NFCB veteran Lynn Chadwick promoted to head Pacifica Radio
Originally published in Current, Oct. 26, 1998
By Jacqueline Conciatore
Pacifica has chosen longtime community radio advocate and its second-in-command Lynn Chadwick to succeed Pat Scott as executive director.
As the former president of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters and the Pacifica Foundation's director of operations and planning since January, Chadwick isn't a surprise choice. Observers note her long career in the system. "She has a background in public broadcasting and community radio of over 20 years," says Valerie Van Isler, g.m. of Pacifica's WBAI, New York. "That same experience, completely and fully advocating for community stations, whether before Congress, before CPB, and other agencies ... is going to be very powerful and extremely helpful."
"Lynn knows what's going on in the trenches in stations, in lots of stations," says Michael Huntsberger, NFCB's board chair. "She can bring a wealth of knowledge about different practices, ways we can achieve success."
Chadwick replaces Scott, who departs this month after four years as an outspoken agent of often-controversial change for the network that aims to promote peace and social justice. The changes--intended to build audience--involved streamlining stations' eclectic program schedules and canceling some longstanding shows. Ensuing conflicts over "firings" of volunteers and additional trouble over labor-contract issues won Pacifica its share of bad publicity. But Pacifica did recently announce higher audience ratings.
New board chair Mary Frances Berry said in April that she wanted to hire someone "good with people" and sensitive to Pacifica's public image. Chadwick is a communicative manager with "an open door policy," says Bessie Wash, g.m. at WPFW in Washington. Offered Huntsberger: "Lynn is a strong leader, not afraid to face challenges. She doesn't duck controversy, but faces it head-on. She knows what direction she wants to take an organization in, but if there are differences, she's not unwilling to sit down and discuss them at length and in detail."
At NFCB, Chadwick backed projects to help community stations attract audience and revenues, despite friction from some pubcasters who decry ratings consciousness.
Chadwick says her plans for Pacifica are in line with the board's strategic plan, which calls for continued audience-building, quality national programming and more financial support. "We did bring the world listener-sponsored radio, and we do that well. But we've got to look to other fundraising systems as well," Chadwick says. Efforts could include entrepreneurial projects and stronger donor programs, she says.
Her first order of business is to hire a national programming director, as Gail Christian is leaving at the end of the year.
Chadwick began her radio career as a volunteer at WPFW. She served as president of NFCB from 1987 to 1998. In 1995, CPB awarded her its highest honor, the Edward R. Murrow Award, for "transforming the organization into an industry leader."
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Earlier news: Pacifica leader Pat Scott announces plans to resign.
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