KCUR has announced new station leadership. Nico Leone will take over from longtime KCUR general manager Patty Cahill. She’s retiring after 25 years.
Leone has been co-executive director and the public face of KDHX, a community radio station in St. Louis. He oversaw marketing, programming, development, and community outreach there.
Sarah Morris is the assistant vice chancellor for UMKC communications and oversees KCUR. She says the station conducted an extensive national search but drew heavily on local input.
“It wasn’t a decision I felt we should make in a vacuum,” said Morris.
Livingston and Associates, a firm specializing in public media executive searches, met with staff, KCUR community advisory board members, and other volunteers to come up with a list of attributes for the general manager.
“We knew that our next general manager needed four essential qualities to take the station forward: leadership, vision, proven fundraising skills and a passion for community engagement,” Sarah Morris said.
Morris says Leone has these attributes and a track record of success in capital campaigns.
In terms of his plans for the station’s future, Leone wants to focus on community engagement.
“The media landscape is changing, and that gives us an opportunity to not just be a source of great journalism, but also to be a powerfully impactful community institution,” he said.
Leone believes the foundation of community engagement is listening.
“I’m going to be doing a lot of listening, a lot of getting to know the community. I’m looking forward to hearing from people about how we can better serve the community,” Leone said.
Leone said listeners should not expect significant changes in programming.
“Coming from a different situation, what I hope to contribute is a different perspective. But a year from now, what listeners will be hearing will not be a dramatically different station,” said Leone.
Morris says KCUR already is a strong station, and she expects that to continue under Leone’s leadership.
“We’re not going to lose that at all. We’re going to gain this other element of taking and making KCUR even more integral in the lives of Kansas Citians,” said Morris.
Leone will take over as general manager at KCUR in August.