After 36 years in public radio, PRPD President Arthur Cohen will retire at the end of this year. We’re honored to have him close our conference with his personal reflections on the evolution of public radio and public media. The breadth of Arthur’s career has been equaled only by the depth of his commitment. He brings a lifetime of knowledge and experience to his understanding of our field. This benediction is an opportunity to hear a unique and passionate perspective on the work that we do, and an opportunity to celebrate the man who has devoted his life to make that work better, more successful, and more meaningful for the American public.
Arthur’s involvement with public radio over the years has extended to every region of the country. His career spans the broad spectrum of public broadcasting, including rural community radio and major market stations and networks. He has been an on-air host, program director, general manager, consultant, researcher, trainer, talent coach, producer and program developer – both local and national. Throughout his career, his commitment has remained focused on excellence in content and service to listeners.
Arthur began his career in 1978, at community radio KVMR, Nevada City, California. In 1985 he moved to Ketchikan, Alaska to manage KRBD-FM. He made the jump from community to “mainstream” public radio came with a move to Northwest Public Radio in Pullman, Washington, where he was among the first to separate a regional multi-station operation into distinct program streams, one all-news and the other classical. He also developed the groundbreaking daily classical music daily show, Bob & Bill.
Arthur joined Minnesota Public Radio in 1991, where he modernized the sound of classical presentation and created the Classical 24 music service. He also managed national programming for MPR, led a campaign to save the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and helped guide a remodel of the first complete digital studios. As VP of Programming & Operations at WNYC, he began the station’s transition to full time news and information programming. He joined WETA in 1997 as Vice President of Radio, where he increased the station’s news offerings and developed relationships with classical music organizations in the community. He also helped differentiate radio pledge techniques from those of television.
In 2001 Arthur became president of the Radio Research Consortium, where he developed on-line delivery of Arbitron data to public radio. He also established a consulting practice, Whole Station Solutions, to advise public media on programming, audience research, and strategic management.
Arthur was elected to the PRPD Board in 1989 and served as a board member for 10 years. He has also worked for PRPD as a consultant to bring the PD Handbook online and increase its training programs. In 2003, Arthur took over management of the PRPD annual conference, an enormous undertaking that he has done every year since then. In 2006, Arthur was named President of the PRPD.
This closing benediction will be an opportunity for you to celebrate Arthur and his amazing legacy of excellence in service to our audience. You’ll want to be there.