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NPR CEO Gary E. Knell. (NPR)

CEO ProFile: 'I'm inspired by what, collectively, we're capable of achieving.'

Jan 5, 2013

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NPR CEO Gary E. Knell. NPR CEO Gary E. Knell.

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My name... Gary E. Knell
NPR employee since... December 2011
Public radio listener since... 1978. I was working on Capitol Hill and became a regular listener of All Things Considered, every day in the office at 5 o'clock (it started at 5 o'clock back then). I became hooked from then on.
My job at NPR is... several jobs rolled into one, I've discovered. One is the head of a great, global news organization and a cultural content center with NPR Music and Books, which is really an important part of my focus and attraction to NPR. Sometimes, I also play the role of Public Radio Commissioner, Fundraiser in Chief and Capitol Hill Advocate. It's a balancing act in a lot of ways. Comes with the territory I guess.

My most recent read was... the LBJ biography by Robert Caro, and I'm reading Tom Wolfe's book now, which is about Miami. It's a fabulous book.

On Sunday morning, you'll find me... definitely watching the English Premier League soccer matches (which start at 8 a.m. on the East Coast).

I've learned the most about radio from... I grew up with a radio in my room as a kid - listening, going to sleep with all-news radio on at my bedside (that explains a lot!), or sometimes Lakers basketball games. But public radio veterans like Scott Simon, Robert Siegel, Susan Stamberg, Cokie Roberts and many others across NPR have taught me the most about radio. It's because of them that radio has been a hugely successful medium in spite of being declared dead for decades.

Shankar Vedantam is a breath of Fresh Air.

When faced with choosing between the Knicks or Nets, I always go... Nets, totally. I'm a Brooklyn guy.

My favorite DC discovery has been... well I lived here 30 years ago, and the city has really changed. So it's a much more diverse city from a cultural and dining perspective and a lot cooler. You couldn't literally buy a bagel. I like Chinatown Coffee and a place near George Washington University called Burger Tap & Shake. I've been known to go in there and have a burger and a beer after work... and do emails.

While stuck at home (and in the dark) during Superstorm Sandy, I... listened to Brian Lehrer by candlelight. We literally had no power for about a week and a half. We ended up listening to WNYC (which was a lifeline) to find out what was going on. They did a fantastic job - it was a great collaboration with our correspondents spread across the region. I'm inspired by what, collectively, we're capable of achieving and can't wait to see what we can do together in 2013.


This ProFile feature is just one in a collection of profiles introducing you to the people who bring you NPR. These are the journalists and staff - the names you know and those you don't - who are behind the programming you experience every day that makes NPR, well, NPR.


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