Veteran TV Journalist Kravetz Named WBUR GM

Veteran television executive Charles Kravetz will take over as the head of WBUR next year.

Kravetz said he plans guide the station through a new-media expansion and cut down on fundraising appeals — all while keeping the station on solid financial footing. As general manager, Kravetz will oversee a $21 million annual budget.

Charles Kravetz (courtesy photo)
Charles Kravetz (courtesy photo)

Kravetz, 58, cofounded New England Cable News in 1992, eventually becoming president and general manager. He was terminated in 2009, after cable giant Comcast acquired the broadcaster from Hearst Corporation.

In 1980, Kravetz co-created "Chronicle," the nightly newsmagazine at WCVB-TV (Channel 5), where he worked as a news manager for 12 years.

Outgoing General Manager Paul La Camera said last month he will resign at the end of the year.

Though Kravetz does not have experience in radio, he said he is a longtime NPR listener and fan.

"I'm interested in journalism that really respects the listener and the reader," Kravetz said, "the hard work of digging and finding the truth and reporting it to the public."

The challenge, he said, is finding a way to continue paying for that kind of news.

"One of the reasons why journalism has become shorter and weaker and more 'police blotter' is because it's less expensive," he said.

WBUR has largely weathered the recession and a tumultuous media environment. The station raised a record $1.27 million in its annual fall pledge drive and outpaces other, even larger markets in underwriting sales.

Joe Mercurio, the executive vice president of Boston University, and Peter Fiedler, the vice president of administration, made the decision to hire Kravetz. BU owns WBUR's broadcast license.

"He is going to be challenged first of all with being an innovating thinker," Fiedler said of Kravetz. "Media is changing so rapidly, and Charlie is fascinated by it."

How WBUR reports on multiple platforms "will be a big, big question for us," Kravetz said. "We have to figure out whether or not this is a radio organization — or is it a news organization whose primary distribution platform now is radio but whose digital platforms will grow."

Kravetz takes over the top job Jan. 1, 2011. He is married with two daughters and lives in Wellesley.

This program aired on December 7, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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