Emily L. Barr is the President and CEO of Graham Media Group, the television broadcasting division of Graham Holdings. She has held this position since July 2012.
Prior to joining Graham Media Group (formally Post-Newsweek Stations), 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. Under her leadership, ABC 7 strengthened its dominance in the market and remained the top-rated/most watched station in Chicago throughout Barr’s tenure. In 2009, Barr helped create a new and innovative digital broadcast, on-line and wireless network focusing on home, health and lifestyle programming. The LIVE WELL NETWORK airs on digital stations around the country.
Previously, Barr served as the President and General Manager of WTVD-TV, the ABC-owned station in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., which she joined in October 1994. Prior to her three years in Raleigh-Durham, Barr worked at WMAR-TV in Baltimore, Md., where she was promoted to be the station’s Assistant General Manager in May 1993. She joined WMAR-TV in July 1988 as the Director of Broadcast Operations & Programming.
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, Texas. 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, Minn.
Barr is actively involved in the Chicago community and serves on multiple boards. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Chicago Food Depository; Board of Directors of the Chicago Network; President of the Board of United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Chicago; and has twice served as Chairman of the Board for the Illinois Broadcasters Association. Barr is also on the Leader Council for Mercy Homes for Boys and Girls and is a member of the Economic Club and the Executive’s Club.
Barr has been honored for her civic involvement receiving 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. Also in 2010, Robert Morris University honored Barr with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in recognition of her community service. In 2009, Barr was honored by the National Museum of Mexican Art with their “Corporate Service Award” and was chosen the “Business Professional of the Year,” by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce in 2007. The Chicago Urban League recognized Barr’s contributions to the League by selecting her as their 2006 Spirit Award winner. The Niagara Foundation, promoting diversity, tolerance and global fellowship, honored her with their 2006 Communications Award. In 2004, she received the Luminary Award from the Girl Scouts of Chicago, recognizing her community involvement and visionary leadership. In 1998, she received the Dante Award from the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans.