Dave Edwards, g.m. of Milwaukee Public Radio (WUWM) for 25 years, who took over this month as chair of the NPR Board, announced a task force that will consider "how we serve the audience through radio programming as well as digital."
The move responds to station leaders’ concerns that NPR’s focus on digital advances has meant that it’s "not spending as much time on radio as we should," Edwards said.
Task force members will "examine the economics of the programming landscape and articulate the role that NPR should play in that space," he said, building on the recommendations from Station Resource Group’s "Grow the Audience" report and a recent audience study commissioned by NPR Research.
"We do a disservice to this work and the American people if we don’t pay attention to that research," he said at the board meeting.
The new chair is recruiting a representative task force, including NPR insiders and outsiders. It will report to the board.
Edwards’s station switched from a classical/jazz format to news/talk several years after he became g.m. in 1985. WUWM now airs a daily newsmagazine as part of its expanded local news effort.
Edwards was a program manager, news director, reporter and anchor in TV and radio before his appointment as g.m. in Milwaukee. He was first elected to the NPR Board in 2006 and also has served as president of the school board in his hometown of Franklin, Wis.; chair of public radio’s audience data cooperative, the Radio Research Consortium; and a board member of the University Station Alliance.