National Public Radio has announced that Gary Knell, the longtime president and CEO of Sesame Workshop, will be the next president and CEO of NPR, the public radio network announced Sunday.
Knell succeeds Vivian Schiller, who resigned in March after a former NPR fundraiser was caught on camera calling the tea party racist. Schiller was also criticized for firing analyst Juan Williams over comments he made about Muslims.
Knell, who will join NPR on December 1st, told The Associated Press on Sunday that he wanted to “depoliticize” NPR by highlighting its commitment to hard-hitting local, national and international journalism across multiple platforms. He said he does not believe that NPR is biased and wants to try to change the minds of those who perceive it as such.
“I think NPR needs to do a better job of telling a story,” Knell said. “It’s about journalism, it’s about news. It’s not about promoting one political agenda or another.”
“Gary is an extraordinary leader with extensive experience in public media, programming and education,” board chairman Dave Edwards said in a statement. “As CEO of Sesame Workshop for more than a decade, he has led a large, complex organization through a tumultuous media environment, helping it grow by providing innovative, engaging content in new and creative ways.”
Knell joined Sesame Workshop in 1998 and became CEO in 2000. Previously he was Managing Director of Manager Media International and SVP/General Counsel of PBS affiliate WNET TV New York.