After 26 years of service, Roger Sarow, WFAE president, announced his plan to retire in early 2015. During his tenure, he has guided the station from a university-licensee to an independent non-profit and expanded the station’s capacity as a regional news operation.
“All good assignments must eventually come to an end. WFAE provided me with the creative opportunity of a lifetime,” said Sarow. My entire career desire has been to work in public broadcasting. I’ve been fortunate to spend every working day in that field.”
WFAE’s governing board of directors, University Radio Foundation, Inc., has formed a committee to undertake a national search and implement an orderly managerial transition.
“Roger Sarow will leave behind big shoes to fill. His leadership and industry expertise were perhaps best displayed over the past few years,” said Board Chair Nash Long. “During a period of economic uncertainty, in the midst of seismic changes in the media industry, Roger and his management team had to walk a tightrope: balancing our need to manage expenses prudently with the demands of a bold strategic plan.”
“As a result, WFAE is now providing more of the regional news and content that you cannot get anywhere else. The station is engaging new audiences through technology and social media, and it’s encouraging the development of civil society through community forums and meetings,” Long added. “WFAE is a stronger more vital force in this community than ever before, and no one deserves the credit for that more than Roger. We will miss him, and wish him the best.”
As part of the search process, the WFAE Board will assess the qualifications desired in the next WFAE president and ask for input from staff, donors and the community about how WFAE and its new president can best serve the region. Candidates will be interviewed in the fall with a proposed transition in the first calendar quarter of 2015.
WFAE was founded by UNC Charlotte in 1981, an outgrowth of student radio projects on campus in the 1980s. The station divested from the university in 1993, gaining independent non-profit status, with governance by a volunteer board of directors. In 1988, when Sarow joined WFAE, the station had a staff of 17 and a budget of approximately $850,000.
Today, WFAE has 33 full-time employees, 8 part-time staff and a budget of $4.7 million. The station ranks among the top ten public radio stations nationally in its average audience share. WFAE serves an estimated 200,000 listeners each week, delivering over 45-million hours of public service each year. In the past two years, WFAE has doubled its news staff and created an array of podcasts, blogs, and digital and social media content.
Roger Sarow Bio:
Sarow is currently completing his sixth year on the Board of Directors of National Public Radio (NPR) where he chairs NPR’s Corporate Finance Committee. He previously served as chair of NPR’s Satellite Distribution Committee.
During Sarow’s 39-year career in public radio, he has served as the chair of the Public Radio Program Directors’ Association, as well as serving as the founding treasurer of the University-Station Alliance, a national group of public radio stations owned by universities. Sarow also served as chair of Southern Public Radio.
He is a member of the Rotary Club of Charlotte, and is on the Advisory Committee of the Graduate School at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C.
His hobbies include travel, photography and woodworking projects.