Follows station’s long tradition of national leadership
Nico Leone, general manager of KCUR 89.3, has been elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of National Public Radio.
KCUR is the longtime Kansas City based NPR affiliate station, operated as a public service by the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Leone was named general manager of the station in 2012. He is one of two new Member-Directors to join the NPR board, along with John Decker of KPBS in San Diego.
Under Leone’s leadership, KCUR has become one of the most collaborative public radio stations in the country. Leone managed the transition of Harvest Public Media from a grant-funded startup into a self-supporting collaboration of six partners. He launched the Heartland Health Monitor, a multi-platform health news collaboration based at KCUR, and transformed the Kansas News Service from a stand-alone digital news operation into a collaboration of four public radio stations covering health, education and politics in Kansas.
Under his direction, KCUR’s newsroom has doubled in size and community financial support of KCUR has increased by more than 60 percent. This has enabled KCUR to provide thorough, comprehensive coverage in a region where newsroom staffing and coverage continue to decline at an alarming rate.
In an effort to reach new audiences, Leone created a community engagement team that has strengthened community relationships and increased diversity in sources and voices on the air. The community engagement effort has included reporting projects such as Beyond Our Borders, a year-long exploration of dividing lines in Kansas City, and audience development strategies such as a robust events series and the launch of Generation Listen KC, a volunteer-led young professionals group.
“I’m particularly excited to be part of NPR’s thinking about collaborative fundraising and a joint capital campaign for NPR and member stations. We have a unique intersection of willing leadership at NPR and member stations, and an environment that is ripe for a national campaign,” Leone said. “I’m also interested in helping NPR and member stations develop an even more collaborative model for news.”
Leone follows a long tradition of national leadership at KCUR. His predecessor, Patty Cahill, served on the Board of Directors of NPR, and in 2009, was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, where she is currently serving her second term.