KPCC board chair named chief executive of NPR

Jarl-Mohn-current.jpgI assume that KPCC's influence back at NPR just took a big leap. Jarl Mohn, the board chair at KPCC "and a longtime media exec and venture capitalist" — as well as a former radio deejay under the stage name of Lee Masters — today was named the CEO of NPR. He takes over in July. From the story at Current.org:

Mohn will replace interim CEO Paul Haaga, who stepped into the role in September 2013 after previous CEO Gary Knell left to head the National Geographic Society. Haaga, who has also served on KPCC’s board, helped recruit Mohn for the job.


The network heard from 1,700 applicants interested in the job, the board reported. Mohn was not on hand for the board’s announcement.

Mohn has spent nearly three decades in leadership roles at various media companies. He was g.m. of MTV Networks from 1986-90; founder and CEO of cable channel E! from 1990-98; founding president of Liberty Digital Inc. from 1999-2002; and non-executive chair of CNET from 2006-08, among other positions.

He has also served on the boards of directors of ComScore, Scripps Network Interactive and the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism. Mohn began his career in 1967 as a disc jockey on commercial radio and spent 19 years on-air under the pseudonym Lee Masters.

With his wife, he created the Mohn Family Foundation in 2000. The foundation has donated funds to KPCC, KCRW in Los Angeles and New York’s WNYC, according to documents filed with the IRS.

Mohn is quoted in the release: “This is not a job for me. It is a mission. I love public radio and NPR. It is a national treasure and more important now than ever. I want to make sure the staff of NPR, the Member Stations and the others who make it happen have everything they need to do their best work.”

Current.org notes that Mohn is also a well-known art collector. "In 2004, Mohn had a $2 million, 12-seat screening room constructed in his home by renowned skyscape architect James Turrell. In 2012 he established the Mohn Award for Los Angeles artists, the city’s first $100,000 art prize. He also has some interesting stories about parties in the entertainment biz."

Per Current.org, Mohn has donated more than $260,000 to political campaigns, according to Federal Elections Commission filings, including $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund during the 2012 presidential election. "Mohn has donated primarily to Democratic candidates and organizations but has also supported Republicans," the site says.

Here's the memo to stations from NPR board chair Kit Jensen"

From: NPR Communications
Sent: Friday, May 09, 2014 10:35 AM
Subject: Jarl Mohn to Become NPR President and CEO


Dear Friends,

I am delighted to announce that following a comprehensive search, our Board has selected Jarl Mohn to serve as our next President and Chief Executive Officer. Among the many candidates we considered for the position, Jarl has a deep commitment to the public radio system, love of radio, passion for quality journalism and strong track record on diversity and fairness. With his keen ability to identify media and consumer trends, we have great confidence he will lead us on our continuing path of sustained achievement and growth.

Jarl has had a lifelong career in media. He has been a board member of Southern California Public Radio for the past 12 years and is its chairman. He was the founding President and Chief Executive Officer of Liberty Digital, a public company that invested in interactive television, cable networks and internet enterprises. Prior to Liberty Digital, he created E! Entertainment Television and served as President and Chief Executive Officer from January 1990 to December 1998. He was Executive Vice President and General Manager of MTV and VH1, from 1986 to 1990. He began his career as a disc jockey in 1967 and on the air at WNBC-AM in New York in the 1970s. Most recently he has divided his time between being a corporate director and advisor to a number of media companies, making direct early stage angel and seed investments in digital media/technology ventures.

Jarl has also been on the Board of Councilors of the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism for nine years. He has been a generous philanthropist throughout the years and he and his wife Pamela created The Mohn Family Foundation in 2000.

Jarl will begin on July 1. We expect the transition of responsibilities to be seamless, owing largely to the continuing robust leadership of Acting President and CEO Paul Haaga and NPR’s senior team. The Board is grateful to Paul for his careful stewardship of NPR over these last few months and for his willingness to be available to provide his insights and guidance through the upcoming transition. It is my hope that he will return to the Board at the appropriate time.

While other outlets in our line of work have been retrenching, NPR has remained a preeminent source of news and programming – a leading force in American journalism and a unique national asset. I am proud of where the organization is and the progress that has been made possible by NPR’s staff, Member Stations, listeners and supporters. Thank you for your individual and collective efforts that have contributed to our many successes.

Over the coming weeks I look forward to your help in supporting Jarl as he leads us into the next phase of our remarkable history as a beacon of news and culture for millions of listeners every day.

-Kit


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