Gary E. Knell, president and c.e.o. of Sesame Workshop for a decade, will start work Dec. 1 with the same titles at NPR, the network announced today. The NPR Board voted unanimously to hire the widely experienced leader of a comparably prominent, esteemed and successful public media institution who had preparatory stints as a legislative aide and in private media and public TV. An NPR spokesperson said Knell would take a reduction pay. His Sesame Workshop compensation came to more than $746,000, NPR’s David Folkenflik reported today [Mark Memmott’s blog].
Jim Lehrer, who has reported the news of the day for more than 50 years, became part of it May 12 when he announced that he will step away from the weeknight anchor desk at PBS NewsHour in June. A big Washington Post story the next day, dominating the feature section, lauded him as “one of America’s most respected newsmen.” It estimated that come June 6, when Lehrer cuts back to once-weekly appearances, he will have anchored some 8,000 broadcasts “and a few zillion newsmaker interviews.”
This week (May 19) Lehrer turns 77. “I feel good about this,” Lehrer told Current May 13. “I thought I might have second thoughts, but no. This was my idea, I planned it, I worked out a way to do it.” That planning began about three years ago, Lehrer says.
Kathleen A. Cox will step up from chief operating officer of CPB, becoming the corporation’s first woman president July 1 . Robert T. Coonrod, president since 1997, said he recognized her as a good successor four years ago and groomed her for the job. The CPB Board announced Cox’s promotion Jan. 27. Coonrod will work with her at CPB until October and says he wants to find a new job after that.
Ira Glass has another vision. The first one launched his hugely successful show, This American Life, which developed a fresh narrative style for public radio. Now Glass has a plan for an entirely new generation of storytellers who can bring public radio into the new millennium. But that takes talent, something that many say has been in short supply for public radio the past few years. At the Public Radio Conference last month in Orlando, the buzz about the talent crunch dominated discussions among managers, producers, editors and engineers alike.