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Thu December 1, 2011
New NPR CEO Gary Knell Starts Work, Will Take Listeners' Calls
Our new boss started work today and if you're interested in what NPR CEO and President Gary Knell is thinking as he settles into the job:
-- He's due on Talk of the Nation just after 2 p.m. ET, and will be answering questions from callers. When we get closer to the time he's scheduled to be on, we'll embed an audio player in this post so that we can stream the conversation. To find a station that broadcasts or streams the show, click here.
-- There's a post written by Gary on the This Is NPR blog. "This organization has a profound impact on our world every single day," he writes. "I'm humbled to now be able to say 'we' when I talk about all that NPR has done and will continue to do. ... The media environment is increasingly crowded, chaotic and complex. What people need is not just more information, but an ally to help them make sense of it all."
-- At 3 p.m. ET, Gary's due to have a "tweet chat." He's @nprgaryknell, and questions can be tagged #nprceo.
Vivian Schiller resigned as CEO and president last March after two high-profile controversies led the board of directors to conclude that she could no longer effectively lead NPR.
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.
Williams went on to say it's wrong to profile or stereotype anyone based on his or her appearance, but NPR said it was one of a series of comments he had made that violated the network's standards. The handling of his dismissal and the controversy surrounding it — including comments Schiller made about Williams that she later apologized for — made headlines for several weeks. That controversy also led to the resignation of NPR's top news executive at the time, Ellen Weiss. Her permanent replacement has yet to be named.
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.
The controversies fueled calls by some in Congress to cut funding to NPR.
NPR General Counsel and Senior Vice President for legal affairs Joyce Slocum served as interim CEO until today.
Gary joins NPR from Sesame Workshop — producers of the Sesame Street educational children's TV show — where he was president and CEO.