to Assistant General Manager in May 1993.
Earlier in her career, Barr was 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 is Chair of the ABC Board of Governors and serves on the boards of the Television Bureau of Advertising, the Emma Bowen Foundation and the National Association of Broadcasters. She has served twice as Chairman of the Board for the Illinois Broadcasters Association. In addition, Barr is actively involved in the Chicago community and serves on multiple local boards, including the Chicago Academy for the Arts, the Chicago Network and the UPC/Seguin Foundation of Greater Chicago.
Honored for her civic involvement, Barr was named the 2014 Vincent T. Wasilewski Broadcaster of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association. In 2010 she received the 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. Other recognition includes the 2007 National Museum of Mexican Art’s Corporate Service Award; the 2007 Business Professional of the Year by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce; the 2006 Spirit Award from the Chicago Urban League; the 2006 Communications Award from the Niagara Foundation, which promotes diversity, tolerance and global fellowship; the 2004 Luminary Award from the Girl Scouts of Chicago, recognizing her community involvement and visionary leadership; and the 1998 Dante Award from the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans.
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. In 1986, she earned an MBA from George Washington University in Washington, DC.