Andi McDaniel has been named CEO of Chicago Public Media (CPM), where she will oversee the company’s growing podcast division and Chicago radio stations news/talk WBEZ (91.5) and urban alternative “Vocalo” WBEW (89.5). McDaniel, who will join the group this fall, is currently Chief Content Officer at American University news/talk WAMU Washington, DC (88.5), where she oversaw the development of the national program “1A,” which airs on 375 public radio stations nationwide. WBEZ’s Jenn White will take over as host of “1A” in July.
McDaniel replaces Goli Sheikholeslami, who left CPM to join New York Public Radio, parent company of WNYC-AM/FM New York (820/93.9), as CEO.
“The board is unanimous in its belief that Andi is the right person to lead Chicago Public Media as we continue to deliver high-quality, in-depth journalism and innovative original programming,” Bryan Traubert, CPM Board Chair said in a release.
Steve Edwards has been serving as CPM’s interim CEO. He will resume his role as Vice President and Chief Content Officer upon McDaniel’s arrival.
“I couldn’t be more pleased by Andi’s selection as our next president and CEO,” Edwards added. “She’s the ideal person to lead our organization as we seek to create meaningful connections among younger, more diverse audiences across audio and digital platforms.”
McDaniel grew up in the Chicago area and said WBEZ is “a station that is innovating and setting a new bar and has an incredibly strong foundation that I can build on. What we do as public media that is most essential is help people understand what’s going on in the world and help them understand each other. Even as we face difficult financial challenges that force difficult choices, it’s also the case that demand for what we do is surging right now and that’s an incredible opportunity.”
At WAMU, African American leadership more than doubled under McDaniel, and its listenership among 25-44-year-olds grew by 13%. The station’s staff also became more diverse. “I will be thinking about audience — both growing audience, especially digitally — and also making audience more reflective of the demographics of the region,” she explains.
McDaniel said the fundamentals at CPM are aligned with her values: creative storytelling, local journalism and connection. “Public media at its very best tells stories that reflect the place and have a richness, a texture and sound you don’t get in the commercial space,” McDaniel says.