...is the word you hear often when associates and competitors describe Charlie Kravetz, Station Manager of WBUR, Boston.
Now Kravetz and other WBUR managers are under scrutiny after last week’s release of an internal report [link] about the work environment at the station. Boston University (BU), WBUR’s licensee, commissioned the study following the February 2017 firing of On Point host Tom Ashbrook.
The report, done by Longpoint Consulting, consists of two sections: An online survey and then conclusions and recommendations by Longpoint. Seventy-two percent of WBUR’s 267 employees (including freelancer and interns) participated in the survey via SurveyMonkey.
According to Longpoint’s analysis, WBUR is a flawed workplace where employees feel they are treated unfairly. The report implies that WBUR’s workplace is an “abusive work environment.” Longpoint called on WBUR’s management to make “substantive action” to improve the station’s internal climate.
Eyes then turned to Charlie Kravetz, the person in charge at WBUR. Kravetz has a hard-charging style and is sometimes dismissive. But remember, Kravetz has spent most of this career in the news business where driven is the norm.
Charlie Kravetz takes NPR CEO Jarl Mohn for a ride
in the WBUR News Cruiser
At an all-staff meeting on Thursday (9/6) Kravetz apologized for his shortcomings and pledged to improve communication, accountability and oversight. He acknowledged his own “awareness of the impact of [his] leadership style on station’s workplace culture.
Since release of the study, press reports have focused on the negatives in the Longpoint study. Though these are important issues that must be addressed, the employee survey generally paints a quite positive description of working at WBUR.
We have visited WBUR many times over the years. The one word we would use to describe the environment is intense. The newsroom is staffed with high achieving, extremely talented individuals who are obsessed with doing their best work, often on deadline. Sure there are inflated egos and sharp elbows but these characteristics come with the territory. The news waits for no one and there is always pressure to succeed. Charlie Kravetz expects excellence and that is what he and the folks at WBUR deliver everyday.
We suggest that Spark News readers download the entire Longpoint survey [link]. Not only is survey fascinating, there are a number of aspects where WBUR excels as a place to work:
|WBUR's master control room|
• 86% of the employees agree or strongly agree with the statement WBUR is a welcoming and friendly environment.
• 80% of the employees agree or strongly agree with the statement At WBUR I have a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the leader(s) in department.
• 74% of the employees agree or strongly agree with the statement At WBUR I am recognized when I produce good work.
• 74% of the employees agree or strongly agree with the statement At WBUR I have a clear understanding of the organizational/reporting structure of my department.
• 67% of the employees agree or strongly agree with the statement WBUR has an environment that encourages a variety of thoughts and ideas.
• 67% of the employees agree or strongly agree with the statement WBUR has a collaborative and cooperative environment.
Boston University has engaged public media consultant Tom Livingston, to oversee implementation of the study’s recommendations.
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