Susan Harmon, a career-long public radio leader and one of Public Radio Capital’s two managing directors, will retire from the position Dec. 31. Ken Ikeda, a relatively new hire and former head of San Francisco’s Bay Area Video Coalition, will succeed her.
Marc Hand, who has shared authority with Harmon since founding of the Denver-based nonprofit in 2001, will continue as the other managing director. Harmon’s role has largely involved the organization’s strategic planning, philanthropic support, and investor relations for the Public Radio Fund, a lending source for expansion of public radio.
Founded to help public radio expand services by acquiring frequencies, PRC has helped arrange transactions and financing worth more than $270 million in its 10-year life. It has often assisted licensees competing for frequencies with religious broadcasting chains.
“It is a rare privilege in life to be able to know and work with Susan, and to see the significant impact she’s had on people personally and professionally,” Hand said in a release.
Harmon will remain a board member of PRC and two related organizations — Public Media Company, headed by Ikeda, and Essential Public Media, licensee of Pittsburgh’s new news station, the former jazz broadcaster WDUQ.
Earlier in Harmon’s pubradio career she managed WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C., for 11 years and KERA-FM in Dallas/Ft. Worth for 14 years. During that time, in 1984, she helped start public radio’s Station Resource Group, virtual parent of both Public Radio Capital and the Public Radio Exchange, among other projects. Before co-founding PRC she directed SRG’s Major Gifts Initiative and Leaders Partnership for three years. She chaired the NPR Board in 1975 and 1976 and the SRG Board between 1986 and 1991 and also served on Public Radio International’s board.
Ikeda, who had been executive director of Bay Area Video Coalition until joining PRC this year, led BAVC through a period of expansion into new services, including advocacy for a proposed National Public Lightpath high-speed data network to serve public media and producers and new production relationships with pubTV station KQED. He joined BAVC in 2006 when it merged with Youth Sounds, a community media advocacy project. During his time with BAVC, the MacArthur Foundation recognized it with the equivalent of a “genius award” for organizations. He serves as a board member of the Center for Asian American Media, The Working Group and Youth Speaks.