Kinsey Wilson, NPR's outgoing chief content officer, sent this farewell email to NPR staff Friday. When I arrived at NPR six years ago, my wife remarked that it was as if I’d finally come home. Here was a place where the journalism I valued was deeply embedded in the culture. And where it was clear that curiosity, innovation and risk-taking could flourish. It was like having the New York Philharmonic and Miles under the same roof.
NPR President Jarl Mohn, who stepped into the role July 1, announced today a new COO and the departure of Kinsey Wilson, executive v.p. and chief content officer since February 2012. The new COO is Loren Mayor, currently senior v.p. of strategy. Mohn also shuffled NPR Music, which formerly reported to Wilson, to report to the network's senior v.p. of news. Eric Nuzum, v.p. of the programming division that comprises NPR's non-news shows, will report to Chief Marketing Officer Emma Carrasco. UPDATE (Oct 6, 2:53pm):
In an interview with Current, Mohn said the reorganization underscored the organization's commitment to its journalism and news programming.
Public Radio International will launch a multimedia program focused on women’s empowerment with a grant of about $1.28 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Across Women’s Lives is a “journalism and engagement initiative” examining the connection between women’s empowerment and health and economic development. The program highlights personal stories of women in Africa and India and looks at women’s lives from infancy to old age. The project’s content will be featured on PRI’s global news program The World and online. Additional content includes short video documentaries and educational tools to help listeners learn more about the topics covered.
NPR expects that a boost in revenue coupled with spending cuts resulting mainly from a staff reduction will lead to the network’s first balanced budget in three years. A fiscal year 2015 budget presented at a Thursday meeting of NPR’s board of directors projected $190.2 million in revenue and $188.7 million in expenses. Depreciation and other cash adjustments are anticipated to eat up the $1.5 million overage, leaving NPR with a balanced budget. “This will be the first balanced budget since 2011,” said Roger Sarow, chair of the board’s Finance and Administration Committee and g.m. of WFAE-FM in Charlotte, N.C. “It was unbalanced three years out of five, and that just wasn’t sustainable.”
NPR reported a $681,000 surplus as of the end of July based largely on a 4 percent reduction in expenses, compared to a $1.1 million loss at the same time last year. Regardless, NPR is still projecting a deficit by Sept.
Members of an NPR working group aiming to standardize levels of audio content delivered via the Public Radio Satellite System believe they have found one possible solution to the problem. Programs sent to stations through the PRSS vary widely in volume and may detract from the listener’s experience, according to Chris Nelson, NPR’s director of digital strategy. In May, Nelson shared with the NPR Board results of a study in which about 53 percent of the content examined by the working group deviated from standards PRSS recommends for consistent volumes. The group aims to give stations and producers affordable best practices and resources to help solve the problem. At a meeting Thursday of NPR’s board, Nelson told board members that the working group has consulted with producers and engineers about the issue and conducted a survey to learn how the problem affects stations that use and contribute PRSS content.