HERB SCANNELL NAMED PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PUBLIC RADIO
Will Succeed Retiring President and CEO Bill Davis
LOS ANGELES, (January 23, 2019) – Herb Scannell, who has successfully led global media and digital organizations ranging from Viacom’s Nickelodeon, Next New Networks, BBC Worldwide North America and Mitú, has been selected by the Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) Board of Trustees to be its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Scannell will join SCPR in February and succeeds founding president and CEO Bill Davis, who announced his retirement last June. SCPR operates Los Angeles’ award-winning local journalism leader KPCC and is the publisher of the newly re-launched innovative digital Angeleno news website LAist.
“I began my career in radio, and I couldn’t think of a better time, place or city to return to this medium I love,” Scannell said. “We’re experiencing an audio renaissance. Podcasts are blossoming and local public radio is filling a journalistic void left by the diminishing number of local newspapers. At the same time technology is changing the game with the emergence of smart speakers and, very soon, smart cars. California and Los Angeles are the hub of both culture and innovation, and what happens here matters everywhere. I want to congratulate Bill Davis for what he has accomplished, and I thank the SCPR Board for giving me the opportunity to build upon his legacy.”
“We are incredibly excited that Herb will lead SCPR through its next period of innovation and growth,” said SCPR Board Chair Ana Valdez. “Herb has the perfect mix of media experience and commitment to public service journalism. And through his Puerto Rican heritage, he brings a very deep and personal understanding of the power of diversity and the importance of authentically representing the audience we serve. We are also thrilled that Bill Davis will continue his relationship with SCPR as President Emeritus.”
“I am profoundly honored to pass the baton to Herb Scannell,” said Bill Davis. “I’ve had an amazing run during the past 18 years, and I’m confident that Herb will lead SCPR to new heights. I look forward to supporting Herb and everyone at SCPR through this transition as we move forward and realize our potential as a diversified media company.”
Part of the American Public Media Group, SCPR is a national leader in public service journalism and civic engagement. With award-winning programs such as “AirTalk with Larry Mantle,” “Take Two” and “The Frame,” KPCC produces more local news and public affairs programming than any other public radio station in the country. The KPCC/LAist newsroom has won more local, regional and national awards than any other broadcast news station—commercial or public—in Los Angeles. It is also one of the most diverse news organizations in the country, with more than 50% of its journalists being people of color.
These initiatives and investments resulted in impressive audience growth and an equally impressive expansion in membership and funding. SCPR’s broadcast audience has grown from 200,000 in 2000 to 900,000 in 2018. SCPR’s audience is one of the most diverse—if not the most diverse—audiences in all of public media. One in five KPCC listeners is Latino, and more than 40% of the station’s weekly audience are people of color. LAist has added a digital audience that now totals 800,000. Current memberships at SCPR are also at an all-time high of 73,196 members. SCPR’s revenues for 2019 are projected to reach a record $32.5 million.
Scannell brings to SCPR a track record of successfully launching and scaling a wide range of successful media companies and platforms, as well as a long connection to public radio. Since 2000, he has been on the board of New York Public Radio (NYPR), where he served as Chairman of the Board from 2009-2013. During his time as Chair, the organization went through its most expansive period, purchasing WQXR, the leading classical music station, and acquiring half of the NJ Public Radio stations closest to NYC. With WNYC management Scannell helped plot a strategic course resulting in the station becoming a leading producer of podcasts, including such hits as Here’s the Thing, 2 Dope Queens, Freakonomics Radio, and more. Regularly, NYPR appears among Apple’s most popular podcasts.
As president at Viacom’s Nickelodeon, Scannell led the network to an unprecedented stretch of 10 years as the top-rated network in cable television. Under his leadership Nickelodeon birthed some of the most iconic properties in youth entertainment, including Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants and Rugrats, all of which became multi-billion-dollar global licensing powerhouses. In addition to his role at Nickelodeon, Scannell was the Vice Chairman of MTV Networks and oversaw adult brands Spike TV and TV Land, among other businesses. After leaving Nickelodeon, Scannell served as founding CEO of Next New Networks, a pioneer in the online video network space, partnering with independent web creators to produce and package innovative original web content. Next New Networks was acquired by YouTube in 2011. Scannell subsequently joined BBC Worldwide as President, North America, where he oversaw a portfolio that included the flagship cable channel BBC America as well as sales of the vast BBC library and original shows via its LA-based original production group. In 2017 he moved to Los Angeles at CEO of the Latino-targeted digital media company Mitú.
Former SCPR Chair and long-time media analyst Gordon Crawford was effusive in his praise for Scannell and referenced his leadership at NYPR as an important factor in the Board’s decision. “Herb Scannell’s executive media experience speaks for itself,” said Crawford. “Herb’s combination of executive leadership, understanding of non-profit governance and track record of building audiences and brands makes him singularly qualified to fulfill SCPR’s strategic ambitions.”
About 89.3 KPCC-FM and Southern California Public Radio
Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) is a member-supported public radio network that operates the following stations—89.3 KPCC-FM in Los Angeles and Orange County, 89.1 KUOR-FM in the Inland Empire and 90.3 KVLA-FM in the Coachella Valley, 89.9 FM in Santa Barbara, and 89.5 KJAI Ojai in Ventura County—and publishes the digital news site LAist. Reaching more than 900,000 listeners every week, SCPR is the most listened-to public radio news service of any kind in Southern California and recognized nationally as a leader in public service journalism and civic engagement. SCPR serves the diverse communities of Southern California with award-winning local news coverage, as well as the most National Public Radio (NPR) content available anywhere in the region. SCPR’s flagship station, KPCC, has garnered more than 500 journalistic honors since 1999, more than all the other radio stations in Los Angeles combined. SCPR features signature public radio programs from APM, the BBC, and PRI. Listeners around the globe can access news, join blogs, download podcasts, as well as hear a live web stream at www.scpr.org. LAist is an innovative news site that combines in-depth coverage with unique insights into life in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. LAist’s audience is more than 800,000 monthly readers.
About American Public Media Group
American Public Media Group is the largest station-based public radio organization in the U.S., combining multi-regional station operations, national programming creation and distribution and innovative digital, social and mobile services in one organization. Supported financially by contributions from individual donors, sponsors, philanthropic foundations as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, APMG’s operations include Minnesota Public Radio®, a 46-station network serving nearly all of Minnesota and parts of surrounding states, and Southern California Public Radio, a fourstation network serving Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County and the Inland Empire. Programs produced by MPR’s national programming division, American Public Media®, reach more than 20 million listeners via 1,000 radio stations nationwide each week. APM is one of the largest producers and distributors of public radio programming in the world, with a portfolio that includes BBC World Service, Marketplace®, Live from Here, and the leading classical music programming in the nation. APM also offers a diverse array of podcasts featuring the best in food, culture, entertainment, business and investigative journalism. For more information on American Public Media Group, visit americanpublicmediagroup.org.
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