WNYC adds v.p. positions, makes other management tweaks

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WNYC in New York City has added two vice presidents for on-demand content to its executive roster and made other management changes, which it announced in a memo Tuesday.

In the memo, Dean Cappello, WNYC’s executive v.p. and chief content officer, said that the station has promoted Paula Szuchman and Emily Botein to the new position of v.p. for on-demand content.

Szuchman will oversee podcasts Note to Self, The Longest Shortest Time and The Sporkful and work with the WNYC Archives to find new ways to use old content. She was previously senior director of digital content at the station.

Botein will oversee WNYC’s forthcoming radio show with the New Yorker, the podcasts Death, Sex & Money and Here’s the Thing, and “other projects that we will incubate, pilot, and launch in the coming months and years,” according to Cappello. She will also hire an “experienced Editor/Producer.” Botein was previously e.p. of content development and production.

“Think of this team and the work they do as the early development of WNYC Studios,” Cappello said.

No jobs were eliminated as part of the reorganization, according to Jennifer Houlihan Roussel, a WNYC spokesperson.

“We’ve created a structure that recognizes the current way we work and where we are headed over the next several years,” Roussel said. “It’s also building more of a team structure than we’ve had.”

Among other changes:

  • Suzie Lechtenberg will oversee a new project by Radiolab host Jad Abumrad that focuses on the Supreme Court. The project is in development, said Roussel, who declined to comment further. Lechtenberg previously worked as e.p. of Freakonomics Radio.
  • Jennifer Sendrow, previously a live events producers, is now e.p. for multiplatform content, with a focus on the station’s live events venue, The Greene Space.
  • Jim Schachter, v.p. for news, is now managing The Leonard Lopate Show and Studio 360. The shows were previously managed by Chris Bannon before he left WNYC for Midroll Media in February.
  • Lee Hill was hired as managing editor of digital content.
  • Malissa O’Donnell is now director of planning and project management. She was previously in the role on an interim basis.
  • Jen Poyant, previously a senior producer for The Takeaway, is now e.p. of Note to Self.

And among other items of note in the memo:

  • Sendrow is working with George C. Wolfe, a Tony Award–winning director and playwright, on a new project commissioning writers to develop short-form dramas for podcasts and other platforms.
  • In order to foster an exchange of ideas within the station, Cappello said WNYC will hold a “series of internal festivals” that will include “bootcamps, brown bags, and pizza parties.” “Knowledge lives at every level of the production process and we want to hear from as many people as we can about what they know,” he said.
  • Videos produced by The Greene Space have reached nearly 3 million views, an “extraordinary leap” in the last year, Cappello said.
  • Joseph Bevilacqua

    Why has public radio become so top heavy. When I first arrived at WNYC, in 1989, we were a city agency with a Head of Membership, a Program Director, a publicity manager and a maintenance manager. By the time I left, in 1995, WNYC was about to be sold to the Foundation, we have two program directors (AM & FM), a news director, a VP of Development, a VP of Programming and several floors worth of added “executives”. In the olds days, the PD assigned the work, the producer/host created it, it aired. We did not have to “develop” our public radio to maximize audience and funding. We just made great radio. I dare say, we made much more interesting radio than what has come out this corpoartized public radio station.