Thursday, December 6, 2018


Just this week we have seen two leaders of public radio institutions announce they are moving on.   

First Jody Evans announced she is leaving her job as CEO of the Public Radio Program Directors association (PRPD). Then NPR President/CEO said he is retiring as of June 20, 2019.

We are now is an era where we will continue to see turnover in the top jobs as generational change is happening in our industry. Some people would say it is long overdue. It is not unusual for people to spend twenty years or more in leadership positions. This longevity has brought consistency and stability but it also has created a “glass ceiling” that has caused talented people to leave for jobs with more upward mobility.

Because there are, or will be, so many opportunities now and in the near future we decided to compile a list of key jobs that are becoming available:


Jarl Mohn did everyone a favor by announcing his departure over six months before he exits. The NPR Board has already put the wheels in motion for the search for Mohn’s successor. This is good because NPR generally takes its time choosing a new CEO.

We’ve already seen observers speculate that NPR President of Operations Loren Mayor is a favorite to move up to the top job. But, these musings are premature. NPR tends to look for new leaders who are now outside of the system. Jarl Mohn is a perfect example.

We hope that the NPR Board will hire someone who has a substantial radio background. Public radio’s core business is still radio and most NPR board members come from stations, so this is hopefully a key ingredient for the next CEO.


In the past, new PRPD leaders have come from inside the public radio system. This has generally worked well because context, knowledge of the way the system works and first-hand acquaintances are important for the new CEO to hit the ground running. The PRPD Board will begin recruiting after the holidays.

We expect there will be a lot people applying for the job. When Evans was chosen four years ago, there were several former PRPD Board members who applied.  Expect several of those folks to try again.

PRPD’s next CEO will face considerable challenges including navigating the organization in the multi-channel, multi-platform media environment. Plus there are older challenges that linger, particularly building a larger infrastructure for the organization. All of the previous PRPD leaders were one-person-bands. They had help but the top job required the ability to multi-task 24/7.

The Board may want to look at the compensation for the CEO. Evans was making around $180,000 per year which may be too low for the kind of talent this job demands.


AIR is now approaching its 30th anniversary, claims over 1,300 members and, according to the group’s most recent IRS 990, had an annual budget of $2.1 million.

Things weren’t always so rosy.  Before Sue Schardt became CEO over a decade ago, AIR often languished in partisan internal battles, declining membership and scarce resources. Schardt got the diverse membership to focus on the greater good while opening the door to younger folks who sought to do more than file stories for NPR.

During Schardt’s tenure, AIR has had a seat at public radio’s “power table.”

AIR’s signature initiative Localore, required extensive behind-the-scenes work with CPB, stations and independent producers. This is not as easy as it might look. AIR’s next CEO will hopefully be able to build on the good work that has been done so far.

Livingston Associates is handling the search. The date for “full consideration” is December 21, 2018. For more information clickhere. Inquiries are welcome with Livingston Associates at (410) 243-1974.


American Public Media Group (APMG), the parent company that owns Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media, is looking for a Managing Director of The Current. This is a newly created position that will be responsible for the overall strategy, vision, direction and leadership of The Current. 

Jim McGinn remains Program Director.

APMG wants someone who will generate new product and new revenue development. The person chosen for this position will, (quoting from the press release) cultivate frequent interaction with a broad range of constituents such as audiences, artists, funders, content partners, as well as business and community leaders. 

More information and application requirements are available here.


We featured this opportunity on Spark News November 28th [link]. WWNO in New Orleans and WRKF in Baton Rouge have announced that the stations are collaborating on a new Regional News center. The collaboration is now looking for a Regional News Director to build the operation and provide the vision to make it world class.

Livingston Associates is handling the search. More information is available here.


This position has not yet opened but it likely will be in early 2019.

Jackie Sauter
Our friend Jackie Sauter has announced she is retiring at the end of the year. Sauter, North Country Public Radio’s (NCPR) Director of Content and Broadcasting, has been with the station in various roles since 1971.

NCPR [link] is holding an open house to celebrate Sauter’s service and the station’s 50th anniversary on Tuesday, December 11th between 7:30am and 7:00pm. The event will happen at NCPR’s studios in Canton, New York.

NCPR’s manager Ellen Rocco said in a press release:

“Jackie is the heart and backbone of our station. She has been at the station since 1971, starting just as she completed her college education at St. Lawrence University. She has shaped the direction and sound of NCPR through almost five decades.”

Sauter added in the same press release:

“It’s been an honor to be a part of this amazing station, and participate over the years in its growth into an important regional resource. I’ve loved every minute of my work in public radio and am excited to see what lies ahead. I’ll be listening and cheering on the NCPR team.”

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