The most famous general manager in public radio, Torey Malatia, is going to try again with another station.
The former longtime head of WBEZ in Chicago, who resigned from the position under pressure in 2013, starts Monday as the new president, c.e.o. and general manager of Rhode Island Public Radio in Providence.
When I asked why he wanted to get back in the game, Malatia told me he still wants to experiment with new models of reaching different audiences and building community, and a smaller station like RIPR might be the ideal place to do it.
“How does one reach people who have a very different use of broadcast but who still may have a real craving for the value, the mission that public media brings? I think that’s an exploration worth doing,” he told me on The Pub, asserting that was basically the point on which he and the Chicago Public Media board failed to see eye-to-eye.
On the show this week, Malatia talks about his goals for Rhode Island, looks back on his time in Chicago and contemplates whether the strategy of launching new national shows — like the hits This American Life and Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me! he nurtured at WBEZ — still makes sense for stations today.
Also on the show:
- A conversation with two of the youngest general managers in public media: 30-year-old Michelle Srbinovich of WDET radio in Detroit, and 32-year-old Emily Martin Loya of KCOS-TV in El Paso, Texas.
- My thoughts on the BBC’s new plan to offer free content to local newspapers.
We’re doing a live show in Los Angeles Sept. 25! Seats are very limited, so go here to register your free tickets.
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Adam Ragusea hosts Current’s weekly podcast The Pub and is a journalist in residence and visiting assistant professor at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.