Ken Stern

CEO, National Public Radio

Ken Stern has served as Chief Executive Officer of NPR since October 1, 2006. In this position, he directs all management, business and strategic aspects of the award-winning media organization.

Stern joined NPR in November 1999 as Executive Vice President and, since then, has played a key role in its dramatic audience growth and its expansion in journalism, programming and new media. As Executive Vice President, Stern was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization and directing the senior management team. During his tenure, NPR doubled its audience in seven years - from 13 million to 26 million weekly listeners; completed a multi-year expansion of NPR News that significantly increased the number of staff, foreign and domestic bureaus and beats; achieved financial stability for the non-profit organization, and extended NPR's reach into digital media, including its critically-praised leadership in podcasting and digital radio. Stern was instrumental in growing NPR's U.S. visibility with the 2002 opening of NPR West, a comprehensive news and programming production facility in Culver City, CA, and a new enlarged New York Bureau that opened in Winter 2006. Additionally, he oversaw the April 2006 launch of NPR Berlin, an FM channel in Germany that marked the organization's move into international broadcasting. Stern has driven major initiatives to translate NPR news, information, music and cultural content across all media platforms, which now include online, wireless, mobile and on-demand. NPR now produces and/or distributes 1300 hours weekly, including 150 hours of news, talk, music and entertainment shows for more than 800 U.S. public radio stations; two 24/7 public radio channels for Sirius Satellite Radio, five 24/7 HD Radio multicast music channels launched in Fall 2005 and nearly 80 podcasts to date. He has also helped grow the visibility of the public radio system through the formation of a unified public radio podcast directory including nearly 400 titles from NPR, local stations and independent producers, and he is spearheading the creation of a digital music service to bring together the vast archives of public radio, making its debut in 2007. Since Stern joined the organization, NPR revenues grew from $75 million in 1998 to a projected $167 million for 2006. It was the recipient of the largest cash bequest ever made to an American cultural institution, nearly $235 million from the late philanthropist Joan B. Kroc.

From 1997 to 1999, Stern served as Senior Advisor to the Director of the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau in Washington D.C., the umbrella organization overseeing American worldwide broadcasting operations including Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, Voice of America and Radio and TV Marti. He was responsible for policy, affiliate relations, external affairs, business development, engineering and research. He played a major role in VOA's transition from shortwave to FM radio technology and oversaw the initial marketing and business agreements that laid the groundwork for VOA's global FM network. He previously was legal and management consultant to Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, based in Munich and Prague. Prior to entering broadcasting, Stern was an attorney specializing in litigation with Wilmer Cutler and Pickering (now Wilmer Hale) in Washington. He also served as chief counsel for the 53rd Presidential Inaugural Committee and deputy general counsel for the Clinton/Gore 1996 Campaign. A native of Washington, D.C., Stern also grew up in South Korea and Germany. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Haverford College with a B.A. in political science, and was the recipient of the Harold Kurzman Prize in Political Science. He also holds a J.D. from Yale Law School.

KDMC Sessions

Opening lunch
January 13, 2008, 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
SEMINAR: National Public Radio Strategic Leadership Planning Conference


All fields required.


[email protected] is now offering customized digital strategies training for news organizations that is designed to help leaders create versatile, innovative and collaborative cultures for the 21st Century. For more information please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Leadership 3.0 Blog



Upcoming Seminars