Knell calls last year’s NPR troubles “self-inflicted wounds”

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New NPR President Gary Knell, speaking on KPBS Radio in San Diego, called the pubradio network’s problems last year — including the firing of Juan Williams and resignation of c.e.o. Vivian Schiller — “self-inflicted wounds to a large degree.”

Speaking on the station’s Midday Edition, he added, “I wasn’t there, I wasn’t part of the decision making process. The people who were are not there anymore, and that speaks volumes in and of itself.”

Also during the half-hour call-in show, Knell possibly foreshadowed upcoming changes. “I think it’s important that we are continuously looking for new, articulate voices,” he said. “You don’t want to ‘dumb-down’ public radio,” and need to include “discussions from conservative voices, from so-called liberal voices and people who might be somewhat in the center. And you can find those voices. But we’ve got to make sure they feel welcomed on our air.”

One caller asked if NPR has a plan in case federal funding is cut. “We’re not anticipating, so to speak, and planning for a privatized public radio,” Knell said. However, he added, NPR also needs to look at “growing the private sector and figuring out how to manage through turbulence, in public funding or, frankly, in private sector funding. We’re not immune from those. And we have our eyes wide open, and we’re going to be prudent business people and manage the resources we have in front of us with balanced budgets and other things that I’m going to bring to the table at NPR.”

Here’s a rush transcript.

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