Chicago Public Media announced today that it has postponed its search for a new chief executive officer until next year and appointed tech entrepreneur Matt Moog interim CEO of the nonprofit parent company of NPR news/talk WBEZ 91.5-FM.
Moog, who has run several companies and founded the innovative tech center 1871, has been a member of the Chicago Public Media board for more than a decade.
The announcement comes four weeks after the board’s original choice for president and CEO, Andi McDaniel, withdraw her acceptance in the wake of questions raised about her previous tenure as chief content officer at WAMU, the NPR station at American University in Washington, D.C.
The top position at WBEZ has been vacant since Goli Sheikholeslami resigned in August 2019 to become CEO of New York Public Radio, parent company of WNYC.
Steve Edwards, vice president and chief content officer for WBEZ, had been serving as interim CEO, but asked to return to his previous job.
In a memo to employees, board chair Bryant Traubert wrote: “We don’t expect our search to recommence until this time next year, and it will likely be some time after that before we’ve identified a permanent replacement.”
Thanking Edwards for temporarily stepping up, Traubert added: “This follows a year of holding a dual role as the station’s interim CEO and chief content officer. In the end – acknowledging he is a journalist at heart – he is eager to return to leading the station’s content departments, especially at this critical moment in time for the communities served by WBEZ and Vocalo.”
In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, WBEZ tied for ninth place overall with a 3.2 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 519,600.
Here is the text of Traubert’s memo to staff:
I am writing to formally share the good news that we have appointed Matt Moog as Interim CEO of Chicago Public Media, effective as of today. While Steve Edwards has gathered you as staff this morning, I also want to reach out personally with the official notification on behalf of the Board of Directors, and to share background about how we came to this decision.
As you know, we are in the midst of reviewing our search process to learn from the experiences of the past and to ensure our efforts to find the next CEO are successful for the organization. We don’t expect our search to recommence until this time next year, and it will likely be some time after that before we’ve identified a permanent replacement.
Given this timing, Steve was asked to consider continuing in his interim role. However, after much personal reflection, Steve has asked to return to his role as chief content officer of Chicago Public Media. This follows a year of holding a dual role as the station’s interim CEO and chief content officer. In the end – acknowledging he is a journalist at heart – he is eager to return to leading the station’s content departments, especially at this critical moment in time for the communities served by WBEZ and Vocalo.
We are fortunate that Matt Moog was ready and willing to serve the organization right now by stepping into the interim CEO role. Matt brings great familiarity with Chicago Public Media as a member of our Board of Directors for more than 11 years and as a past Board chair. He has also recently served as the Executive Chairman of Pocket Casts.
Matt is an extremely experienced CEO. He was the founder and CEO of several innovative digital start-ups including PowerReviews. Matt has 20+ years of experience leading organizations of the size and scope of Chicago Public Media. His proven ability to lead organizations to collaboratively evolve and execute a compelling strategy will help Chicago Public Media continue to serve its mission. Matt has a deep passion for public media; he is a self-proclaimed public radio nerd and podcasting fan.
Matt is committed to prioritizing a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture that values learning, excellence and professional development. Importantly, as Matt steps into his new role, it’s our hope that he also will foster deeper connections between the Board and the staff.
While Matt joins the organization as interim CEO and as Steve transitions back to chief content officer, Kassie Stephenson, at her request, will return to chief marketing officer after serving as interim chief operations officer.
Both Steve and Kassie have held their interim roles for a year now on top of their regular responsibilities as senior executives of Chicago Public Media. This is a long time for any leader to be in an interim capacity, and especially so in these times. The Board of Directors is very grateful to both of them for the strong and steady leadership they have provided in this unprecedented past year, and welcome Matt aboard in his interim CEO position.