WXXI CEO Norm Silverstein to retire after nearly 30 years with station

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Norm Silverstein, president and CEO of WXXI Public Media in Rochester, N.Y., is retiring from the organization.

WXXI CEO Norm Silverstein

Silverstein will stay with WXXI as its board of trustees searches for a successor.

“Norm’s commitment to local journalism, dedication to embracing technology for the betterment of public media, and ability to foster strong relationships with local, state, and national elected leaders are key attributes in the growth and success of WXXI,” said Board Chair David M. Tang in a news release. “His emphasis on building a robust news team and commitment to forming solid partnerships with non-profit organizations has enhanced the quality and reach of WXXI, making it a leading contributor in the region’s media landscape.” 

When Silverstein joined WXXI in 1995, it operated one television station and two radio stations. It now operates four public television channels, one cable channel for the city of Rochester, and six radio stations. The staff headcount has also doubled during his tenure, according to the news release.

Silverstein led the two most profitable capital campaigns in WXXI’s history: The 21/21 Vision Campaign in 2004 raised $12 million, and the Go Public Campaign in 2016 earned $18 million. In December 2011, WXXI acquired a movie house. It purchased the alt-weekly City Newspaper in 2018 and acquired an FM signal for NPR and WXXI News at 105.9 last year.

According to the release, one of Silverstein’s proudest accomplishments is WXXI’s national Move to Include initiative with the Golisano Foundation, created in 2014 to promote inclusion for people with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities.

Before joining WXXI, Silverstein was SVP of administration for Maryland Public Television. Before working in public media, he was a correspondent in Washington, D.C., and served as deputy press secretary and senior aide to Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes.

He chairs the finance committee of the New York State Broadcasters Association and is a former chair of the Association of Public Broadcasting Stations of New York and the Public Television Affinity Group Coalition. He is a former board member of America’s Public Television Stations and is past treasurer of the board of Greater Public.

“I believe that WXXI is what Congress had in mind when the Bill was passed in 1967 creating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) — television and radio that would make a positive difference in peoples’ lives and help strengthen local communities,” Silverstein said. “The arts and cultural community in Rochester is stronger because WXXI believes in cooperation, not competition, and in putting the community first. You see that in almost everything we do.”

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