A former Walt Disney Co. executive was named on Monday as chief executive of KCETLink Media Group, owner of independent public television station KCET.

Michael Riley is the fourth chief executive in the 50 year history of KCET, headquartered in Burbank’s Media District. He replaces Al Jerome who announced in March he would be stepping down after 18 years with the station.

Riley said he joined KCET at an exciting time.

“I'm eager to drive the organization's mission and continue to provide thought provoking, quality content to our viewers across all media,” Riley said in a prepared statement.

Riley was president of cable channel ABC Family at Disney and helped it become the No. 1 network in primetime among young women. He also served as senior vice president and general manager of Radio Disney.

KCET is a nonprofit, viewer-supported station facing financial difficulties and lower viewership following Jerome’s decision to make the station independent from PBS in 2010 over dues it owed the system.

It moved to Burbank from Los Angeles in 2011 and a year later merged with Link Media, a production company with its own cable channel based in San Francisco. KCETLink is its nonprofit ownership entity.