Meet Our Neighbors: Suzanne Masri


Describe your role at Fred Rogers Productions.

As Vice President of Marketing, Communications, and Engagement, it’s my responsibility to provide the vision, strategy, and oversight for all marketing, communications, and outreach functions for Fred Rogers Productions. This includes everything from the direction of the company’s brand strategy, public relations, content marketing, and identity and visual strategy to implementing marketing campaigns, media planning, digital marketing, social media, and community engagement efforts for both the company and the series that we produce.

Tell us about yourself and how your career led you to children’s television.

After I graduated from college, I dreamed that one day I’d be an editor at Gourmet magazine to combine my love of writing, editing, and food. So, I worked for a few years in catering and the food service industry to get a grounding in the culinary industry, but eventually I pivoted to corporate communications. Did that for a while and then moved over to foundation development/grant writing and major gifts when I joined WETA, the flagship PBS station in Washington, DC. While there, I discovered the exciting world of station relations, which is essentially marketing ongoing series and specials to PBS stations across the country. I finally wheedled my way into that department, and one of my first projects was to launch Clifford The Big Red Dog (the series that premiered in 2000), which meant we were convincing stations to air the series on the PBS feed, keeping them updated on new episodes and promotional priorities, and also working with station engagement teams around the country on outreach initiatives and events.

While it was incredible to promote Ken Burns’s documentaries, In Performance at the White House, and cooking series like Martha Stewart’s Cooking School and Sara’s Weeknight Meals, it was the kids’ series that we represented that brought me the most joy. In addition to Clifford, our portfolio included shows like It’s a Big Big World, Super WHY!, Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies, and Maya & Miguel. The Fred Rogers Company (now Fred Rogers Productions) hired WETA in 2011 to launch Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and that exhilarating day eventually led to me being hired by FRP as its first director of marketing and communications in 2015.

What do you like most about working at Fred Rogers Productions?

My favorite thing about working at a company like FRP is when I’m at a community event where you can see just how much what we do has an impact on children. Whenever I see a child’s eyes light up when she spies Daniel Tiger or a kid experiences the thrill of solving a problem that’s inspired by Odd Squad, I know that I’m at the right place and this is what I’m meant to be doing.

What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up?

It’s impossible to list just one. When I was a kid, watching cartoons on Saturday mornings was a major event, so a few favorites were Josie and the Pussycats, Shazam!, Schoolhouse Rock, Scooby Doo, and Speed Racer. I also loved Banana Splits and H.R. Pufnstuf, and on WQED (the PBS station in Pittsburgh), I couldn’t miss Electric Company or Zoom. My friends and I mastered Ubbi Dubbi, the secret language on Zoom!

Do you have a favorite PBS program you’re watching now?

Again, it’s tough to pick one favorite. I’ve watched Masterpiece and Mystery! since my middle school years. I read a lot of mysteries and classic literature, so it’s exciting to see adaptations of great works come to life. Genealogy fascinates me, so I try not to miss Skip Gates’s Finding Your Roots. There’s so much drama and suspense at play when delving into a family’s history, and I’m inevitably left astonished by what Dr. Gates unearths from his research. Judging by the celebs’ reactions, they are, too!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Music is such an important part of my life, and I’ve been singing with Belle Voci, a community choir comprised of treble voices, since I moved back to Pittsburgh. I love to travel, and Belle Voci has sponsored concert trips every few years, so I’ve been lucky enough to have performed in Vienna, Prague, Slovenia, Cuba, and San Sebastián, Spain. I’m also a big supporter of the arts, and I spend much of my free time going to the theater, the movies, and concerts.