OPB chief thrives off publics passion

Steven Bass moved to Stafford area in 2006 and leads network's TV, radio and web efforts
by: Vern Uyetake, 
Steven Bass, president and chief executive officer of Oregon Public Broadcasting, relaxes in his office at OPB headquarters.

Steven Bass' colleagues like to tell him he has the best job in the public broadcasting business.

Bass, a Stafford-area resident, doesn't argue. His 25-plus years of experience in the industry affirm that opinion.

So has moving to Oregon.

In January 2006, Bass became the president and chief executive officer of Oregon Public Broadcasting in a state where people are passionate about the network.

Emphasis on the word 'passionate' - 1.5 million people tune in or log onto OPB's free radio, TV and Internet services each week.

'Most people are extraordinarily happy (with OPB) overall,' Bass said.

Oregonians are heard on national radio call-ins, and dinner table conversations revolve around stories seen and heard on OPB affiliates, the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio.

And each year, more than 100,000 donors help keep the network funded and on the air.

In other words, Oregon is public broadcasting paradise.

'We've got a lot of things going right here,' Bass said. 'I've found that Oregonians are very outwardly focused on the rest of the world and how it relates to them. They're very interested in international affairs and what's going on around the corner in other communities.'

So the OPB Board of Directors' invitation to Bass to make the network's big decisions seemed too good to pass up.

While uprooting a family is always a difficult task, Bass believed he was making the right decision when he brought his wife, Sara, and two daughters, Catie and Caroline, to Oregon last year.

'I had never been to Oregon, but I knew it was a good place,' he said.

At that time, the Bass family lived