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Relocation From New York, NY - USA to Prague, Czech Republic - CZ
Officer in Charge (OIC) Tony Filson (FMS-TF)
Reporting to
Executive Search Committee (ESC) and Human Resource
ESC Locations Prague, The Czech Republic and Washington, DC
Executive Search Firm  Filcro Media Staffing
Recruitment Group News & Journalism & Production
Search  Executive Producer
Regions of Responsibility - Russia, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan


Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty is a private, nonprofit, BBG / U.S. Government-funded radio broadcaster to Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe; the Caucasus; and Central and Southwestern Asia. RFE/ RL broadcasts more than  1,000 hours of programming in 29 languages every week.  All RFE/ RL broadcasts are also streamed live and on-demand over the Internet; audio, video and text in English and the broadcast languages are available from its web site.

Listeners in countries stretching from Belarus to Bosnia and from the Arctic Sea to the Persian Gulf rely on RFE/RL's daily news, analysis, and current affairs programming to provide a coherent, objective account of events in their region and the world.

Funded by the U.S. Agency for Global Media, RFE/RL’s mission is to promote the open communication of information and ideas, in support of democracy, and the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information, worldwide. The mission of the BBG, is to ensure and safeguard integrity, quality, and effectiveness of U.S. international broadcasters.

Search Note  To those reading this case history from traditional private sector broadcast environments the title of executive producer does not reflect the expanded scope of this job.  This hybrid search combined the required skill sets of:

        • Executive Director from a GO/NGO, 
        • Executive Producer from a News Broadcast Network,
        • VP Programming from a Digital News Network.
        • Bureau Chief responsibilities

Client Situation

An executive search committee was formed within RFE/RL consisting of representation from each primary constituency to identify an executive search firm to conduct the international search to identify a new Executive Producer to be based in Prague.  The executive search committee consisted of members based in Prague and Washington, DC who held conferences with Filcro Media Staffing New York City prior to retaining the firm.

Parent Organization - Primary Objectives and Goals

  • Design a broadcasting architecture for the future
  • Expand the U.S. international broadcasting system through regional networks and single-country initiatives
  • Employ modern communication techniques and technologies
  • Preserve and maintain journalistic credibility and ensure overall programming excellence
  • Revitalize "Telling The Story of Each Country’s Quest for Freedom" to the world”

Component Organization - Primary Objectives and Goals

The mission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is to promote democratic values and institutions by disseminating factual information and ideas.

From Central Europe to the Pacific, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, from Russia to Central Asia to the Persian Gulf, countries are struggling to overcome autocratic institutions, violations of human rights, centralized economies, ethnic and religious hostilities, regional conflicts, and controlled media.

RFE/RL helps bring about stability based on democracy and free-market economies throughout this region and is a vital facilitator of a free press that is essential to global peace. Based on the conviction that the first requirement of democracy is a well informed citizenry, RFE/RL builds on nearly a half century of surrogate broadcasting to this region that is respected by all.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

  • Provides objective news, analysis, and discussion of domestic and regional issues crucial to successful democratic and free-market transformations.
  • Strengthens civil societies by projecting democratic values.
  • Combats ethnic and religious intolerance and promotes mutual understanding among peoples.
  • Provides a model for local media, assists in training to enhance media professionalism and independence, and develops partnerships with local media outlets.
  • Fosters closer ties between the countries of the region and the world's established democracies.

Sector inclusions for universe compilation

International and Domestic

  • Television Broadcasting
  • Radio Broadcasting
  • Print Journalism
  • Global News Organizations
  • Digital Disseminators
  • Related Global NGO’s
  • GO’s
  • Academic Journalism Environments

Filcro Media Staffing is retained

Officer in charge of search Tony Filson (FMS-TF) commenced the search by first establishing a consensus of the search committee in a phone conference that included RFE/RL executives from Prague and Washington, DC.  The committee was clear, focused and committed to the identification of an executive that could function as a change agent. It was clear that the organization's reputation for journalistic excellence was paramount to the search.  An executive with a proven history of building, maintaining and growing an international news organization and their audience based on journalistic integrity, and quality programming was the unanimous consensus of all.

Filcro Media Staffing was provided with organizational charts, assimilation and dissemination objectives, budgets, strategic interests and overviews of technologies and human resources in the various geographic regions relevant to the search.  Geographics included:  Russia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Iran and the surrounding regions.

The executive search committee designated two human resource executives in Washington, DC and Prague to act as liaisons with FMS.  These two human resource executives were exceptionally gifted and dedicated.  Through their intricate understanding of culture and mission statement, the search progressed rapidly even with the constraints of international travel.

Some of the challenges facing the new Executive Producer

  • Change Management
  • Best Practices
  • Adaptation of Technology
  • Development of Technology
  • Determination of Qualitative and Quantitative Analytics
  • Financial Management and Budget Controls
  • Optimization of Hard and Soft Assets
  • Building Internal and External Consensus
  • Meeting High Standards of Journalistic Integrity
  • Mentoring Others to Function Autonomously

The Filcro Media Staffing Recruitment Solution

Research for universe compilation was extensive within global NGO’s and broadcasters. As a testament to RFE/RL’s senior management and their strategic understanding of global news organizations, it was a “wish list” of one RFE/RL executive that ultimately led to the the recruitment of the executive producer hired. 

Initial research in the United States, Canada, Asia, The Middle East and Europe was completed in (4) four weeks with candidate identification completed ahead of schedule.

Technology acumen played a great role in the identification process.  Identifying news executives on an executive producer, senior executive producer or bureau chief level with hands on experience managing advanced technology initiatives with the language skills and scope of regional coverage required was imperative.

Required Experience as defined in the search document and search File

  • Responsible for the English-language news and information products from and about the organizations broadcast region and 28 language services that are delivered across multiple media platforms (Internet, radio, TV).
  • Manage a large staff of 60+ that provides breaking news, analyses, features, and other products for broadcast programs, on-line web sites, and print publications.
  • Responsible for editorial control
  • Work organization and allocation, performance management, training, and problem resolution; as well as for short and long-range planning and goal setting through: conduct of daily story conferences and editorial meetings, effectively dealing with breaking news stories, and planning for enterprise news, and special projects and events.
  • Minimum 10 years’ related professional journalism experience required.
  • University degree in Journalism, or in a related field.
  • Considerable management experience, including managing change in a media environment.
  • Considerable knowledge of existing and emerging technologies in multimedia news and broadcasting.
  • Ability to plan, coordinate and develop program content across multiple media platforms, and in response to both immediate and longer-term requirements. To effectively implement convergence.
  • Work experience in, and/or extensive knowledge of, the organization's broadcast regions.
  • Ability to handle deadline pressure and work well in stressful situations.
  • Excellent writing skills.
  • Must have excellent creative and editorial judgment.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Ability to work effectively with a wide and diverse range of staff from varied cultures.
  • Skill in organizing resources, budgets and establishing priorities.
  • Employee development and performance management skills.
  • Ability to foster a cooperative work environment.
  • Knowledge of one or more of the major languages of the broadcast region (Russian, Farsi, Dari or a Turkic language) highly desirable with a working knowledge of the cultures and regions. (Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey)

Executives Presented

The final three external candidates and a internal candidate identified consisted of:

  • Senior Executive Producer of a major cable TV network, global news organization and former Middle East Bureau Chief now based in Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC - USA
  • Baghdad Bureau Chief of a major TV network and former Africa, Middle East and European News Editor of a global news organization now based in New York, NY - USA
  • Moscow Bureau Chief of a major news organization promoted to the international desk in New York, now based in New York, NY - USA
  • A highly talented internal candidate with exceptional regional knowledge and cultural acumen of the related geographics now based in Prague, The Czech Republic

Successful Executive Producer / Bureau Chief Recruited

The selected executive recruited by Tony Filson was a strategic, tactical and cultural ideal for RFE/RL.  Her journalistic acumen and experienced understanding of how to strategically and tactically facilitate the desired goals in all of the desired geographics made her particularly well suited for this leadership position.

Her acumen with (six) 6 languages, international news management of large staffs, cross-platform product development, strong mentoring skills and a proven record of being a change agent differentiated her from others based on the compilation of her experiences in demanding environments.  She is truly an exceptional news executive and  journalist with broad scope and granular understanding of the specific regions and cultures.  More importantly, this talented executive exhibits a clear capacity to continue to grow to the mutual benefit of the organization and her own career ecology.  It was an honor for our firm to conduct this executive search.

New York, NY - USA to Prague, The Czech Republic relocation.


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