Unions call for immediate removal of Chicago Public Media CEO

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Unions representing staff at Chicago Public Media and the Chicago Sun-Times announced Tuesday a vote of no confidence in CPM CEO Matt Moog.

Of the combined union members, 86% participated in the vote with 96% voting no confidence, according to a press release from the two unions. 

The vote comes after the April announcement that CPM would layoff staff and end the radio broadcast of Vocalo, its Urban Alternative station. 

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists represents staff at WBEZ and Vocalo. Sun-Times employees are represented by the Sun-Times Guild.

In a LinkedIn post, Moog addressed the vote, calling it a personal attack. 

“After fifteen years of service to the organization as a Board member and CEO, it saddens me to be personally attacked for taking the necessary and responsible steps to reduce expenses to offset the financial impact of declining broadcast and print audiences,” he wrote. 

Moog announced in December that he would be stepping down from the role but stay on until a successor is hired. In his Wednesday LinkedIn post, Moog said an announcement about the next CEO “is expected in the near future.”

“I understand and empathize with the union’s frustration, desire to preserve jobs, and concern about the weakened state of local news,” he wrote. “Despite the union’s disappointment, I am proud of the talented journalists in our newsrooms, and supportive of the union’s vigorous efforts to preserve as many jobs as possible.”

In the release, the unions said they wrote a letter to the CPM board Tuesday requesting the immediate removal of Moog and the appointment of an interim CEO. They’re also seeking a commitment from the board that no more layoffs, buyouts or workforce reductions will occur during the remainder of Moog’s tenure. The union proposed an alternative to Moog’s immediate removal which would be his “removal from strategic and programming decisions or changes,” according to the release. 

The unions say they are also seeking “collaboration and engagement by the board with newsroom staff during this leadership transition and beyond” and “greater board and financial transparency.”

“Under Mr. Moog’s stewardship, we have seen a loss of talented and expert staffers and continued revenue declines, stunting our efforts to achieve sustainability even as we receive generous foundation support that should fuel growth,” the unions wrote in the joint letter to the board. “The lack of transparency and accountability in his leadership has led to mistrust among newsroom staff, and he has created unnecessarily combative relationships with our unions.”

Despite the no confidence vote, the unions wrote in the letter that their members are “still optimistic and hopeful this merger between the Sun-Times and WBEZ can be a success.”

One thought on “Unions call for immediate removal of Chicago Public Media CEO

  1. The dearth of comments on this piece surprises me. Perhaps it’s no longer a big story for employees and managers to be at such loggerheads in public media? I understand healthy dialogue, and even conflict. It is harder to understand this situation, of course I don’t know the inside story. Just sorry to see it for all concerned.

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