The University of Missouri, St. Louis (UMSL), seeks a General Manager for St. Louis Public Radio (STLPR), the public media service serving St. Louis and the region with Local and NPR News and other programming through multiple platforms including broadcast and digital.
About the University of Missouri St. Louis:
As the largest public research university in eastern Missouri, and the third largest in the state, the University of Missouri–St. Louis prides itself on creating greater access to affordable, quality higher education and increased economic and social opportunity for nearly 16,000 diverse students in an environment of equity, inclusion, and respect. Overall, U.S. News & World Report ranks UMSL as a Tier 1 research university with numerous programs which have individually attained national recognition, including: biology, computer science, criminology and criminal justice, education, engineering, information systems, international business, nursing, optometry, psychology, public policy and ecology. UMSL has been further distinguished for its success educating individuals from diverse and underserved populations. U.S. News named UMSL to its inaugural “Top Performers for Social Mobility” list. UMSL is also a four-time recipient of the “Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award” from INSIGHTS into Diversity magazine – the oldest publication specializing in this area. Established in 1963, UMSL has had a dramatic impact on the lives of more than 105,000 graduates who are succeeding nationally and internationally – but mostly locally. Nearly 75 percent of UMSL graduates live and work in the St. Louis region – leading the regional workforce and contributing to the social well-being of our communities.
About St. Louis Public Radio:
St. Louis Public Radio is an award-winning news organization and NPR-member station, providing in-depth news, insightful discussion and entertaining programs to half-a-million people per month on air and online. Nearing 50 years in service, St. Louis Public Radio exists to provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures for a more inspired and engaged public. With a large, St. Louis-based newsroom and reporters stationed in Jefferson City and Rolla, Missouri, and Belleville, Illinois, the station’s journalists find and tell important stories about communities across a broad geographic region and help people to become deeply informed about the issues that affect their lives. St. Louis Public Radio produces six original podcasts—the most distinguished being We Live Here, a two-time international Kaleidoscope Award winner for outstanding coverage of diverse communities. Broadcasting on 90.7 KWMU FM in St. Louis and 88.5 KMST in Rolla, Missouri, and 90.3 WQUB in Quincy, Illinois, and online at stlpublicradio.org, the station delivers three HD radio channels and streaming services offering news, storytelling, and jazz and classical music. St. Louis Public Radio (STLPR) is a service of the University of Missouri - St. Louis, supported by more than 25,000 community members and an active advisory board, The Friends of KWMU.
The Situation and Opportunity:
STLPR is on relatively stable financial footing, with growing annual revenue – totaling $8.4 million in fiscal year 2020 – and financial reserves but did not meet its ambitious revenue goals in FY20, resulting in staffing reductions. There are currently more than 30 staff members working in news/content production and, until the recent reductions, STLPR had the tenth largest newsroom among local public radio organizations. In 2013, St. Louis Public Radio was one of the first public media organizations to merge with an online news startup, The St. Louis Beacon, a move that more than doubled the capacity of STLPR’s journalism operations and brought the voices of veteran former newspaper reporters to broadcasts and transformed the radio newsroom into a digital media operation. The merged STLPR newsroom’s journalism, particularly in the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, brought local and national recognition. After measurable progress in increasing diversity over the past several years, leadership failed to create a more inclusive internal culture, which contributed to the departure of half of the POC staff and, in 2020, a demand from staff for change. We seek a transparent, proactive, inclusive leader, with passion for and knowledge of the power of journalism and public media, and a demonstrated record as a change agent.
Foster the mission and vision of STLPR through daily management and review of operations.
Develop budget requests and approve expenditures.
Working with the staff, establish operational goals and philosophies and develop and lead staff on establishing best practice methods and procedures.
Supervise department leaders.
Advance relationships with UMSL constituents as the station and university continue to align and realign their strategic and inclusive missions.
Advance relationships with external professional and trade organizations.
Launch the public phase of a currently paused capital campaign focused on endowment, service capacity and sustainability, and bring the campaign to a successful conclusion.
Together, the staff, Friends of KWMU board, and administration have created a profile of the experiences, skills and personal characteristics of the ideal candidate to lead STLPR. We will consider candidates who most clearly fit this profile:
Diversity/ Equity/ Inclusion:
Clear commitment to and proven record growing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the workplace and in audiences and communities we serve, as well as:
High level expertise in best practices (such as understanding and addressing implicit bias and microaggression, creating an inclusive workplace and promotion of civility).
Cultural fluency, awareness and empathy – respect for values, treating people as individuals and using different perspectives, and with experience in other cultures;
Expert at diversity-focused hiring practices, from position announcements to recruiting and interviewing;
Lifelong learner – adapting to context, openness, curiosity, tolerance for ambiguity.
Powerful leader who collaboratively builds and compellingly communicates a vision for STLPR, including in journalism, community engagement and continued growth in revenues. An energetic, externally focused individual with a high level of emotional intelligence, who will help STLPR become diverse, equitable and inclusive internally, externally, and an even more significant local institution, that remains financially healthy and increases its service to St. Louis and the region, and:
Builds effectiveness of direct reports and other supervisors, creates clear standards and expectations for treatment of staff, holding managers accountable for being respectful themselves and maintaining a culture of respect and inclusiveness across the organization;
Has great people skills, including being able to flex his or her style, comfortable and effective at engaging a wide range of stakeholders with diverse backgrounds and outlook – from a single member to high-end donors;
Has an open style, but is also an effective decision-maker and change agent;
Is politically savvy and diplomatic, as well as adaptable, accessible and enthusiastic;
Is not risk averse;
Provides direction and accountability for individual staff and organizational results, including clearly communicating strategy, goals and expectations.
Highly developed public and private interpersonal skills, including:
Being a skillful listener who powerfully grasps meaning and reflects it back to the speaker;
Enjoys/is comfortable being in a public situation and being “the face” of the station;
Is an organized thinker, effective writer and speaker;
Is personable, inspiring and respectful;
Is an articulate, effective spokesperson for STLPR and its mission.
Our most important asset is the trust our staff, listeners and the community have in our Journalism, other programming and in STLPR as an institution. The STLPR General Manager will:
Have a powerful understanding and be a guardian of STLPR’s Journalistic firewall and editorial independence.
Have clear, high standards for (him or her) self and others;
Be both trustworthy and know when and how to be trusting;
Be an honest, sincere, courageous, ethical person of substance, with a strong awareness and sense of self; and
Demonstrate a record of being able to identify, confront, analyze and resolve ethically ambiguous issues and potential or real conflicts of interest, both for (her or him) self and others in the organization.
Displays ability to project STLPR’s needs out into the long-term future; sees and understands future trends in media, in related fields and the world as well as the impact on STLPR’s operations and:
Is an inclusive, big picture person with an orientation toward the future;
Has a vision specifically for STLPR’s organizational future, including how to transform internally to reflect and serve the entire community - as well as to continue to transform our structure and offerings in response to digital;
Works collaboratively with UMSL to continue to develop strategic and inclusive alignment that benefits both institutions for the betterment of the community;
Develops vision with input from stakeholders and across the organization, and able to enroll others in working together to execute the resulting vision;
Balances vision with doing.
Problem solving and decision making:
Expert decision-maker, who:
Has the ability to prioritize and determine significance of a particular issue, understands who to include in the problem-solving process, and knows what and how much information is needed;
Is able to effectively analyze and use data in the decision-making process, and will make decisions in a timely matter;
Is good at follow-through - clearly communicates decision, designs and administers effective execution, with appropriate pre-determined success measures and time-posts; and
Has level of personal strength to stick by decisions and/or know when a change of direction is needed.
Comfort with and skilled at managing conflict, both limiting negative and encouraging healthy conflict, and is someone who:
Has demonstrated success working in and managing an active, sometimes stressful environment;
Is knowledgeable and intentional about the practice of conflict management;
Welcomes input, able to process and respond constructively to input including challenges while maintaining composure, able to flex or hold ground as situation requires.
As we continue to move through the revolution in media consumption and seek to become a truly indispensable local institution, we are looking for a track record demonstrating a high level of skill in the change process, including:
Understands the impact of culture on change efforts and is able to successfully navigate cultural as well as process change;
Highly developed skill at prioritizing, and accomplished at sequencing change;
Is personally creative and able to act on that creativity. Is open-minded and a good learner;
Has a focus on innovative models and conquering challenges;
Sees possibilities even in the face of severe difficulties;
Is an out-of-the-box thinker.
Excited about building resources for STLPR. Effective fundraiser with demonstrated track record, knowledgeable of and expert at the General Manager role in fundraising and resource development, who is:
Strong as mission spokesperson and in relationship building and management aspects of fundraising (individual, corporate, foundation and event);
Adept at asking for high-dollar gifts and enthusiastic about raising money for STLPR;
Knowledgeable in capital campaign-related processes and the critical importance of endowment, and can provide leadership necessary for completing the currently paused STLPR endowment campaign;
Well-versed in strategies and methods employed in a comprehensive fundraising program.
Able to develop STLPR organizational (staff and Advisory Board) fundraising capacity. Effective at continuing to grow philanthropic giving beyond membership-based revenues;
Creative and capable of conceiving and developing alternative revenue streams.
Powerful understanding of and use of strategy in organizational life:
Knowledgeable of dynamics affecting current and future environment of STLPR (especially the extremely volatile media environment) and effective at maximizing the organization in response to these dynamics;
Knowledgeable of population, technology and media consumption trends in St. Louis and the region;
Highly developed skill at prioritizing, and accomplished at sequencing change;
Has understanding and makes use of networking with and benchmarking other organizations to increase STLPR effectiveness;
Able to continuously develop, execute and evaluate strategic plans, in concert with other stakeholders, and to champion strategic perspectives.
Applicants selected for initial review will be required to submit writing samples. Instructions will be provided at that time. Inquiries and nominations for the position can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiries are welcome with Livingston Associates at (410) 243-1974.
The University of Missouri is an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.
Bachelor’s degree in a relevant area, or equivalent combination of education and experience and at least 8 years of experience from which comparable knowledge and skills can be acquired as necessary.
Proven leadership in administration, strategic and financial planning, fundraising, board development, entrepreneurial ventures, and commitment to diversity is required.
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, motivational and team building skills.
Ability to interact effectively with station staff, volunteers, listeners, donors, funding organizations, partners and community leaders.
An existing understanding of FCC, CPB and other legal requirements, or a clearly demonstrated ability and motivation to develop this understanding within a short time span.
Newsroom experience or at minimum a deep understanding and appreciation of Journalism and its central role in society, as well as the organizational imperative of establishing and maintaining editorial independence.
Experience in public broadcasting and familiarity with the policies and procedures of a university licensee is desired.