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KPBS’s next top boss won’t have to move far to his new office.

Tom Karlo, a onetime KPBS production assistant and cameraman, will become general manager on Monday, San Diego State University announced this evening. Karlo, who currently serves as associate general manager, will replacing Doug Myrland, who retired last month.

The appointment of Karlo, a career-long KPBS employee, came after SDSU President Stephen Weber interviewed four finalists earlier today, said university spokeswoman Gina Speciale. The university runs the station.

Karlo, 56, will take over an operation that is facing a variety of challenges, including falling donations and an eroding television audience. Even as it faces tough times, however, KPBS has an opportunity to become a bigger provider of local news as daily newspapers and commercial television stations struggle to survive, Karlo said.

“Local content is becoming very precious in this community,” he said in an interview. “KPBS is positioned in the near future to expand thoughtful local news and information on all of our distribution platforms.”

He added that he wants to return news and public information programming to KPBS-TV, which hasn’t replaced “Full Focus,” a daily public-affairs show cancelled in 2007.

Karlo, a San Francisco-area native and alumnus of San Diego State, began working for the broadcaster as a student intern in 1973. He has served as associate general manager since 1992.

Karlo said the general manager position “is the only job I ever really wanted,” said. “This is what I’ve always aspired to.”

In addition to his work at KPBS, Karlo serves as a cameraman for NFL Films, filming pro-football games across the West and Midwest.

Three SDSU administrators have been running the station since Jan. 1.

SDSU had expected to hire a new general manager by early January, but officials postponed an announcement.

Karlo said he was told that he was a finalist in November and “was just waiting to see how things go.” Speciale, the university spokeswoman, declined to comment on the selection process.

Karlo will make $195,000 a year as general manager.

Myrland was paid $218,000 and will receive $75,000 to serve as a consultant this year.

— RANDY DOTINGA

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