Chicago Public Media is one of the largest and most respected public media organizations in the country. We have a legacy of innovation having launched such iconic shows as This American Life, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me…, Nerdette, Making Oprah, Making Obama and the ground-breaking podcast Serial. With a reputation for creativity and innovation across platforms, Chicago Public Media produces work that creates meaningful connections among diverse audiences throughout the Chicago area, as well as nationally and globally.
We engage our listeners and users across multiple platforms, including broadcast radio, digital streaming, and mobile apps. Our flagship station, WBEZ-Chicago (91.5 FM) is Chicagoland’s premier media hub for high-quality, fact-based journalism and engaging, entertaining audio programs and podcasts. WBEZ’s website, wbez.org, and its mobile app allows listeners to fully control their experience through its groundbreaking rePlayer functionality and on-demand platform. WBEZ’s sister service, Vocalo Radio (91.1 FM, vocalo.org), targets a multicultural audience through an urban alternative music format.
About the Role
Chicago Public Media, Inc. is seeking an outstanding executive as its next President and CEO to continue to build CPM’s relevance, service and impact in a rapidly changing media environment. The CEO will have full general management responsibility, and will lead all strategic, financial and operating aspects of the organization. The role represents a unique opportunity to continue to reshape a highly regarded public media institution rooted in radio broadcasting into a multi-platform media organization. The next CEO will build on the reputation of Chicago Public Media as:
A place of dynamic, forward looking innovation
A magnet for the very best, most diverse talent
A major creative force in media, producing original content across platforms
A beloved institution that exudes and reflects the texture, diversity and unique sense of place that is Chicago – and the greater Midwest
A vital, indispensable source of enterprising news and information that drives the civic conversation and engages a much larger, more diverse audience than ever before
We have partnered with an external recruiting firm to assess the candidates for this role. Applicants who apply to and meet the requirements will have their information shared with the firm for further review. Qualified candidates will receive additional details, as needed.
Uphold CPM’s commitment to being a premier news organization that serves as a trusted broker of information, maintains the highest journalistic standards, and contributes to a more vibrant, democratically engaged region.
Continue to develop a high-performance culture that builds on CPM’s tradition of creativity and innovation. The CEO will foster an entrepreneurial environment that promotes strategic thinking, experimentation, calculated risk-taking, accountability and operational excellence.
In a competitive and fragmented media environment, the CEO will identify and implement strategies to drive higher levels of audience growth and engagement across all platforms. This executive will enhance the organization’s value by producing and distributing high quality content that resonates with and attracts the next generation of listeners and users—with a focus on building a larger and more diverse listener/user base.
Build significant financial support for CPM from institutions and individuals. In collaboration with the Board of Directors and development team, lead CPM’s development efforts and target, cultivate and close new funding sources.
In partnership with the Board of Directors, develop a comprehensive strategic plan for the organization. Continually monitor and update the plan to reflect changing market and business conditions.
Direct the development and implementation of operational plans that support the long-range strategies and annual objectives of CPM. Assure the fiscal integrity and health of the organization through commitment to strong and disciplined management, donor cultivation and stewardship, and best business practices.
Provide clear management direction through inspiring leadership. Communicate and execute strategy and objectives with key metrics that drive operational improvement and provide a consistent approach for evaluating and integrating new initiatives, technologies and products.
Communicate CPM’s successes, challenges and opportunities to key organization “stakeholders,” including regular updates for the Board of Directors.
Work in a highly collaborative manner with the Board of Directors, seeking direction as appropriate, and strategically engaging the board and individual members to support CPM in achieving its short and long-term goals.
Recruit, develop, and retain top caliber and diverse team members, and continually reassess organizational structure and needs as CPM and the competitive environment evolve. Attract the best people from both inside and outside of public media, with a commitment to new technologies and innovation on many platforms.
Develop, update as appropriate, and maintain a robust succession plan for the CEO and all senior administrative staff.
Develop and maintain partnerships with NPR and other key players in the public media “ecosystem” through effective communication, consultation, and collaboration; the sharing of best practices; and meaningful strategic endeavors.
Identify, evaluate and execute strategic partnerships on a targeted basis with other organizations that will drive audience growth and expand CPM’s impact and influence in a meaningful way.
Steward CPM’s reputation and build its brand and presence in Chicago and beyond through thoughtful, effective and strategic communication, active engagement with CPM’s stakeholders, and conscious outreach beyond CPM’s core constituents.
Serve as an inspiring spokesperson for and “public face” of CPM, actively and forcefully communicating a clear vision for CPM and public media to all of CPM’s various constituents, including but not limited to staff, Board of Directors, funders, and listeners and users, enhancing CPM’s credibility, stature and importance as a trusted news and music organization.
Track record of success as a media leader, in either a for-profit or non-profit/public media organization. The finalist will have demonstrated skill in growing a business in the context of a rapidly changing media environment where technology and consumer behavior continue to evolve.
Demonstrated affinity to the Chicago Public Media mission as a direct result of public media experience, being an engaged public media listener/user, or having professional experience leading a mission-driven media or other relevant organization.
Financial and operational skills including strategic planning, resource development, budget management and P&L operating experience to run this non-profit enterprise like a business.
Experience in a digital media environment, and proven ability to leverage new technologies and media platforms to engage with and build audiences.
Track record of building and managing high performing teams, and demonstrated skill in leveraging the organization structure and team member capabilities to maximum advantage.
Deep understanding of the value of an inclusive culture, and commitment to ensure diversity across a variety of categories to achieve and maintain institutional inclusiveness.
Passionate, energetic, and inspiring approach and demeanor. The CEO will have successfully operated in an environment that requires exceptional communication skills, both listening and speaking, to a diverse range of constituents.
Working at Chicago Public Media
Our associates are in service of our mission. We bring together a community of about 150 full-time, part-time associates and an on-going cohort of interns at our newly renovated open and collaborative space at Navy Pier. We know it is imperative that our workplace reflects our community so we can, in turn, provide content that connects people. We are committed to having a workplace that thrives by creating a place of belonging where everyone can contribute their talents. If you share our passion for public service news and information, we encourage you to join our team.