Meet Gary Knell, the new President/CEO of NPR

We learned Sunday afternoon that the NPR Board of Directors has chosen Gary Knell as the new President and CEO of NPR.  Knell is the longtime President and CEO of Sesame Workshop, the the nonprofit education company behind the beloved children’s show Sesame Street, and other highly regarded public television programs like Electric Company and Dragon Tales.

The hiring of Knell comes at a critical time for NPR and all of public radio as it recovers from a series of missteps last year that included the controversial termination of Juan Williams that ultimately lead to the exit of then CEO Vivian Schiller, News SVP Ellen Weiss, and its fundraising chief.

Knell was interviewed by Melissa Block on All Things Considered on Monday and among many things was questioned about the role of federal funding for public radio. Knell articulated that public radio needs to do a better job at making the case for funding by equating public radio to institutions such as public libraries and public museums that also received tax-based subsidies.

Here’s the full interview.

Knell’s first chance to meet with member stations like St. Louis Public Radio will come on Tuesday afternoon with a conference call with station leaders. He officially begins work at NPR on December 1, 2011.

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About Tim Eby

General Manager of St. Louis Public Radio.

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