WBUR gets new general manager
WBUR-FM (90.9), a Boston National Public Radio affiliate, has a new general manager.
Charles Kravetz, the former president and general manager of New England Cable News, will take over WBUR on Jan. 1st.
Kravetz, who was the founding news and program director at NECN, succeeds Paul La Camera at WBUR. Two weeks ago, La Camera announced that he was stepping down from the job after five years. He will stay as Boston University's administrator of public radio as he helps Kravetz transition into his new role.
“The hiring of Charles Kravetz fulfilled the University’s hope for a GM who would have the national stature that WBUR deserves,” said Joseph Mercurio, Boston University's executive vice president, in a news release. “He possesses outstanding journalism and management credentials, understands emerging technology, and has a strong local media connection.”
La Camera had been running WBUR affiliate since 2005 after retiring from a 33-year career at WCVB-TV (Channel 5), where he was president and general manager. He arrived at WBUR while it was in turmoil: almost a year after the resignation of former general manager Jane Christo, who was heralded for improving the station’s programming but resigned amid allegations of mismanagement. At the time, the station was dealing with a $13 million deficit that had accumulated over several years.
La Camera, 68, who ushered the station through that difficult period as well as the recession, said that he was retiring from WBUR as it "transitions more and more into digital."
In his new role, Kravetz will look to create new programs and reinforce the station's new marketing initiative called "UR WBUR" which launched this fall.
The campaign is featured on seven local billboards on Interstate 93 and the Massachusetts Pike with spots on WBZ-TV (Channel 4); NECN and WCVB. Kravetz will also look for other ways to reach donors.
“The challenges that WBUR faces are many, like every organization in the media, but it comes to those challenges from a position of strength,” said Kravetz in a release. “Our listeners want access to the quality journalism we do in every platform, whether it’s an I-pad, an I-phone, any written form through the Web, through Twitter.”
Kravetz, who left NECN in 2009, will arrive at WBUR as it battles with another National Public Radio affiliate, WGBH, the Brighton-based television and radio public broadcaster. Last December, WGBH converted 89.7 FM to a full-time news talk format and began running similar syndicated NPR programming as WBUR. WGBH also created two local midday and early-afternoon news talk shows: “The Emily Rooney Show’’ and “The Callie Crossley Show.’’
In response to WGBH’s changes, WBUR expanded its only weekly local news magazine show, “Radio Boston,’’ to a daily program last May.
WBUR though has maintained its lead in Boston public radio. The station ranked 11th in the Boston market with a 3.3 percent share of listeners in October, according to Arbitron. WGBH ranked 24th with a 1.1 percent share for the same period. Last month, WBUR attracted 438,500 listeners a week to its daytime programming while WGBH drew 220,100 listeners, according to Arbitron.
“It’s a wonderful thing to be able to take over the leadership of an organization that is in such a strong position,” said Kravetz who had worked with La Camera at WCVB from 1980 to 1991 and was the original producer and executive producer of local TV newsmagazine show "Chronicle."
Kravetz added that “WBUR is uniquely situated in the Boston market. It is financially sound and owned by an extraordinary academic institution that supports it and gives it the freedom to do the kind of quality journalism we all admire.”