That person is Lisa Baird, who joins the organization after a nearly decade-long tenure as the CMO of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
Here’s the most important bit from the press release:
In this newly created role, Baird will lead the marketing and audience development, data, membership, sponsorship and communications teams. In addition, she will be responsible for raising substantial revenue, increasing audience size and diversity across all programs and platforms, cultivating audience loyalty, and amplifying digital membership. Baird reports to Laura Walker, President and CEO, New York Public Radio.
Baird’s recruitment comes two months after Dean Cappello, WNYC’s former chief content officer and the executive largely viewed to be Walker’s second-in-command, left the station following twenty years at the organization. Cappello had previously been moved into an advisory role during the fallout of the workplace culture reckoning, which was originally instigated by the journalist Suki Kim’s December 2017 expose on The Takeaway‘s John Hockenberry. (If, for some reason, you missed out on all of that, start with Kim’s piece, then go here and here.)
Given the scope of Baird’s portfolio as listed in the press release — note the focus on marketing, audience development, and revenue/development — it’s probably identifying the new CMO as Walker’s new second-in-command.
Baird’s tenure at USOC, as described in the press release, is quite impressive. Aside from overseeing that organization’s full scope of commercial activities, from licensing to advertising to hospitality, Baird was also responsible for launching the Team USA brand and an OTT channel with NBC and the International Olympic Committee. She leaves USOC at a most interesting time, with the committee having just won the honor of hosting the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles. (Will LA’s city infrastructure survive this? Oh man.)
It’s a pretty big name hire, and Baird joins an NYPR that has a most interesting time of its own. The organizations continues to move ahead from a considerably rocky period that raised significant questions over its leadership and culture, and it does so while making a number of structurally-interesting moves, including the acquisitions of the Australian podcast app Pocket Casts — slightly before Google rolled out its own Podcast initiative across Android mobile platforms — and, in collaboration with two other public radio stations, the Gothamist family of local news sites.
There’s a lot going on here. For the record, New York Public Radio as an organization now consists of: WNYC, WQXR, Gothamist, WNYC Studios, and The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space.
Baird starts work on September 10.
On a related note: More Perfect, the Radiolab spinoff focusing on the Supreme Court, apparently has a semi-spinoff project of its own — a music album where each track is a new original song by an acclaimed musician inspired by one of the 27 amendments to the US Constitution. Artists on the record include Dolly Parton, Caroline Shaw, They Might Be Giants, and The Slants (which, by the way, once had a run-in with the Supreme Court themselves). WNYC Studios comin’ for that Hamilton money, it seems. The album drops on September 18, and will accompany the latest season of the podcast.
Clarification: An earlier headline indicated that Baird is NYPR’s first Chief Marketing Officer, which is a framing I originally derived from the press release’s description of a “newly created role.” I’ve been told that, apparently, someone once held that title, but the role has now “much broader and includes membership and sponsorship.” That person was Peter Weingard, who served in the role for three years until moving to West Elm, where he is now the VP of Brand Strategy and Innovation.