NPR has a new CEO. John Lansing, a veteran government broadcast and cable television executive, has been selected by NPR’s corporate board to succeed its current chief, Jarl Mohn.
Lansing, who is 62, is currently the chief executive of the government agency that oversees Voice of America, Radio and Television Martí and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, among others. He made his mark in his current job with stirring defenses of journalism, free from government interference.
Lansing will start in his new position in mid-October. He will be the 11th permanent president or chief executive in the radio network’s nearly 50-year history.
In an interview, Lansing said he wants to build on NPR’s successes in broadcast news and entertainment to become even more dominant in podcasting and more prevalent in streaming.
“When I think of NPR and I think of the member stations collectively, I think really of journalism as a public service, not tied to a profit motive,” Lansing told NPR News. He defined NPR’s mission as “serving the public with information and an excellence and quality about it that makes it ‘must see’ on a variety of platforms.”
Four years ago, Lansing was named by former president Barack Obama to be the first chief executive of the broadcasting outfit that was renamed the U.S. Agency for Global Media. Lansing has won plaudits from journalists for his rousing defense of a free press even while serving in the Trump administration, which has been notably hostile to traditional notions of the role of journalism in civic life.
Lansing previously held positions overseeing the Scripps Co.’s local television stations and then its national cable channels, which include the Food Network and HGTV, among others. For two years, he served as the president and CEO of a cable trade group called the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing.
He will now lead the nation’s top audio producer and broadcaster.
Lansing says he wants to draw on the intellectual and creative impulses of his new staffers as he leads a domestic journalistic powerhouse with an international reputation and reach.
“I want to hear the ideas that are bubbling underneath right now and what people are excited about, what they’re looking forward to developing. And I want to look for areas that I can provide leadership to bring resources together as needed strategically to find the right priorities that make the most sense for growing NPR this year and then into the future.“