Southern California Public Radio, which operates KPCC 89.3 FM in Pasadena, said it has hired veteran television executive Herb Scannell as its president and chief executive.
Scannell, a New York native, led Viacom Inc.’s Nickelodeon children’s network for a decade and then BBC Worldwide North America. Until last summer, he ran the Los Angeles-based digital media company, Mitú, which targets young Latinos. He will join KPCC in February, replacing station stalwart, Bill Davis, the founding president who announced his retirement last summer.
“Herb has the perfect mix of media experience and commitment to public service journalism,” SCPR board Chairwoman Ana Valdez said in a statement. “And through his Puerto Rican heritage, he brings a very deep and personal understanding of the power of diversity and the importance of authentically representing the audience we serve.”
While attending Boston College, Scannell, 62, was the manager of campus station WZBC. Since 2000, he has served on the board of New York Public Radio. He helped New York’s public radio station expand the production of podcasts, including “2 Dope Queens” and “Freakonomics Radio.”
“I began my career in radio, and I couldn’t think of a better time, place or city to return to this medium I love,” Scannell said in a statement.
Davis, 60, is a familiar voice to KPCC listeners during pledge drives. He shepherded SCPR, which also operates KUOR-FM in the Inland Empire, KVLA-FM in Coachella Valley and the LAist website, through a period of enormous growth. Since 2000, SCPR’s broadcast audience has quadrupled to reach a weekly average of 800,000 people. Memberships have hit a record of 73,000, while revenues for 2019 are projected to hit a record $32.5 million.
Davis will become president emeritus, staying through a transition that could extend until Dec. 30.
“I’ve had a fantastic run,” Davis said in an interview. “We have a good team in place at SCPR and, over the years, we’ve shown that Angelenos really do care about local coverage, civil engagement and public service journalism.”
Once the transition is complete, Davis said he will put down the mic: “My plan is to do a lot more surfing and long hikes in the Dolomites and elsewhere.”