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WBGO Welcomes Public Media Leader Steve Williams as New President & CEO

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Nationally recognized industry leader with over four decades of experience tapped to lead NPR's flagship jazz station.

November 2, 2020 (Newark, NJ) - Newark Public Radio’s Board of Trustees is excited to announce that media veteran, Steven A. Williams, has been named President & CEO of WBGO.

Williams was selected as the new President & CEO of WBGO following a rigorous national search, spearheaded by a Search Committee, which included current and previous WBGO Board members, community partners, and founder and Interim President & CEO, Bob Ottenhoff. Williams will take the reins on January 4, 2021.

In partnership with WBGO's Board of Trustees, Williams will set forth a vision for the future that builds on the station’s celebration of jazz and commitment to diversity in a rapidly changing new media environment. Williams will provide strategic leadership to increase the organization’s impact on the Newark community, the greater New York metropolitan area, and the broader jazz world. He will focus on expanding WBGO’s visibility and representing it in the philanthropic, government, and civic communities in Newark, as well as nationally in the media. As the President & CEO, he will oversee a $6 million budget and lead WBGO’s staff of 60, including on-air talent and production and engineering professionals.

"I’m thrilled to lead Newark Public Radio in this new chapter of its storied legacy. I welcome this tremendous opportunity to continue and strengthen WBGO’s commitment to promoting the art form of jazz and ensuring diversity in both its workforce and audience,” said Williams. “To be given this responsibility is a great honor and I’ll maximize the opportunities before me with thoughtful and informed leadership to build upon the many achievements of this iconic institution.”

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Williams brings a rich and extensive background in media to WBGO with a reputation as a creative, people-centric, and data-driven leader. He has held key leadership roles at top media organizations across a diverse range of markets including Cincinnati, Detroit, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, New York City, and most recently Seattle. William is also a nationally recognized authority on best practices for jazz radio programming, research, marketing, and administration and content production. A jazz aficionado, Williams previously served as Director of Programming for WBGO and most recently served the station in a consulting capacity.

“Steve’s experience, knowledge and contacts will invigorate WBGO as we enter our fifth decade of operation,” remarked Karl Frederic, chairman of WBGO’s Board of Trustees. “The thoughtful and reliable locally-produced programming from public media outlets like WBGO is more essential than ever before in a fragmented and polarized media landscape. Steve brings enthusiasm and capability to give WBGO an even more robust presence on the airwaves and on new media platforms that have emerged since our founding in 1979 that give us a global reach. At the same time, we remain committed to Newark as our home and the values on which WBGO was founded."

In her time as Marketing Manager for “the galaxy’s greatest jazz station” (Tim Heffernan, Esquire), Brandy has overseen a rebranding of the NPR affiliate, created a social media presence for the organization and partnered with event producers, venues and other media outlets to help strengthen connections with longtime listeners as well as reach out to new audiences.