Laura R. Walker is President and CEO of New York Public Radio, the largest public radio station group in the nation and a major producer of audio content for radio and on-demand audiences. An independent and innovative nonprofit dedicated to providing high-quality journalism, music and digital products, New York Public Radio reaches an audience of more than 26 million listeners monthly. Under her leadership, the organization has been honored with 10 George Foster Peabody Awards and three Alfred I. DuPont Columbia Awards since 2000.
New York Public Radio owns and operates eight public radio stations, including WNYC and WQXR, the most-listened-to public radio station and one of the most-listened-to classical stations in America, respectively. WNYC Studios is New York Public Radio’s on-demand audio and national broadcast division, home to some of the most popular, influential and beloved podcasts, including Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, 2 Dope Queens, Nancy, The New Yorker Radio Hour, On the Media, More Perfect, Note to Self, Death, Sex & Money, and The Takeaway. These programs are heard on more than 700 public radio stations nationwide, and globally through podcasts and other digital products. The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, New York Public Radio’s state-of-the art broadcast and live event venue, produces more than 150 events each year for live and digital audiences.
Ms. Walker joined New York Public Radio (then WNYC) as President and CEO in 1996, becoming the newly independent station’s first leader, following decades as a city-owned institution. Ms. Walker’s tenure has been marked by dramatic growth for the organization, which has been hailed by Neiman Lab as being on “innovation overdrive.” Under her leadership, New York Public Radio has increased its monthly audience from 1 million to over 26 million, raised more than $100 million in long-term investment and led as one of the most influential producers of podcasts since the earliest days of the medium. Ms. Walker has established New York Public Radio as a place that produces award-winning, impactful enterprise journalism; nurtures today’s most creative talent; champions classical music and creates innovative products that bring the best of audio to listeners everywhere.
A recognized leader, writer and speaker on media, culture and business, Ms. Walker was honored in 2008 with an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. She was named one of New York City’s Most Powerful Women by Crain’s New York Business in 2009 and 2017, and was chosen for the Crain’s New York Business special feature on “The 100 Most Influential Women in NYC Business” in 2007. She was named to City & State's Above & Beyond list honoring women of public and civic mind, and New York Moves magazine’s “Power Women” list. The Executive Council honored her with a NY 10 Award in the category of Best Media Executive. The New York Choral Society honored Ms. Walker with the Distinguished Service to Music Award. She is also the recipient of Public Radio International’s Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and a Distinguished Alumna Award from Wesleyan University.
Ms. Walker began her professional career as a print journalist and then a producer at National Public Radio, where she received a Peabody Award for Broadcast Excellence, the industry’s highest honor. In 1983, she joined the staff of Carnegie Hall, where she launched the award-winning series AT&T Presents Carnegie Hall Tonight. In 1987, she joined Sesame Workshop (formerly Children’s Television Workshop) as the Vice President of Development and led the cross-departmental team that established the cable television channel Noggin. During the course of her career, Ms. Walker also worked at the Boston Consulting Group and Eurasia Press, where she wrote the organization’s first guide to China. In addition to the New York Public Radio Board of Trustees, Ms. Walker sits on the boards of The Tribune Media Company, Saint Ann’s School, Yale Center for Customer Insights, and the Eagle Picher Trust. She is the former Chair of the Hudson Square BID and the Station Resource Group.
Ms. Walker holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a BA in History, magna cum laude, from Wesleyan University, where she was an Olin Scholar.
Laura R. Walker appears in the following:
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
New York Public Radio president Laura Walker shares her personal story about Bach in advance of WQXR's Bach 360 Festival.