The bad news: Public radio is a small part of a rapidly expanding nonprofit sector. Competition with other nonprofits for mind-share and donor support will intensify. Moreover, public radio lacks the financial transparency that donors increasingly expect.
Chief Operating Officer Bob Ottenhoff is leaving the No. 2 position at PBS after eight years working for Ervin Duggan and the previous president, Bruce Christensen.
News of the change, already circulating in heavy rotation at the PBS Annual Meeting when Duggan announced it during the June 6 opening session, mystified station executives and even some PBS Board members. It added a new story element to what one former board member called “a range of colossally uninformed mispeculation” that Duggan was either (a) confidently moving ahead, (b) soon to lose his own job, or (c) both. High-ranking board members said nothing. Beth Wolfe, PBS’s chief financial officer since 1988, will take oversight of Ottenhoff’s departments, with the new title of chief administrative officer.