Radio and Digital Networks Executive Search - Case History
Radio Executive Producer - Studio 360
New York, NY - USA based search
Filcro Media Staffing officer in charge of search Tony Filson reporting to CEO & board of director member in New York and Senior Vice President Production in Minnesota - USA
Client: Public Radio International (PRI) has distinguished itself by producing, acquiring and distributing innovative content that enables U.S. audiences to "hear a different voice," bringing new voices and global perspectives to the public airwaves. Through partnerships with BBC World Service and station-based and independent producers, the Minneapolis-based network provides over 400 hours of programming each week, content that is broadcast and streamed online by over 800 PRI affiliates nationwide. Podcasts of PRI programs consistently rank in the top U.S. 100. PRI is also the managing partner of the satellite radio company American Public Radio LLC, established with Chicago Public Radio, WGBH Radio Boston and WNYC, New York Public Radio. PRI programming is available via XM Public Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.
PRI is known for driving innovation in public radio through partnerships with stations, independent producers and other organizations, and for working collaboratively to pool resources, share risk and cultivate new talent. PRI affiliate stations reach over 30 million listeners weekly. WNYC is the originating station for Studio 360.
This radio network is the nation’s leading domestic and international developer and supplier of noncommercial audio content. The mission of the network is to engage listeners with distinctive radio programs that provide information, insights, and cultural experiences essential to understanding a diverse, interdependent world.
The Network’s senior most programming executive had identified FMS to recruit the proper Executive Producer. The show was behind schedule when FMS was retained so FMS was given great autonomy to function expeditiously.
Search: Executive Producer – Business, Technical and Creative
Client Situation: A search committee was formed consisting of the CEO in New York and the Senior Vice President of Production from Minnesota. The balance of a board member on the committee offered a strong cross-section of business, strategic and creative concerns to vocalize their desired skills in the new Executive Producer. Of great concern were creative efficacy based on the high visibility and notoriety of the show’s host who needed a very strong executive producer to manage creatively
Executive Search Committee Member Industry and Sector inclusion:
- Radio Broadcasting
- Public Broadcasting
- The Arts
The executive search committee (ESC) identified Filcro Media Staffing (FMS) and Tony Filson (TF) functioning as Officer in Charge of Search after conducting their own national identification efforts to identify the ideal executive as under “Client Situation”. TF met with ESC members alone and with their senior most staff.
FMS was retained.
FMS Officer in Charge of Search TF met in New York with the CEO and the CFO prior to meeting with the Senior Vice President of Network Programming who flew into New York from Minnesota to discuss the show creatively. FMS was asked to step in after all other methods had failed to identify the proper Executive Producer. The Network was on a deadline and the show was now well behind schedule. FMS having a reputation for working expeditiously was given the autonomy required to move forward immediately
FMS TF requested all tapes developed by the previous Executive Producer and observed each show in detail. Understanding where the previous executive producer had fallen short with regard to management's objectives was just as important initially as to what skills would be required for the proper person. It was obvious from the inset that the wonderfully talented host was a great resource and the proper executive producer was needed to maximize return on his notoriety. The current production values were also not indicative of the “quality” associated with the Network as a whole. The rich textures and true sense of participation for the audience was not there yet.
Based on the fact that the show pertained to “The Arts” it was an especially discriminating audience who expected every nuance to be in-line with the level of excellence expected and promoted in national and international markets. If a show pertained to music then it would not be uncommon for musicologists to be listening, the show had to be perfect in many more ways then generally accepted by commercial audiences. Serving a News-Arts-Entertainment genre is no small feat.
The general feel for the quality of programming for the Network was easy to establish with it’s rich layered sounds that were always clear when they needed to be or rising to a crescendo to put the listener in the middle of a multitude of situations that made them feel like a participant and not a voyeur
FMS TF relayed his feelings to the ESC and everyone concurred that the search was headed in the proper direction.
FMS also reviewed all financial, funding and budgets to identify a new Executive Producer that has managed the proper mix of talent, co-pro and operational expenses. With more co-pro becoming common place in this environment, it was essential that this new Executive Producer be able to work out “the deals” prior to making the creative commitments.
FMS TF was also aware of cross-platform initiative that the Network was undertaking with regard to Broadband and from a creative and business perspective this person would have to champion resources that could ultimately open new revenue streams by attracting a new audience to the show and the Network itself.
The diversity of the hard skill sets required was actually easy to work with because there was no latitude to be expressed. Listening to the works of numerous Executive Producers and placing yourself in the position of such a discriminating audience was an endless task. This required many hours of listening and critiquing executive producers. Getting a tactical feel for why they did things and understanding their motivations and methodologies creatively, was very telling. With so many shows to be produced, we needed to identify an Executive Producer who understood “formula”. Some candidates were terrific creatively but lacked the business acumen to be Executive Producers and then those that were EP’s, fell short on the unique feel TF was looking for, for a show, that was meant to open a new world to a wanting and waiting audience.
Some of the biggest challenges facing the new Executive Producer (EP) :
- Working Behind Schedule - Based on Past Production Performance
- Developing the Show’s Host Creatively
- Raising Production Standards
- Constantly Evoking Interest With an Educated Audience
- Financial Management and Budget Controls
- Vendor Partnerships and Broadband Relationships
- Co-pro Deals
- Expanding the Show’s Demographic(s)
- Enhancing Multicast Cross Platform Dissemination
Solution: FMS proceeded to Identify the "leading producers" involved in every aspect of the arts from television, performing arts, news, music and radio. This national effort was quite extensive based on the multitude of Executive Producers and also talented Senior Producers who could have the business and creative skills, to take the next step.
FMS ultimately identified the new Executive Producer by classifying “sourced” creative content received into four categories and establishing profiles of “methodologies” for each Executive Producer we felt had the creative abilities to make the show a success.
We knew from past production searches that if the new EP could not articulate “formula” in a concise way as to how they establish success creatively, they could not lead on a business level or direct creatively through co-pro deals. After profiling over 38 qualified executive producers from a pool of over 100 candidates, it became exceptionally clear that one person was standing out who everyone overlooked from the prior search. As we continued to listen to more demo tapes, source more producers and read more BIOS, we knew we had to attract one particular EP who we thought was the show’s “ideal” Executive Producer, and we did.
Successful candidate identified: An executive producer who explored the art’s creative influences and transformed them into everyday life. Through her richly produced and textured stories she brought an insightful thought provoking experience to what most people take for granted.
The show is about being provocative, moving, and always engaging and this Executive Producer proved to be a woman who made that a trademark of her work.
Hosted by a noted novelist and journalist the show/series is a lively forum for the arts and culture that challenges listeners’ perceptions of the world. This executive producer not only met every challenge creatively, she also met them from a business perspective.
For the past twenty years, the New Executive Producer developed, produced, and directed radio programs about music and the arts, including the nationally broadcast series AT&T Presents Carnegie Hall Tonight and Time Warner Presents The New York Philharmonic, LIVE! She is noted for her ability to create entertaining and dynamic new programming and for her skill at helping talent from other media become effective radio and TV personalities. In addition to extensive experience producing programs for both commercial and noncommercial radio, including weekly series and documentary specials, she was the first arts news reporter for a noted station in Philadelphia.
Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to exploring and presenting a broad range of the arts on radio. She directed live jazz performances on Riverwalk: Live from the Landing and produced stories for public radio news and information programs on everything from the contemporary sculpture of Jonathan Borofsky to the art of making Easter Peeps and Bunnies. Most recently, she produced Mostly Meshugah! The Music and Comedy of Mickey Katz, a special program about the musician and satirist hosted by his son, the actor Joel Grey.
During her 20-year radio career, she has always been fascinated by the power of the artistic process. Her work offers listeners access to art that may otherwise seem obscure or overlooked as she encourages listeners to respond in new ways to art that is everywhere around us. She consistently strives to make visual and performing arts come alive through her creative acumen.
The Executive Producer recruited performed with aplomb and has developed a substantial national and international audience. Her ability to make appointments with an ever increasing audience is true testament to her creative and business success in this highly visible position. We would like to congratulate her and her staff for winning a Peabody.
Link to Studio 360
This URL: http://www.executivesearch.tv/html/executive_producer_case_history.html
Filcro Media Staffing, All rights reserved, 1985 - 2012 - National Media and Broadcasting Executive Search Firms - Radio Executive Producer - Selected Case Histories Portals for Additional Media Platforms