President and CEO of National Public Radio Jarl Mohn is on a coast-to-coast road tour of member stations. He stopped in Atlanta recently and spoke with WABE’s "Morning Edition" host Denis O’Hayer on the business model of public radio, digital media and the future of the network.
“I think if you attempt to make everybody happy, you probably fail,” Mohn said. “I think what we have to do is not overly complicate things. We have to think about what sounds good, what sounds right, what fits with our brand and what sounds like the future.”
Mohn said the network isn’t trying to find exact replicas of shows that have new hosts or hosts who are retiring like "A Prairie Home Companion" and "The Diane Rehm Show," but is experimenting with different sounds that fit the brand. He said it will require giving shows longer than the six-month test runs most traditional media outlets allow.
“It is a hell of a challenge. It’s very difficult to do,” Mohn said. “Because every one of those shows, which are big monster hits, took years to develop. They were not overnight hits. None of them were. They took time to develop. So there are a lot of ideas out there and if we discover that idea tomorrow or this afternoon, it’s probably going to take years before we can really see the success.”
Mohn started his career as a DJ in 1967 before joining MTV as an executive in 1986. He later created E! Entertainment Television, spent time at VH1, CNET and served on the board of XM Radio.