Laura R. Walker is President and CEO of New York Public Radio, which owns and operates WNYC-FM, WNYC-AM, WQXR,WQXW, New Jersey Public Radio, The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space and a variety of digital properties -- including wnyc.org, wqxr.org and thegreenespace.org -- that offer content, culture and news whenever the audience wants them. Its radio stations, digital properties and programming reach 11.5 million people each month on average.
With an emphasis on providing robust multiplatform content, the organization has grown beyond the physical borders of New York. It has developed groundbreaking national programming that has changed the sound of public radio including: Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, On the Media, Studio 360, The Takeaway and Radio Rookies. New York Public Radio produces more than 375 hours of programming each week and it operates a newsroom with 60 journalists. During Ms. Walker’s tenure, New York Public Radio has been honored with seven George Foster Peabody Awards and two Alfred I. DuPont Columbia University Awards for its journalistic work.
Under Ms. Walker’s leadership, New York Public Radio completed a $62.9 million capital campaign to finance its new headquarters and ambitious programming initiatives. The new headquarters includes The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, a street-level, multiplatform broadcast studio and performance venue that enables New York Public Radio to engage with the audience in compelling ways. The Greene Space opened in April 2009. In October 2009, WNYC acquired WQXR from The New York Times Company, and continues its long legacy of serving New York as a full-time classical music station. The purchase was supported by a $15 million Campaign to Preserve Classical Music Radio in New York. Ms. Walker joined the organization in 1996 to oversee the transformation of WNYC from a city-owned agency into an independent non-profit. Her first task was to raise the $20 million necessary to purchase WNYC’s licenses from the City of New York.
In September 2009, Ms. Walker was named one of New York City’s Most Powerful Women by Crain’s New York Business. In October 2008, The Executive Council honored her with a NY Ten Award in the category of Best Media Executive. In July 2008, Ms. Walker was recognized with an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the industry’s highest honor. In October 2007, Ms. Walker was chosen for Crain’s New York’s Business’ special feature on “The 100 Most Influential Women in NYC Business,” and was one of New York Moves magazine’s “Power Women” in 2006. 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 journalist and producer at National Public Radio, where she received a Peabody Award for Broadcast Excellence. In 1983 she joined the staff of Carnegie Hall where she launched the award-winning series AT&T Presents Carnegie Hall Tonight. She joined the Sesame Workshop (formerly Children’s Television Workshop) in 1987, where for eight years she worked on programming and development initiatives, and led the organization’s efforts to establish a cable television channel (now Noggin). In addition to the New York Public Radio Board of Trustees, Ms. Walker sits on the boards of Saint Ann’s School, the Women’s Forum, Inc., the Yale Center for Customer Insights, and the Hudson Square Business Improvement District. She is the Chair of the Station Resource Group. Previously, Ms. Walker sat on the Board of Advisors for the Yale School of Management and the Board of Directors for Public Radio International.
Ms. Walker holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a BA in History, magna cum laude, from Wesleyan University. She resides in Brooklyn Heights with her husband, Bert Wells, and their son and daughter.
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.