Today is NPR CEO Gary Knell’s first day on the job, and he’ll spend an hour of it with Neal Conan. At 2:00, Knell will join Conan on Talk of the Nation for an interview and he’ll take calls from listeners. WFPL will carry the broadcast live.
After that, Knell will answer questions on Twitter. His username is @nprgaryknell. Questions should be tagged #nprceo. Knell will post answers from 3:00-3:30.
Knell comes to NPR from Sesame Workshop, but he’s spent the last few weeks visiting stations and NPR offices across the country. He writes about the experience on the This Is NPR blog.
What’s clear to me already is that this ability to ‘connect’ exists in every corner of public radio. It’s in the local public affairs programs that tackle and explain critical community issues. It’s in our collective digital effort, to innovate across new frontiers. It’s in the coverage of local complexities, foreign issues and investigative work that hold people accountable, and report what other news outlets increasingly ignore. It’s in the music discovery that opens up worlds for our listeners. It’s in our accessibility, available almost everywhere and free to all.
Knell follows previous CEO Vivian Schiller, who resigned in March. On NPR’s blog the Two-Way, Mark Memmott wrote at the time that Schiller’s departure was fueled by two incidents:
There was the Fall 2010 dismissal of NPR analyst Juan Williams after he said on Fox News Channel that he gets nervous when he sees people in “Muslim garb” on airplanes.
And there was the release last March of a videotape surreptitiously made by associates of conservative activist James O’Keefe and heavily edited before its release, showing then-NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation to Vivian) slamming conservatives and appearing to question whether NPR needs federal funding.