Statement From WBGO Interim CEO Bob Ottenhoff
On January 28, 2020, the WBGO Board of Trustees appointed WBGO founder and inaugural General Manager Robert G. Ottenhoff as the station's new interim CEO. "I never could have imagined 40 years ago that our labor of love would someday be called 'the best jazz radio station in the galaxy,'" said Interim CEO Bob Ottenhoff. "It is a thrill to be back and to have the opportunity to work with the superbly talented staff to chart WBGO's course for the next 40 years. Although the worlds of radio and jazz have changed dramatically over time, the principles on which WBGO was founded are timeless: respect for the music and the artists who create it, a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and appreciation for our listeners and donors who make our work possible. It is both challenging and exciting to take the helm as we explore ways to make WBGO more relevant and responsive."
A nationwide search for a new permanent CEO will begin immediately.
Outgoing CEO Amy Niles tendered her resignation to the Board of Trustees this week.
"It is with mixed emotions that I depart WBGO, an organization that I love and where I have dedicated over 13 years," said Amy Niles. "After consultation with the Board, I made the decision to depart, and the Board will bring in new leadership. This has been a rewarding professional chapter, and I look forward to my next challenge."
"WBGO is fully committed to celebrating the broadest possible spectrum of viewpoints, perspectives and backgrounds, and cultivating an inclusive workplace environment," said Karl Frederic, Chairman of the WBGO Board of Trustees. "WBGO is not only a 40 year cultural institution in Newark, but as a public media outlet that serves and enhances the global jazz community, we see WBGO as Newark's gift to the world. We greatly value our staff, our supporters, and our listeners, and we look forward to continuing to listen to and serve the entire WBGO community."
The Board of Trustees this week voted to put into effect a series of steps to improve the WBGO workplace and governance that will be implemented over the next few weeks. An advisory committee is also being established to provide advice to the board on institutional issues.
WBGO is the global leader in jazz radio, broadcasting from the jazz capital of the world. Founded in 1979, WBGO is a publicly-supported cultural institution that preserves and elevates America’s music: jazz and blues. WBGO reaches a weekly audience of more than 400,000 in the New York/New Jersey metro area via 88.3FM. Through programs such as Jazz Night in America, produced in partnership with NPR and Jazz at Lincoln Center, and WBGO's position as content provider to NPR, its reach extends to millions more across the country. From its home base of Newark, New Jersey, Public Radio station WBGO has long been an anchor institution in community engagement through its partnerships, concerts, education and news programming.