Tim Eby is out as St. Louis Public Radio GM

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Tim Eby is no longer GM at St. Louis Public Radio, a spokesperson confirmed to Current Thursday.

In an email to staff Thursday obtained by Current, Paul Herring, vice chancellor for advancement at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the station’s licensee, did not go into detail about why Eby is no longer at the station.

Herring told staff that Tom Livingston, founder and CEO of public media executive recruitment firm Livingston Associates, will take over as interim GM effective immediately and that Eby is “no longer serving” as GM, the email said.

A university spokesperson said in a statement that the leadership change “represents the first step toward resetting the direction and operation of the station to more closely align with the mission and values of the university.”

Eby has been GM at the station since 2009 and also served on the NPR board. Eby has not responded to a call from Current seeking comment. 

Eby’s NPR board seat is now vacant, an NPR spokesperson told Current. His term ran through November 2021. The board can fill the seat for the remainder of his term with a majority vote.

Eby’s departure comes amid journalists of color at the station calling out racism at the station in recent months.

A tweet from the Twitter account St. Louis Public Radio Journalists of Color said Thursday, “Everyone who spoke out and stood with us is part of our ongoing effort to achieve equity and fight against racism at St. Louis Public Radio. Thank you.”

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson, the afternoon newscaster at the station, wrote on Medium Aug. 7 that leadership at the station had failed journalists of color.

In the post, Lewis-Thompson said that she had seen Eby “humiliate people during staff meetings, and diminish their value and contributions to the station. I will never forget how he made my colleagues cry when they simply asked about opportunities to advance at the station.” She added that Eby has “continuously swept systemic racism at the station under the rug.”

The same day, reporters and producers of color at the station said in a separate Medium post that station leadership needed to “take responsibility for their role in cultivating a culture that perpetuates racism” and that management had “failed to both racially diversify its staff and retain journalists of color.” Following a 2017 Current article that highlighted staff concerns, “very little changed,” staffers wrote.

Eby responded to staff concerns in a post on the station’s website Aug. 10. “Systemic racism exists, including at St. Louis Public Radio, and that is unacceptable,” Eby wrote. He added that he is “very sorry that I did not recognize the depth of the problems earlier and that staff have been hurt” and that he is “committed to making meaningful change as a leader, as an organization—and through my personal growth.”

Earlier this month, reporters and producers of color at the station said they were told that an external investigation initiated by the station’s licensee would look into concerns at the station. But 21 staffers later told the university that they had “no confidence” in the external investigation, citing in part a denial for staff to have outside witnesses or legal representation sit in on the interviews.

“So far, we have been met with informal invitations to speak one-on-one with senior leadership team members, proposals to share our thoughts informally in small groups, and an investigation that seems to treat our concerns about racism at the station solely as a public relations problem,” the staffers said.

“As you are aware, the external investigation of the diversity, equity and inclusion practices at the station in response to your concerns remains underway and I continue to encourage your participation in this process,” Herring told staff in the email Thursday.

Update: This post has been updated to include information about Eby’s seat on the NPR board.

Correction: A previous version of this story said Herring sent the email on Tuesday. He sent it on Thursday.

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