Jul 6, 2012

Iowa Public Radio employees complain to board over news director's departure

The Iowa Public Radio Board of Directors has received complaints from a “significant” number of employees upset by the "apparent dismissal" of Jonathan Ahl, the network’s news director, according to The Gazette in Cedar Rapids.

The board chair, Arthur Neu, a former lieutenant governor and state senator, said he is "concerned about employee morale" after speaking with employees from the IPR news operation, the paper reported.

“They greatly respected Jonathan,” Neu said. “They recognized some shortcomings, but they thought he was very innovative and, from their perspective, had been doing a very good job.”

Ahl left the station on May 31, and soon after resigned his post as president of the PRNDI board. He declined to comment to Current on reason for his departure.

"Conservative" pubradio managers may not accept a new host on APHC, Keillor contends

While pubcasters debate keeping Car Talk alive in reruns, Garrison Keillor hopes it will go “on and on,” along with his own Prairie Home Companion and Ira Glass's This American Life, according to an interview in the Los Angeles Times.

"Car Talk is a small slice of the week," Keillor said. "People love those voices, that Boston honk, and the way they laugh, it's so un-public radio."

Keillor also is backing away from talk of retiring in 2013. He told the Times media critic James Rainey that he wants to find a replacement host but has no timetable. "I see a lot of people who could do this," Keillor said. "The problem is persuading managers of public radio stations [to accept a new host]. And like managers everywhere, they tend to be very conservative. That is our conflict."

Keillor also envisions a big folk festival in St. Paul, Minn., for the show’s 40th-anniversary celebration in 2014.