President & CEO John Boland to retire in September 2019
Michael Isip has been named President Elect
October 17, 2018, SAN FRANCISCO, CA — KQED, the public media organization serving Northern California, announced today that President and Chief Executive Officer John Boland will retire in September 2019. As part of the succession plan, the Board of Directors has selected current Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Isip to succeed Boland and appointed him to the position of President Elect.
Boland’s tenure as President and CEO at KQED began in March 2010 when concern about the decline of newspapers and other regional media had reached a fever pitch. Boland made it his goal to transform KQED from a traditional broadcasting organization into a digital, multimedia service with expanded capacity to provide regional journalism for all of the people of the Bay Area. In the years since, KQED has undergone transformational growth to become one of the largest and most successful public media entities in the country, and an example of how non-profit journalism and educational services can thrive in the digital media world.
Under Boland’s leadership, KQED’s prioritized investment in local content and services, increasing the staff by 40% and growing the newsroom to become one of the largest in the Bay Area and among all public media stations. As a result KQED audiences, membership and community financial support are at all-time highs. KQED Public Radio has become the number one-rated station in Northern California and commands the largest audience among all public radio stations nationally. KQED is also now home to the largest science unit on the West Coast, an expanded arts and culture team, and an education division that develops digital media tools and media literacy products for youth educators and students.
“John’s legacy will be felt everywhere here at KQED,” said KQED Board Chair Chuck Kissner. “From the quality, breadth and growth of our news service to the impact of our digital products and relevancy of our programming, to our vastly increased membership and community support, John has helped make KQED an essential service in the lives of most people here in the Bay Area. We’re grateful for John’s superb leadership and vision, and are pleased he will be helping to guide KQED during the leadership transition.”
Prior to his tenure as KQED president, Boland served for four years as the first chief content officer of the national Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Previously he served in several executive positions at KQED for more than a decade, including Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and Chief Content Officer. Boland began his career as a daily newspaper reporter and has worked as a newspaper and magazine editor and publisher.
“KQED exists to serve the people of the Bay Area, and what audiences want and need from KQED has changed dramatically in the digital age,” said Boland. “KQED’s services are more essential than ever, but to remain relevant we needed to undertake major changes and grow our capacity to meet the community’s 21st century needs. Leading KQED through this transformation, and seeing those changes embraced and supported by the community, has been the highlight of my career in media.”
Working alongside Boland to help execute this vision has been Isip, who was designated to be KQED’s next President and CEO by the KQED Board of Directors following a national search with the help of an executive recruiting firm. Isip will serve as President Elect and Chief Operating Officer until he takes over for Boland next year.
“Given the very successful trajectory of KQED, the Board planned early on for a smooth leadership transition with significant overlap. We appointed a special board task force and conducted a thorough national search,” said Kissner. “Michael Isip earned this appointment not only through his stellar work as a KQED executive but also because he emerged as the best candidate nationally. We’re delighted that Michael will be expanding his leadership role and building upon his many accomplishments at KQED.”
Isip joined KQED in June 2001 as Executive Producer in TV Productions and was promoted to a number of senior-level titles before being named Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer in 2014 and then Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2017. KQED was previously organized by platform — radio, TV and interactive. Together, Boland and Isip helped reorganize the station among four new content areas — News, Science, Arts and Education, with multidisciplinary teams that produce for online, social and mobile, as well as for TV and radio. Isip was charged with leading and managing much of this change, focusing not only on multimedia content and production but also upgrading the station’s technological infrastructure, creating new workflows and retraining and hiring staff.
This platform-agnostic structure has increased overall content production and audience reach. Today an average 2.6 million people use one of KQED’s services each week. The website has an average of 2 million monthly visitors, and KQED’s digital audio and video content averages of 9.6 million monthly plays across all platforms.
“I’m truly humbled by the opportunity to lead this institution and serve the people of the Bay Area in this capacity,” says Isip. “It is my belief that in today’s fractured media marketplace, KQED’s unique role in serving the public with the most trusted news and information, as well as providing the highest-quality programming for diverse audiences, is more important today than ever before. I look forward to continuing on with this mission by reaching and engaging new audiences in new and meaningful ways, building community and strengthening the civic and cultural vitality of the Bay Area.”
Prior to coming to KQED, Isip led local production as an executive producer at KVIE Public Television in Sacramento. He started his career at WLS-TV, the ABC affiliate in Chicago. Overall, Isip has more than 20 years of media experience, with a decade in senior management. He is a Senior Fellow for the American Leadership Forum – Silicon Valley. He is also on the board of directors for Public Radio International (PRI), Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) and American Documentary, Inc., producers of the PBS documentary series POV.
KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. An NPR and PBS affiliate based in San Francisco, KQED is home to one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program helping students and educators thrive in 21st-century classrooms. A trusted news source and leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas. kqed.org