Nov 11, 2008

Cindy Browne comes to the end of her fight

Cindy Browne, founding head of Iowa Public Radio and longtime exec at Twin Cities Public Television (TPT), died Sunday night, Nov. 9, after a long fight against cancer, according to former colleague Todd Mundt. He wrote in his blog: "Cindy was the most courageous person I ever knew; throughout her life, she confronted change, in her career, in her health, some of it unwelcome, and yet she was a fount of optimism, and maintained a laser-like focus on what she needed to do." A memorial service will be held Friday, 4-8 p.m., at Holcomb Henry Boom Funeral Home in Shoreview, Minn. Her survivors said memorial contributions can be given to TPT or to Iowa Public Radio. TPT, where Browne worked her way up from receptionist to general manager over 25 years, published an advisory today about her death. After a short stint at CPB, Browne worked as a consultant, advocating an important role for women in management and advised on the skills of change management. Browne took on a substantial task along that line during her last three years -- leading the merger of three university stations to create Iowa Public Radio.

NPR appoints Vivian Schiller as next chief exec

Vivian Schiller, senior v.p. of, has been appointed as NPR's next president and c.e.o. Schiller, who will be the first woman to helm NPR, previously was a senior executive with the Discovery Times Channel, a joint venture of The New York Times and Discovery Communications, and led CNN Productions, specializing in long-form documentary work. "Her roots in the news business, as well as her inclusive management style and operational expertise, make her an ideal fit for NPR.," said Howard Stevenson, NPR Chairman in this news release. His memo to NPR staff is posted here. Schiller's first day on the job is Jan. 5, 2009.

Burbank's tips for engaging Gen X listeners

To attract younger listeners, public radio needs to "get off the news mountaintop," former NPR host and correspondent Luke Burbank told station execs at last week's Western States Public Radio conference. "Don't talk down--be at eye level," he said. Burbank, who departed NPR's Gen X-targeted Bryant Park Project shortly after its launch last year, offered six suggestions for bringing younger adults into the public radio fold, reported by KUOW's Jeff Hansen on the PRPD blog. From Burbank's perspective as one of two full-time staff on a daily commercial talk show in Seattle, BPP was "overstaffed, overly-expensive, and over-supervised," Hansen writes.