WFAE President and General Manager Roger Sarow, who has led the station for 26 years, plans to retire in early 2015.
Sarow joined the station in 1988, when WFAE was still a part of UNC Charlotte and played primarily smooth jazz. He oversaw the station as it broke away from the university and switched to a news/talk format.
In recent years, Sarow has pushed the station to add more reporters and look at other ways of reaching listeners. He says that means he’ll be leaving the station in a good position.
“This is a career where your life is measured in minutes and seconds. And you finally get to the point where you say I would like to set my own schedule and try different things and not really be dominated by a strict workday like you have been, in my case for 39 years,” he said.
Sarow plans to stay in the Charlotte area and possibly do some teaching and consulting. He’s also completing his sixth year on NPR’s board.
“All good assignments must eventually come to an end. WFAE provided me with the creative opportunity of a lifetime,” said Sarow. “My entire career desire has been to work in public broadcasting. I’ve been fortunate to spend every working day in that field.”
WFAE’s governing board of directors, University Radio Foundation, Inc., has formed a committee to undertake a national search and implement an orderly managerial transition.
“Roger Sarow will leave behind big shoes to fill. His leadership and industry expertise were perhaps best displayed over the past few years,” said Board Chair Nash Long. “During a period of economic uncertainty, in the midst of seismic changes in the media industry, Roger and his management team had to walk a tightrope: balancing our need to manage expenses prudently with the demands of a bold strategic plan.”
“As a result, WFAE is now providing more of the regional news and content that you cannot get anywhere else. The station is engaging new audiences through technology and social media, and it’s encouraging the development of civil society through community forums and meetings,” Long added. “WFAE is a stronger more vital force in this community than ever before, and no one deserves the credit for that more than Roger. We will miss him, and wish him the best.”
As part of the search process, the WFAE Board will assess the qualifications desired in the next WFAE president and ask for input from staff, donors and the community about how WFAE and its new president can best serve the region. Candidates will be interviewed in the fall with a proposed transition in the first calendar quarter of 2015.