The University of Alabama at Birmingham seeks an Executive Director for WBHM, the UAB licensed NPR news station serving Birmingham and the surrounding region.

About WBHM

Who We Are:

WBHM 90.3 FM is a listener-supported service of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (voted America’s No. 1 Best Large Employer 2021 by Forbes). More than half of the station’s financial support comes from listeners, with additional support from corporate underwriting and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Our story is one of remarkable growth in size, quality, reputation and impact. In a little more than four decades, UAB has transformed from its modest beginnings as an extension center into a doctoral research university and academic medical center. And we have the same audacious vision that led our founders to dream big dreams.

Our Mission:

WBHM digs deeper to provide stories, ideas, insights, and programs for the people of Alabama. Our mission is to enlighten, inform, and to provide an understanding of our diverse, complex, and ever-changing world.

About Birmingham:

The City of Birmingham, Alabama is the largest city in the state with a population currently estimated at 209,403, and a metro population of 1,136,650.

Nestled at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains at the cross-section of two major railroads, the city was once the primary industrial center of the southern United States. At the height of the nation’s manufacturing age, the city grew so fast in population, it was called the “Magic City.” Today, Birmingham has transformed itself into a medical research, banking and service-based economy, making it one of the nation’s most livable cities with a vibrant downtown, a burgeoning loft community, a world-class culinary scene and more green space per capita than any other city in the nation.

Birmingham also boasts 99 historic neighborhoods and is often referred to as the cradle of the American civil rights movement. The climate is temperate, with an average annual temperature of 64 degrees. The city is centrally located in the southeast and easily accessible to major hubs in the region.

POSITION DESCRIPTION

GENERAL SUMMARY:

The Executive Director plans, implements and directs all administrative, programming, technical operations and fundraising activities of WBHM 90.3 FM, including budget, personnel and strategic planning. She/he will assure University compliance with FCC rules/regulations and Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Public Radio, etc. requirements and represent the station and the University with a variety of internal and external constituencies.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Develops and oversees goals/objectives for WBHM based on industry best practices and fulfilling WBHM’s public service mission. Analyzes both short and long-term plans for effectiveness. Stays current on industry issues and participates in/represents the University in regional and national public media and civic organizations. Provides vision, leadership, and support for station's management team.
  • Plans, manages and coordinates all WBHM operational activities including audience engagement and growth, budget development and financial oversight, internal and external audits, entering financial approvals in IRIS, and defining staff qualifications and performance expectations. Assures compliance with FCC rules and regulations and other legal/contract requirements, including CPB/NPR/PRX, APM and other industry partners and content providers. Serves as member of various committees/boards as needed.
  • Serves as the station's major gifts and planned giving officer, represents WBHM and the University throughout the community, responsible for successful integration of WBHM within the University and community at large, and researches and pursues a variety of revenue streams.
  • Writes and administers grants.
  • Develops and nourishes WBHM’s community outreach efforts. Serves as the chief spokesperson for WBHM and as a public speaker at numerous civic organizations.
  • Leads and cultivates collaborations between WBHM and national, regional and local partners to advance WBHM’s mission and raise the station’s profile in Alabama and nationally.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:

This position requires a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting, Journalism or related field, and seven years experience in broadcast management (programming, development, operations or engineering), preferably in public broadcasting. Work experience may NOT substitute for education requirement.

CRITICAL SKILLS AND ATTRIBUTES

Together the staff, Friends of WBHM and UAB Administration provided insights to develop a profile of the ideal leader for WBHM. We will engage with and select from candidates with the following skills and characteristics:

Leadership:

We seek an externally focused, experienced and mission-driven individual, who will help maintain the positive, aligned culture within WBHM, keep the organization effective in serving the people of our region and keep the station financially sound in this turbulent economic time, who also:

  • Is an effective decision-maker and change agent who puts the mission and success of WBHM first;
  • Is a fair, powerful and mission-driven team leader and builder;
  • Provides direction and accountability, clearly communicating strategy, goals and expectations;
  • Has great people skills and is effective with a wide range of stakeholders – from individual members to regional legislative, business and community leaders;
  • Is a lifelong learner who effectively adapts to change;

Communication:

Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills with an open, engaging style:

  • Comfort with and command of a range of communication channels, including speaking, writing and social media;
  • Clear communicator and skillful listener who connects with people;
  • Inspiring and respectful;
  • Effective spokesperson for the organization.

Fundraising:

Excited about generating financial resources for WBHM. Effective fundraiser with demonstrated track record, knowledgeable of and expert at the Executive Director role in fundraising and resource development who is:

  • Comfortable with asking for money for WBHM;
  • Strong in relationship management (both individual and institutional);
  • Has a comprehensive understanding of fundraising strategies and methods in public media (membership, underwriting, and major and planned giving) and beyond;
  • Able to develop WBHM organizational (Staff and Board) fundraising capacity and effective at moving us beyond a reliance on transactional membership-based revenues.

Diversity/ Equity/ Inclusion: 

Clear commitment to and proven record of growing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace and in the audiences and communities WBHM serves, as well as:

  • Having high level expertise in best practices (e.g., implicit bias and microaggressions, inclusive workplace and promotion of civility).
  • Having cultural awareness and empathy – respect for values, treating people as individuals and appreciating different perspectives and other cultures;
  • Having expertise in diversity-focused hiring and retention practices, from position announcements to recruiting and interviewing;
  • Having the ability to foster a journalistic framework to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion in the news and cultural output of the station as well as in topics explored, voices presented and the perspectives considered.

Integrity: 

Our most important asset is the trust our listeners and the community have in our programming and in WBHM as an institution. The WBHM Executive Director will:

  • Have clear, high standards for him or herself and others;
  • Be both trustworthy and know when and how to be trusting;
  • Be an honest, sincere, courageous, ethical person of substance;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to transparency;
  • Foster a culture of journalistic integrity, including truthfulness, accuracy, fairness, transparency, and public accountability.
  • Demonstrate a record of being able to identify, confront, analyze and resolve ethical challenges or conflicts of interest.

Strategic Focus:

Powerful understanding of and use of strategy in organizational life:

  • Knowledgeable of or able to quickly learn dynamics affecting current and future environment of WBHM, including the impact of these dynamics on operations;
  • Highly developed skill at prioritizing and making data-driven decisions;
  • Networks with other organizations to increase WBHM effectiveness;
  • Able to continuously develop, execute and evaluate strategic plans.

Industry Knowledge (radio, Internet, etc.):

Knowledge of and experience with media, trends in technology and consumption of media, including:

  • A high level of understanding of dynamics, issues and trends in public radio (including the need to develop WBHM into an essential local institution), and ability to lead WBHM in this area;
  • Able to manage a complex physical plant (studios and transmitter sites), including managing the strategic and financial challenge of maintaining its effectiveness;
  • If coming from outside public radio, deep commitment to and knowledge of public radio (listener, supporter); and
  • Is technologically competent, comfortable with/aware of digital and social media, able to keep us abreast of and current with all different platforms.

Problem Solving and Decision-Making:

Expert decision-maker, who is:

  • Able to assess and prioritize, as well as understand who to include in the problem-solving process;
  • Able to make data-driven decisions in a timely manner;
  • Effective with follow-through, executing and reaching success measures and deadlines.
  • Knows when to stick by decisions and when a change of direction is needed.

People/Team Management:

An experienced, organized, results-oriented manager with strong internal relationship skills and experience managing a team in an institutional setting including:

  • Committed and effective leader, including supervising, developing and mentoring staff;
  • Maintain and grow the alignment, effectiveness and enthusiasm of the group;
  • Able to maintain an effective relationship with UAB, including embracing and growing collaboration with the university community;
  • Attention to detail;
  • Commitment to prioritizing diversity in the staff and board;
  • Able to work collaboratively with the WBHM Friends Board to grow the effectiveness and engagement of the Board.

Innovation:

Through a combination of knowledge and insights about public media and WBHM and the context it operates in, is able to generate significant organizational and service improvements and:

  • Is an outside-the-box thinker who makes connections quickly and is able to act on creativity;
  • Is open-minded and a good learner who is not risk-averse;
  • Has a focus on innovative models and conquering challenges; and
  • Has a desire, persistence and resourcefulness to solve problems and make things happen.

TO APPLY

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is being assisted in this search by Livingston Associates. 

As part of your application process, you are asked to also submit a resume, letter of introduction including your vision for the future of public media and how you will be the ideal person to lead WBHM in achieving that vision, as well as contact information for a minimum of three professional references. These documents should be uploaded when you apply.

Date for full consideration: March 7, 2021


Inquiries are welcome with Livingston Associates at (410) 243-1974.

UAB is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and family-friendly environment in which all faculty and staff can excel and achieve work/life balance irrespective of race, national origin, age, genetic or family medical history, gender, faith, gender identity and expression as well as sexual orientation. UAB encourages applications from individuals with disabilities and veterans.

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