Regents extend funding for Iowa Public Radio

The Iowa Board of Regents agreed Oct. 23 to continue funding Iowa Public Radio at current levels through the end of fiscal year 2016, reversing a plan to zero out funding by that time. IPR’s 2012 strategic plan called for zeroing out the board of regents’ support by the end of fiscal year 2016. The station saw shortfalls in major giving revenue and lacked an executive director for a year until Myrna Johnson joined the network in January. Citing those factors, IPR asked for board funding to remain at 12.5 percent of its operating budget.

Funding boost from universities helps Iowa Public Radio after difficult year

Iowa’s Board of Regents voted to increase funding for Iowa Public Radio Thursday after hearing details of the pubcaster’s financial struggles in the wake of a CEO’s departure. The seven regents unanimously agreed to boost IPR’s fiscal year 2015 funding by $236,000. The decision restores support from the state universities to its FY2013 level of $944,800, almost a quarter of IPR’s total revenues that year. IPR, comprising six stations licensed to three public universities, has been adjusting to reduced subsidies from the schools, which have scaled back aid by 10 percent each year since 2011. IPR aims to be free of university funding in 2017.

Iowa Public Radio names new executive director

Myrna Johnson, a former government relations associate for NPR who now directs a Boston nonprofit, has been named the next executive director of Iowa Public Radio. The Iowa Public Radio Board of Directors  announced Johnson’s appointment Nov. 5,  ending a  seven-month nationwide search for successor to Mary Grace Herrington, who was dismissed in February.  Herrington contested the firing and both parties agreed to a $197,000 settlement in May. Johnson departs the Boston Schoolyard Initiative, a public-private partnership that oversees renovation of  schoolyards in Boston’s urban neighborhoods, where she has worked as executive director since 2009.

One ouster leads to another at Iowa Public Radio

When the board of Iowa Public Radio voted to remove Mary Grace Herrington as c.e.o. Feb. 25, the directors were responding to mounting evidence of declining staff morale at the state network. Dissension over Herrington’s leadership was sparked at least in part by her decision to fire a popular news director last year. The sole “no” in the IPR board’s 6-1 vote was cast by a newly appointed director who was attending his first meeting. Herrington had been chief executive since 2009, leading IPR through a signal expansion and format differentiation that created two distinct public radio channels for Iowans.

Ann Thompson

NPR hires two reporters, WXXI news director rappels down 21 stories, and more…

Leila Fadel, Cairo bureau chief for the Washington Post, signs on as NPR’s Cairo-based correspondent in July. She covered the Iraq War for almost five years and won a George Polk Award in 2007 for her reporting from Baghdad. She replaces Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, who will report from Kabul, Afghanistan, and then Berlin. Gregory Warner, a senior reporter for American Public Media’s Marketplace, will join NPR as East Africa correspondent, based in Nairobi, Kenya, in December. Warner now covers the economics and business of healthcare, but he’s previously reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the DR Congo.

Gregory Shanley, 49

Longtime public radio journalist Gregory Shanley, 49, a statewide talk host on Iowa Public Radio, died Jan. 26 [2010] in Iowa City.

Uncomfortable, as promised

Cindy Browne never promised them a rose garden. In fact, the founding executive director of Iowa Public Radio repeatedly promised the network’s 50-some staffers a long passage through anger, grief and confusion, before things would get the least bit rosy. Over the past three years, events delivered some of the expected benefits of combining the public radio operations at Iowa’s three big state universities, as well as the promised discomforts for both listeners and staffers. The next steps are up to a new set of executives. In coming months, IPR will hire, besides an executive director, a content director, a music director, a development director and a Cedar Rapids reporter.