An excerpt from the interview:
Q: You’re a self-professed “NPR groupie.” What do you listen to?
A: Morning Edition is kind of on every day. I’m a big fan of Weekend Edition Saturday, as well as a lot of the music programs. I’m a follower of most all of the programs, so I didn’t walk into the job saying, “What’s that show? I never heard of that before.” What’s been fun is meeting all these personalities I’ve listened to over the years.
Q: From Big Bird to a big undertaking. What prompted you to take this job?
A: I felt like I had one more big thing left to do, and I only wanted to go to an organization that would have an even greater impact than the one I was in. NPR is one of those places. It’s a very powerful brand that has high emotional value—mostly positive, some a little negative—and a fan base that is very dedicated. I’ve done a lot of work running a global media company, taking them through this digital transition, which is affecting all media. So I just decided, let’s take a shot at this. I’m not naïve about it. But I’m excited about the challenge.
Rocked by controversy in 2011, including the resignation of its chief executive, NPR launched a search for a new president and CEO. They found public television veteran Gary Knell ’75, who was tapped to lead the venerable public radio operation in October. The former CEO of Sesame Workshop, Knell helped turn Sesame Street into a more global brand, ushering the iconic children’s TV program into the digital age. Similar change is in the air for NPR’s 26 million-plus listeners with Knell at the helm.
Read more of the interview – UCLA Magazine – New Head of NPR