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General Manager - KCUR 89.3


Job Description

The University of Missouri-Kansas City seeks a General Manager for KCUR, the public radio station serving Kansas City and the region with local and NPR News and other cultural and music programming.

KCUR is a full-power NPR member station with a staff of 64 full time employees and an annual budget of $8.8 million. Of the 159,000 listeners KCUR serves in the region, approximately 14,000 individuals provide annual contributions to support our work. We also achieve $1.3 million in annual underwriting revenue. KCUR is on a solid financial footing, with a $1.7 million quasi-endowment, $2 million operating fund balance, and no debt.

KCUR has a number of signature strengths, including our respected, experienced staff and an effective internal culture of openness and warmth (KCUR is a fun place to work). We are proud of our local news operation, which is growing into a position of prominence among the providers of fact-based journalism to the people of our region. In July, 2020 KCUR deepened its commitment to support the cultural life of the community with the launch of 91.9 Classical KC, a local service with a focus on Kansas City, its arts institutions, its home-grown musicians, its audiences and its schools.

KCUR is the host and lead organization for several key national and regional collaborations: America Amplified, a national reporting project covering the 2020 election; NPR’s Midwest Reporting Hub, providing deeper coverage and investigative reporting and local news coverage in underserved areas across Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska; the Kansas News Service, deploying reporters to cover stories that matter to Kansans in partnership with public media organizations across the state; and Harvest Public Media, reporting on food systems, agriculture and rural issues through a collaborative network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest and Plains.

While the station is always looking to advance its journalism and technology, grow its audience, maintain the freshness of its programming approach and ensure the continuation of stable funding, KCUR is not in a turn-around situation.

KCUR seeks to continue on its successful path as a major multimedia news organization, central to the public service journalistic life of our region. We want to serve significantly larger audiences with greater cultural, ethnic, economic and age diversity. In part through our continued growth as a news organization, but also through other kinds of community engagement, we aspire to become more outward facing and central to the life of the community, including recognition as an essential local institution.

KCUR knows that growing the audience and being more engaged in the community will enhance our current primary revenue sources of contributed membership and underwriting, but understands we will also need to significantly grow our philanthropic, major and planned giving activity to achieve the kind of growth in significance we seek. Among our challenges are the need to identify and move to a new home and to replace much of our current production and transmitting equipment. To accomplish this, we anticipate the need to develop and execute a capital campaign in the near future.

Together, the staff, advisory board and university administration have created a profile of the experiences, skills and personal characteristics of the ideal candidate to lead KCUR. We will consider candidates who most clearly fit this profile:

Leadership: We seek a leader passionate about public radio who can articulate a compelling vision for KCUR, including programming, broader community engagement, growth in audience share and continued growth in revenues. Our next leader will be an energetic, externally focused individual with a high level of emotional intelligence, who will help KCUR command even greater significance locally and nationally while remaining financially healthy, and who:

  • Has exceptional people skills, able to flex their style for different audiences, comfortable and effective at engaging a wide range of stakeholders with diverse outlooks – from a single member to high-net-worth donors;
  • Has an open style, but is also an effective decision-maker and change agent;
  • Is politically savvy and diplomatic, as well as adaptable, accessible and enthusiastic;
  • Is strategic and not risk averse;
  • Provides direction and accountability measures for individual staff and organizational success, including clearly communicating strategy, goals and expectations;

Communication: Highly developed public and private interpersonal skills, including being:

  • A skillful listener;
  • Comfortable in a public situation and being “the face” of the station;
  • An organized thinker, effective writer and speaker;
  • Personable, inspiring and respectful;
  • Articulate, effective spokesperson for KCUR and its mission.

Vision: Displays ability to envision KCUR’s long-term needs; sees and understands future trends in media, in related fields and the world as well as the impact on KCUR’s operations; and the ability to:

  • Create a blueprint for KCUR’s future;
  • Create an action plan to deliver that future by developing KCUR’s staff, its organizational structure, its facility and technology assets, its audience, relationship with donors and other funders as well as continuing to transform in response to the new media environment – carefully but aggressively, while still maintaining service to our current audience;
  • Develop a vision with input from stakeholders and across the organization, and able to enroll others in working together to execute the resulting vision;
  • Balance vision with doing.

Diversity/ Equity/ Inclusion: Clear commitment to and proven record of growing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace and in audiences and communities we serve, as well as:

  • Having high level expertise in best practices (such as understanding and addressing implicit bias and microaggressions, creating an inclusive workplace and promotion of civility).
  • Having cultural awareness and empathy – respect for values, treating people as individuals and using different perspectives, and with experience in other cultures;
  • Having expertise in diversity-focused hiring and retention practices, from position announcements to recruiting and interviewing;
  • Having the ability to foster a journalistic framework to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion in the news and cultural output of the station and in the topics explored, the voices presented and the perspectives considered.
  • Being a lifelong learner – adapting to context, openness, curiosity and tolerance for ambiguity.

Integrity: Our most important asset is the trust our listeners and the community have in our programming and in KCUR as an institution. The KCUR General Manager will:

  • Have clear, high standards for their self and others;
  • Be both trustworthy and know when and how to be trusting;
  • Be an honest, sincere, courageous, ethical person of substance, with a strong awareness and sense of self;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to transparency, both internally with staff and with listeners and donors;
  • Foster a culture of journalistic integrity, including truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, and public accountability.
  • Demonstrate a record of being able to identify, confront, analyze and resolve ethically ambiguous issues and potential or real conflicts of interest, both for their self and others in the organization.

Strategic focus: Powerful understanding of and use of strategy in organizational life:

  • Knowledgeable of dynamics affecting current and future environment of KCUR (especially the extremely volatile media environment) and effective at maximizing the organization in response to these dynamics;
  • Knowledgeable of population, technology and media consumption trends in Kansas City and the region;
  • Highly developed skill at prioritizing, and accomplished at sequencing change;
  • Values and makes use of networking with and benchmarking other organizations to increase KCUR effectiveness;
  • Able to continuously develop, execute and evaluate strategic plans, in concert with other stakeholders, and to champion strategic perspectives.

Fundraising: Effective fundraiser with demonstrated track record, knowledgeable of and expert at the General Manager role in fundraising and resource development, who:

  • Has demonstrated strength as mission spokesperson and in relationship management aspects of fundraising (both individual and institutional);
  • Is comfortable asking for money for KCUR and excited to build station resources;
  • Has a comprehensive understanding of fundraising strategies and methods in public media (membership, underwriting, and major and planned giving) and beyond;
  • Is able to develop KCUR organizational (staff and advisory board) fundraising capacity, including working closely with KCUR’s Development Director. Effective at continuing to move us beyond our reliance on transactional membership-based revenues into philanthropic fundraising, including identifying and dealing with any internal cultural and operational blocks to success with major donor and planned giving efforts;
  • Understands concepts related to capital campaigns and can help provide leadership for developing and executing a campaign for KCUR in the future;
  • Is creative and capable at conceiving and developing alternative revenue streams.

Problem solving and decision making: Decisive leader who:

  • Has the ability to prioritize and determine significance of a particular issue, understands who to include in the problem-solving process, and knows what and how much information is needed;
  • Is able to effectively analyze and use data in the decision-making process, and will make decisions in a timely manner;
  • Is good at follow-through – clearly communicates decisions, designs and administers effective execution, with appropriate pre-determined success measures and time-posts; and
  • Demonstrates personal strength to stick by decisions and/or know when a change of direction is needed.

Mission Orientation: Self-aware, disciplined individual who will profoundly understand, embrace, embody and advance the KCUR mission, and:

  • Is experienced in mission development and aware of/committed to the importance of mission in effective organizational performance;
  • If not coming from public media and/or a journalistic background, profound awareness of and commitment to public media and journalism’s importance to the health of our communities and democracy itself;
  • Puts the mission of KCUR above personal recognition or reward;
  • Foster the quality and character of community life across Greater Kansas City.

Collaboration: Advance KCUR’s strength by focusing on and leading collaboration as a central strength and strategy, both internally and externally. We will consider candidates with clear evidence of:

  • Proven track record of establishing and maintaining a broad range of effective partnerships in previous settings;
  • Skill at building and maintaining consensus;
  • A full set of communication skills, especially being an effective listener;
  • Proven ability to discern strengths and weaknesses of potential and current partners;
  • Being quick to identify and accept responsibility for missteps, and equally quick to credit others for contributions and success.

Minimum Qualifications

Bachelor’s Degree plus at least 8 years of supervisory experience in a comparable organizational setting. Public Radio experience preferred.


Salary to commensurate with experience.

Application Deadline

This position will remain open until filled. Date for full consideration: January 2, 2020.

Application Instructions

UMKC/KCUR is being assisted in this search by Livingston Associates. For consideration, please submit a letter of introduction including your vision for the future of KCUR and how you will be the ideal person to lead the organization in achieving that vision, resume, and contact information for a minimum of 3 professional references

Applicants must combine all application materials (cover letter, resume, and list of three references with contact information) into one PDF or Microsoft Word document and upload as a resume attachment. Limit document name to 50 characters. Maximum size limit is 11MB. Do not include special characters (e.g., /, &, %, etc.).

Inquiries are welcome with Livingston Associates at (410) 243-1974.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Equal Opportunity is and shall be provided for all employees and applicants for employment on the basis of their demonstrated ability and competence without unlawful discrimination on the basis of their race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, protected veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable state or federal law. This policy shall not be interpreted in such a manner as to violate the legal rights of religious organizations or the recruiting rights of military organizations associated with the Armed Forces or the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America. For more information, call the Vice Chancellor - Human Resources at 816-235-1621.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the duties and functions of this job. If you believe you may have difficulty performing any of the duties or functions of this job, please contact the Office of Affirmative Action at (816) 235-1323.