Ken Stern Named CEO, NPR

From the release:


    Kevin Klose Continues as President

    And Member of the NPR Board of Directors

    September 21, 2006; Washington, D.C. — Ken Stern, who has played a key role in NPR’s growth in audience, journalism and new media platforms over the past seven years, has been named Chief Executive Officer of the organization, effective October 1.

    Kevin Klose, who joined NPR as President and Chief Executive Officer in December 1998, will continue as President and as member of the NPR Board of Directors.

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Stern has served as Executive Vice President since coming to NPR in November 1999, directing the senior management team and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the media company. Under the leadership of Klose and Stern, NPR doubled its audience to 26 million weekly listeners; completed a multi-year expansion of NPR News that significantly increased the number of staff, beats and bureaus; achieved financial stability for the non-profit organization, and extended NPR’s reach into digital media.

In this new role, Stern will assume all management leadership of NPR. As President, Klose will undertake the development of a major new initiative for NPR and public radio designed to strengthen financial resources. Both will report to the NPR Board of Directors.

“Kevin Klose has led NPR through an era of dramatic accomplishment, infusing the organization with his belief in journalistic excellence and the ideals of public service,” said Tim Eby, Chair, NPR Board of Directors. “The financial resources of NPR and the entire public radio system have been a critical issue to Kevin for quite a while and the Board agreed with his idea to empower him with this initiative as a formal responsibility.”

Eby noted, “Ken Stern’s new role reflects his achievements as well as his dedication to a vision for the future. During his tenure, Ken has rebuilt the organization from the inside out, creating a new level of leadership and stability. He has also actively and strategically redefined NPR’s place in the larger media environment of the future, while nurturing the organization’s crucial position of trust in radio. The NPR Board wants this mission carried forward, along with the person who crafted it.”

Klose and Stern had previously worked together in global radio broadcasting at both the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Under their direction at NPR, the organization’s audience grew from 13 million weekly listeners in 1999 to 26 million in 2006. A multi-year expansion of the NPR News Division, which concluded in 2006, added 75 new journalism positions, increased NPR’s bureaus to 19 domestic and 17 foreign (the most recent are Shanghai, Dakar, Vietnam and Kabul, which opens next month); created an ongoing investigative reporting effort, and launched such new beats as national security, technology, international business and economics, environment, law enforcement, media and workplace issues. In 2002, NPR further broadened its national presence with the opening of NPR West, a comprehensive news and programming production facility in Los Angeles. During their tenure, NPR News has won every major journalism honor, including 42 George Foster Peabody Awards and 21 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, as well as Robert F. Kennedy, Overseas Press Club, Radio and Television News Directors Association, Sigma Delta Chi, Investigative Reporters and Editors and National Headliner Awards. NPR has been recognized with Grammy, American Women in Radio and Television and other citations, and is the only media organization to receive the National Medal of Arts, America’s highest arts award.

Since Klose and Stern joined the organization, NPR revenues grew from $75 million in 1998 to a projected $167 million for 2006. It was the recipient of the largest cash bequest ever made to an American cultural institution, nearly $235 million from the late philanthropist Joan B. Kroc.

Among Stern’s other achievements have been NPR’s critically-praised expansion in programming and digital platforms, including NPR’s established role as the biggest podcaster among media organizations and visibility in wireless, mobile, online and on-demand. He has overseen NPR’s increase in programming to roughly 1300 hours weekly, including 150 hours weekly of news magazine, talk, music and entertainment shows weekly for more than 850 U.S. public radio stations; two 24/7 public radio channels for Sirius Satellite Radio, five 24/7 HD Radio multicast music channels launched in Fall 2005 and more than 80 current podcasts. In 2005, NPR Labs research and development unit was created and is recognized as an industry leader in digital radio and multicast channel technology. In April 2006, NPR launched NPR Berlin, a terrestrial (FM) radio station in Berlin/Brandenburg.

Ken Stern

From 1996 to 1999, Stern worked with the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau in Washington, DC. He joined the organization as Senior Advisor and Consultant to the Director, and was subsequently named Director of Affiliate Relations, Research and Media Training. In these positions, Stern had supervising responsibility for the IBB’s offices of engineering, affiliate relations, research and media training, policy, business development, and external affairs.

Prior to his tenure at the International Broadcasting Bureau, Stern was chief counsel for the 53rd Presidential Inaugural Committee, deputy general counsel for the Clinton/Gore 1996 Campaign and management and legal consultant for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich and Prague.

Stern holds a J.D. degree from Yale Law School and a B.A. in political science from Haverford College. He was Phi Beta Kappa and the recipient of the Harold Kurzman Prize in Political Science.

Kevin Klose

A former editor, and national and foreign correspondent with The Washington Post, Klose is an award-winning author and worldwide broadcasting executive.

Prior to joining NPR, Klose served successively as director of U.S. international broadcasting, overseeing the U.S. Government’s global radio and television news services (1997-98) and president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), broadcasting to Central Europe and the former Soviet Union (1994-97). He joined RFE/RL in 1992 as director of Radio Liberty, broadcasting to the former Soviet Union in its national languages. Among his achievements, he relocated RFE/RL from Munich to Prague and helped devise and implement a strategy to refocus the mission of all U.S.-funded international broadcasting and update operations.

Klose previously was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for 25 years, serving as city editor, Moscow bureau chief, Midwest correspondent and deputy national editor.

Klose received a B.A., cum laude, from Harvard. A former Woodrow Wilson National Fellow, he serves on the board of Independent Sector in Washington, DC. He is the author of Russia and the Russians: Inside the Closed Society, the winner of the Overseas Press Club’s “Cornelius Ryan Award” and is co-author of four other books.