Ken Stern, 2nd in Command At NPR, Is Taking the Helm
National Public Radio yesterday named Ken Stern, its second-ranking executive, to be its chief executive officer. Stern will succeed Kevin Klose, who will remain with the Washington-based programming service as president and a board member.
Stern, 43, has been executive vice president since joining NPR in 1999.
Klose has held the top job at NPR since late 1998, and has presided over strong growth in NPR's annual funding, as well as increases in its audience and newsroom staff. During that time, the number of people listening to NPR's programs doubled, to about 26 million per week, and its annual budget more than doubled, to $167 million.
Klose, 66, was instrumental in landing public radio's largest grant, a $235 million bequest from the late McDonald's heiress Joan Kroc in 2003.
Klose, a former Washington Post journalist and president of Radio Free Europe, said yesterday that Stern would take over day-to-day management of NPR effective Oct. 1, while he concentrates on fundraising.
"We have to figure out new funding sources," Klose said. "I want to concentrate on making more of that happen." He added: "The charity dollar is under tremendous pressure. There are a lot of people standing at the door."
Klose said his goals include raising money to expand local news reporting at "scores" of NPR-affiliated stations nationwide.
Prior to joining NPR, Stern worked with Klose at Radio Free Europe. He has also been a director of the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau in Washington and was deputy general counsel for President Clinton's 1996 reelection campaign.
-- Paul Farhi