Herb Scannell, known for an influential run at Nickelodeon followed by top roles at Next New Networks, BBC Worldwide North America and Mitú, has been named president and CEO of Southern California Public Radio.
Beginning in February, he will succeed Bill Davis, who announced his retirement last June. SCPR runs LA public radio stalwart KPCC and is also publisher of the re-launched digital brand LAist.
“I began my career in radio, and I couldn’t think of a better time, place or city to return to this medium I love,” Scannell said. “We’re experiencing an audio renaissance. Podcasts are blossoming and local public radio is filling a journalistic void left by the diminishing number of local newspapers. At the same time technology is changing the game with the emergence of smart speakers and – very soon – smart cars. California and Los Angeles are the hub of both culture and innovation, and what happens here matters everywhere. I want to congratulate Bill Davis for what he has accomplished, and I thank the SCPR Board for giving me the opportunity to build upon his legacy.”
SCPR Board Chair Ana Valdez saluted Scannell’s “perfect mix of media experience and commitment to public service journalism.” She added, “Through his Puerto-Rican heritage, he brings a very deep and personal understanding of the power of diversity and the importance of authentically representing the audience we serve. We are also thrilled that Bill Davis will continue his relationship with SCPR as President Emeritus.”
Davis pronounced himself “profoundly honored” to pass the baton to Scannell. “I’ve had an amazing run during the past 18 years, and I’m confident that Herb will lead SCPR to new heights,” he said. “I look forward toward supporting Herb and everyone at SCPR through this transition as we move forward and realize our potential as a diversified media company.”
Part of the American Public Media Group, SCPR emphasizes public service journalism and civic engagement through programs such as AirTalk with Larry Mantle, Take Two and The Frame. In its press release about Scannell, SCPR asserted that KPCC produces more local news and public affairs programming than any other public radio station in the country. More than 50% of the journalists in the KPCC/LAist newsroom are people of color.
Reaching a broadcast audience of 800,000 — four times the level 20 years ago — SCPR also draws another 800,000 online via LAist. Memberships have reached a new high level at more than 73,000, and the organization projects 2019 revenue will reach a record $32.5 million.
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