NPR Board of Directors Elects WYPR’s LaFontaine E. Oliver as Board Chair

12/4/2020, 8:12 p.m.
Baltimore— WYPR President and General Manager LaFontaine E. Oliver has been elected by the NPR Board of Directors as its ...
LaFontaine E. Oliver Courtesy Photo/WYPR

Baltimore— WYPR President and General Manager LaFontaine E. Oliver has been elected by the NPR Board of Directors as its new Chair of the Board. Oliver has been president and general manager of WYPR since 2019 and a Member Director of the NPR Board since 2016.

“I am honored to accept this new role as Chair of the Board,” said Oliver. “It has been my privilege to advocate for public radio and for the millions of listeners who depend on it as a source for trusted news and intelligent discussion. I look forward to working with my board colleagues to advance the reach and impact of NPR and its Member stations, especially in the value they bring to local communities.”

NPR’s 23-member Board of Directors is comprised of 12 Member Directors who are managers of NPR Member stations and are elected to the Board by their fellow Member stations, nine Public Directors who are prominent members of the public selected by the Board and confirmed by NPR Member stations, the NPR Foundation Chair, and the NPR President & CEO.

The NPR Board of Directors is responsible for the governance of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. The Board sets the policies and overall direction for NPR management, monitors the performance of NPR and provides financial oversight.

LaFontaine E. Oliver was named president and general manager of WYPR in Baltimore in July of 2019, after six years at WMFE in Orlando, Florida. During his first year, Oliver helped launch a new health-reporting desk and the weekday podcast, The Daily Dose, as a vital source of the most relevant news to the community about the COVID-19 health pandemic and the state’s response. Although tumultuous, the year 2020 saw a historic high for WYPR audience ratings, demonstrating the appeal and importance of WYPR’s brand of public radio in Baltimore.

At WMFE, Oliver oversaw the expansion of its newsroom and local news coverage, adding beat reporters, expanding its public affairs program, and launching an award-winning health desk. Under Oliver’s leadership, major efforts included spearheading community engagement efforts to get the station better connected to diverse and underserved communities, birthing a Young Friends of 90.7 WMFE, an initiative to connect and engage with young and young-at-heart public radio listeners, and spearheading a marketing campaign designed to encourage active listening and civil discourse in the community with 90.7 WMFE acting as the conduit.

In his 20-year broadcast career, Oliver has been involved in several commercial, satellite and public media initiatives to grow service to diverse audiences. Oliver holds an MBA from the University of Baltimore and a BA in business administration from the University of Miami.

NPR is an independent, non-profit media outlet and a membership organization of 266 separately licensed and operated public radio stations across the United States, with annual revenue of $231 million in the fiscal year ended in 2019. NPR was established by an Act of Congress and will turn 50 in 2021.

The Board of Directors helps to set NPR’s mission and strategic goals. These are carried out by the President and CEO, who reports directly to the Board.