Sesame Street veteran taking over at NPR


The air may not be sweet as it is on Sesame Street, but the air occupied by National Public Radio is plentiful from coast to coast and beyond. The noncommercial news-info service is bringing Sesame Shop Workshop head Gary Knell to become its new President/CEO.

NPR is no stranger to having its reason for existing questioned, but last year its existence was even more threatened than usual when commentator Juan Williams was fired for comments made on another media outlet. The situation spun out of control, was followed by other embarrassing incidents, and eventually cost exec Vivian Schiller her job. She is who Knell will be replacing.

Knell is hoping to calm the waters, depoliticize the network and make sure its programming is not about liberal or conservative, but about fairness.

CPB President/CEO Patricia Harrison welcomed Knell aboard, saying, “On behalf of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, I congratulate Gary Knell on being named the new president and CEO of NPR. Over the last three decades, Gary has proven to be an innovative and respected leader within our country’s public media system. We look forward to working with him in his new role to strengthen and advance this service for the American people.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Whenever funding for public broadcasting is threatened with budget cuts, Sesame Streeters like Big Bird descend on Capitol Hill like lightning and the funding is saved. Knell would do well to maintain his tight relationship with these characters on the off-chance they can work their magic at his new gig.

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