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From Neil Best's Desk


Just over five years ago, the NPR Board of Directors, frustrated with a series of deficit spending years and continual turn over in the CEO position, decided to think outside the box during their CEO search.  Jarl Mohn, best known for leadership positions at MTV and VH1, and for founding E! Entertainment, seemed an unlikely match for the leading news network in the United States.

As it turns out it was an inspired match.  Jarl’s understanding of media (he began his career as a radio DJ), matched with his passion for the public service of public media, resulted in significant growth in the audience served by NPR member stations--including KUNC, five years of balanced budgets, and a strong sense of purpose moving forward.  Unfortunately, a near-death health issue more than a year ago is forcing Jarl to retire at the end of his five-year contract.

Last week, a new CEO was named to lead the network.  John Lansing is a veteran media executive whose most recent position was as CEO of the government agency that oversees the Voice of America, Radio Television Martí and Radio and Free Europe/Radio Liberty.  According to NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik, “Lansing made his mark in his current job with stirring defenses of journalism, free from government interference.”

"When I think of NPR and I think of the member stations collectively, I think really of journalism as a public service, not tied to a profit motive," Lansing told NPR News. He defined NPR's mission as "serving the public with information and an excellence and quality about it that makes it 'must see' on a variety of platforms."

After speaking with several board members who were involved in the search process, I am hopeful Mr. Lansing will be able to build on the legacy of my friend Jarl Mohn.  That can only mean KUNC will be able to better serve our community at the international, national, and Colorado level.

Warm Regards,

Neil Best 
President & CEO