COLUMBIA -- Paul Amos can't wait to get started at South Carolina's Educational Television Network. But don't look for major changes when he becomes the agency's new president.
"I don't think ETV is broken. It's a great institution," said the executive, who will become the third man to head ETV in its 40-year history.
"I don't think it's smart for a newcomer to jump into an organization and start making major changes," Mr. Amos said from his Denver office. "The feedback I have gotten has been honest about the pride in where Henry Cauthen has brought ETV."
Last month, the ETV Commission recommended Mr. Amos to succeed Mr. Cauthen as the agency's president. Mr. Cauthen, who has been with ETV since its inception, retires July 1.
Mr. Amos was waiting on final approval from the Budget and Control Board before leaving his current job as vice president of Jones Education Co. in Denver. Approval came earlier this week.
Mr. Amos, who holds a bachelor's degree in communications from Loyola University in New Orleans, has compiled a list of impressive credentials since starting his career in 1969 as an announcer and newswriter for radio station KIZZ in El Paso, Texas.
After stopovers in Miami and New Orleans as producer and reporter, Mr. Amos joined CNN at its start-up in 1980.
During his 11 years there, he rose to executive vice president in charge of all programming for CNN and CNN International, new program development, and the hiring of all anchor talent, news, production and technical employees.
Former CNN colleagues describe Mr. Amos, 44, as "dynamic" and "a strong leader."
Bob Furnad, executive vice president and executive producer at CNN, said you don't wonder what Mr. Amos is thinking.
"He's very straightforward," Mr. Furnad said. "I think this is an exceptional plus for South Carolina ETV. Paul is very smart and full of ideas. He also has a high level of expectations from the people around him."
After his stint at CNN, Mr. Amos served as executive vice president of Fox News, helped found The Health Channel and worked for Transworld Communications and King World Productions.
As a consultant, he oversaw the creation of a higher-education television system in Colorado with 22 college campuses. He has won two Peabody Awards, a National Emmy Award and a New York Film Festival award.
Mr. Amos said the ETV job was attractive to him for several reasons.
"On a national basis, South Carolina ETV has a great reputation of participating in high-quality projects. At the same time, I think ETV can be a great player in the international market. The demand for Western media and technology is in high demand around the world.
"That offers a tremendous opportunity for organizations who have vast amount of capabilities, like the expertise and library of content I saw at ETV.
"My task isn't to correct anything at ETV, but to help empower a fine organization and to help look at the private sector for marketing opportunities," he said. "I want to augment the resources that are provided by the state and give more service to the people without increasing the tax burden."
There also were very personal reasons Mr. Amos liked the ETV position. It was an opportunity for him, his wife and two teen-age sons to get back to the South.
"I know of South Carolina's tremendous outdoors recreational opportunities," Mr. Amos said. "We used to have a place at Hilton Head when I was working in Atlanta."
Mr. Amos was born in Denver and moved to El Paso when he was 10. By high school, he already was involved in radio.
He doesn't remember a time when he didn't want to be in broadcasting.
"My mother tells me that when I was real small, I'd walk through the house with a strainer in my hand pretending it was a microphone," Mr. Amos said.
At age 15, he landed his first radio job in El Paso.
"I'd go in at 3 o'clock in the morning and open up the station," Mr. Amos said with a laugh. "My first job was to rewrite the morning newspaper for our newscast. That was my first taste of journalism. After awhile, I decided we should be doing some things on our own. So I started going out and getting sound bites."
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