Charles Kravetz, the founding news & programming director and station manager of New England Cable News (NECN), has been appointed the new general manager of WBUR-FM, effective January 1, 2011. Kravetz succeeds Paul A. La Camera who was appointed general manager in September of 2005 and will now take a two-year appointment as BU’s administrator of public radio, a new job in which he’ll help manage both the leadership transition and public representation of the station.
Kravetz has set his immediate sights on creating new programs, bolstering the station’s new marketing campaign “UR WBUR” and enhancing the station’s digital presence, along with the continued drive to decrease time spent on-air fundraising and seeking alternative means of reaching donors.
“The challenges that WBUR faces are many, like every organization in the media, but it comes to those challenges from a position of strength,” said Kravetz. “Our listeners want access to the quality journalism we do in every platform, whether it’s an iPad, an iPhone, any written form through the Web, through Twitter.”
Kravetz joins WBUR at a time when the station has held its listener lead against a remade public radio competitor, Brighton-based WGBH. WBUR ranked 11th in the Boston radio market Arbitron ratings in October, versus 24th for WGBH.
“It’s a wonderful thing to be able to take over the leadership of an organization that is in such a strong position,” said Kravetz. “WBUR is uniquely situated in the Boston market. It is financially sound and owned by an extraordinary academic institution that supports it and gives it the freedom to do the kind of quality journalism we all admire.”
In 1992, NECN hired Kravetz to engineer its news operation from scratch. In five months, he oversaw the building of a newsroom, hiring of 90 staffers, and the start of 24 hours-a-day programming. Over 16 years, he opened four New England satellite bureaus, started the country’s first streaming video news site, and secured NECN’s perch among the top 10-rated Boston cable channels. He also led the news team to Peabody, Murrow, and duPont-Columbia awards.
In 2008, Kravetz was appointed NECN’s president/general manager where he guided the channel through its expanding distribution, now reaching almost 4 million homes, making it the largest regional cable news channel in the country. Prior to his post at NECN, Kravetz was an executive at WCVB-TV from1980 to1991, where he was responsible for creating the long-running TV newsmagazine Chronicle as its original producer and executive producer, later rising to assistant news director at Boston’s ABC affiliate.