President and CEO, New York Public Radio
Laura R. Walker is President and CEO of New York Public Radio, the largest public radio station group in the nation. An independent and innovative nonprofit dedicated to providing high quality journalism, music and digital products, New York Public Radio reaches an audience of 23.9 million monthly. The organization has been honored with ten George Foster Peabody Awards and three Alfred I. DuPont Columbia Awards since 2000.
New York Public Radio owns and operates eight public radio stations, including WNYC and WQXR, the most-listened-to public radio station and one of the most-listened-to classical stations in America, respectively. WNYC Studios is the premier producer of public radio's most popular on-demand and broadcast audio including Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, 2 Dope Queens, The Takeaway The New Yorker Radio Hour, On the Media, More Perfect, Note to Self, and Death, Sex & Money, among many others. These programs are heard on more than 500 stations nationwide, and through podcasts and other digital products. The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, New York Public Radio's state-of-the art broadcast and live event venue, produces more than 150 events each year.
Ms. Walker leads New York Public Radio during a period of dramatic growth and innovation. Under her leadership, New York Public Radio's has increased its audience from 1 million to 23.9 million, has raised more than $100 million in long term investment, and has been described by Neiman Lab's Ken Doctor as being on "innovation overdrive." She has established New York Public Radio as a place that produces award-winning enterprise journalism, nurtures today's most creative talent, and creates innovative products that bring the best of public radio to listeners everywhere.
A recognized leader, writer and speaker on media, culture and business, Ms. Walker was honored with an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the industry's highest honor. She was named one of New York City's Most Powerful Women by Crain's New York Business, was chosen for the Crain's New York Business special feature on "The 100 Most Influential Women in NYC Business," and was one of New York Moves magazine's "Power Women." She was named to City & State's Above & Beyond list honoring women of public and civic mind, and The Executive Council honored her with a NY Ten Award in the category of Best Media Executive. The New York Choral Society honored Ms. Walker with the Distinguished Service to Music Award. She is also the recipient of Public Radio International's Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a Distinguished Alumna Award from Wesleyan University.
Ms. Walker began her professional career as a print journalist and then a producer at National Public Radio, where she received a Peabody Award for Broadcast Excellence. In 1983, she joined the staff of Carnegie Hall, where she launched the award-winning series AT&T Presents Carnegie Hall Tonight. In 1987, she joined the Sesame Workshop (formerly Children's Television Workshop). Ms. Walker was the Vice President of Development at Sesame and led the cross-departmental team that established the cable television channel Noggin. During the course of her career, Ms. Walker also worked at the Boston Consulting Group and Eurasia Press, where she wrote the organization's first guide to China. In addition to the New York Public Radio Board of Trustees, Ms. Walker sits on the boards of The Tribune Media Company, Saint Ann's School, Yale Center for Customer Insights, the Eagle Picher Trust and the Station Resource Group. She is the former Chair of the Hudson Square BID and the Station Resource Group.
Ms. Walker holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a BA in History, magna cum laude, from Wesleyan University where she was an Olin Scholar.