Coming off of a year that’s seen NPR hit its highest broadcast ratings and gain legions of podcast listeners, it’s no wonder the company would want to reward those with a hand in that success.
Loren Mayor, NPR’s chief operating officer is being promoted to president of operations, a role that will see her heading up a number of company projects. Mayor’s promotion comes about a year after her stint as acting chief executive officer when Jarl Mohn went on temporary medical leave in the wake of NPR’s head of news resigning over claims of sexual harassment earlier in his career.
“Loren is recognized both inside NPR and across the public radio system for her deep commitment to public media and her rare ability to both set and execute vision, turning aspirations into measurable outcomes,” Mohn said. “Because of Loren, we are in a better position to achieve the goals in our strategic plan, fulfill our mission and prepare NPR for the next 50 years in our history.”
In her new executive position, which is a new role at NPR, Mayor said she will continue her work on internal cultural initiatives and the effort to leveraging NPR’s network of more than 900 broadcast stations and partners, an undertaking that she characterized as “an immense opportunity” marked by challenges of scope and communication.
“There are a lot of elements to get right,” Mayor said.
As part of the effort, Gemma Hooley is being promoted to senior vice president of member partnership, another new role, where she will continue to work directly on initiatives with NPR member stations.
But so far so good. As of March, NPR reported its total weekly listeners for all programming had sustained a record of nearly 40 million people. Its hourly newscasts held nearly 29 million listeners, while its main weekly news features “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” held just under 15 million listeners each. The web site has grown to an average 41 million users a month and podcasts have been a major area for growth, too, with 20 million unique listeners and more than 103 million downloads and streams a month, as of March, and 42 shows driving that growth.
Mayor noted that NPR’s programming portfolio “has flourished” more recently, and said Anya Grundmann has been a big part of the expansion. Grundmann is being promoted to senior vice president of programming and audience development and will continue to work on innovating and experimenting with on-air content and podcasts, an area in which NPR has no intention of slowing down. “We are voracious in out appetite,” Mayor said when asked about more podcasts series’ launching.
“It’s a flooded marketplace and quality does matter and that’s really important to us, but there is no end to the number of good ideas and the kinds of stories that aren’t being told…we’re always incubating,” Mayor said.
Podcasts are also good for business, since advertisers are increasingly eager to work within the platform and the infrastructure needed to support a podcast tends to be smaller and less expensive than what is required for NPR’s daily and expansive news coverage.”That’s been very, very positive for us,” Mayor said. “We can do more.”
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