New Facility's Street-Level Performance Center to be Named After Philanthropist Jerome L. Greene Donation of $6 Million Represents Largest Gift Ever to a Public Radio Station
(April 11, 2007, New York, NY) – Laura Walker, CEO and President of WNYC, New York Public Radio® and Nicki Tanner, Chair of the WNYC Board of Trustees, today announced the launch of the Campaign for New York Public Radio at the site of what will be the station's new headquarters at 160 Varick Street, in the culturally vibrant, up-and-coming Hudson Square neighborhood in Lower Manhattan.
The Campaign's goal is to raise $57.5 million: $45 million to finance the station's move to its new home in Fall 2007 and $12.5 million for a new programming fund.
WNYC has received $10.1 million in city funding, through a partnership between the Mayor's office, the City Council, and Manhattan Borough President's Office. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) provided a grant of $1.5 million. WNYC has also raised $30,803,000 from foundations, major donors and board members. A $6 million gift from the Jerome L. Greene Foundation represents the largest gift ever made to a public radio station. Other leadership gifts came from the Kaplen Foundation, which donated $5 million, and the Ford Foundation, which made a grant of $4 million.
Ms. Walker and Ms. Tanner also announced that the station's new 2,300 square foot street-level broadcast and performance space – the first-ever of its kind in downtown Manhattan—will be named the Jerome L. Greene Performance Center, after the late real estate lawyer and philanthropist. Dawn Greene, Mr. Greene's widow and the President and CEO of the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, was in attendance.
The Campaign for New York Public Radio will enable the station to make significant enhancements in its news and cultural programming. The station will double its award-winning newsroom within the next three years; deepen its coverage of New York City, with an emphasis on developing specific beats and increasing coverage of all of the city's diverse communities; fully digitize its new studios and produce multi-platform programming; and launch three new innovative programs – one local, two national—within the next several years. A national morning-drive-time news program—co-production with Public Radio International, in collaboration with The New York Times, BBC, and WGBH Boston—was announced in March.
The Jerome L. Greene Performance Center will be designed to accommodate an array of live events, from radio broadcasts to political and literary discussions to specially commissioned musical performances. The studio will have the capacity to seat 120 people, evoking the intimacy of radio broadcasting, even as WNYC reaches out to and expands its 1.1 million weekly listenership through multi-media platforms including webcasts, live audio and video streams, and live satellite feed.
“We are excited to be moving into a larger, state-of-the-art facility that will enable us to continue to grow our staff and programming. But our move out of the Municipal Building into a home and community where we can set down roots is about much more than bricks and mortar,” said Ms. Walker. “It's a symbol of all we’ve become in our 10 years of independence – a showcase for the city's inimitable arts-and-culture scene, a place where meaningful conversations about the life and politics of our city and our world take place, and a beacon of independent journalism in an age of media consolidation. It's also a symbol of what we aspire to become: an anchor for the growing Lower Manhattan arts community and a cultural destination in the city, just as we’ve been a destination on the radio dial for all these years. All of this is due to the generosity of elected officials, foundations, and individuals like Ms. Greene, who believe in the mission and aspirations of WNYC.”
“This historic move marks a transformative moment in the long life of WNYC,” said Ms. Tanner. “WNYC has evolved from a city radio station into a major cultural institution – and the level of support the Campaign has attracted is a testimony to the confidence in, and need for, our vision of what a public radio station can be and how it can serve our listeners. The Jerome L. Greene Performance Center presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to transform the 'public' in public radio: to be able, for the first time, to invite New Yorkers in – to participate in important conversations, experience art and music directly, and see what was formerly invisible - great radio as it is created. As we move forward with this vision, we will continue to look to the philanthropic community to help us make this kind of civic experience possible.”
“The Jerome L. Greene Foundation is proud to support WNYC as it takes this exciting step towards its future,” said Ms. Greene. “We believe in providing resources to organizations that make meaningful contributions to the cultural and educational life of this city. The Jerome L. Greene Performance Center, with its goal of connecting New Yorkers to big ideas, great art, and each other, expresses our mission and matches our values. We look forward to experiencing with other New Yorkers the exciting programming emanating from the center for years to come.”
“WNYC is far more than just a local radio station; it is an extraordinary cultural institution,” said NYC Cultural Commissioner Kate D. Levin. “As a home for musicians, writers, poets, artists, curators, historians, dancers, singers and more, the station is an essential part of – and voice for – New York City's dynamic, diverse, and unrivaled cultural community. The spectacular new headquarters will allow WNYC to dramatically expand its role as a center for the City's cultural life.”
Ms. Walker also announced the addition of Maxie Jackson to the programming staff of WNYC. Mr. Jackson will take on the newly-created role of Senior Director for Program Development, overseeing a range of development activities including the launch of a new daily talk program at WNYC. He was most recently Program Director at WETA, the public radio station in Washington, DC, and prior to that, he served as Assistant Director of Programming at Radio One in Maryland, and Acting General Manager and Program Director at WEAA in Baltimore.
Other voices from the theater and public radio world rounded out the event. Stage and screen star Kristin Chenoweth hosted the event, and Eric Bogosian, whose one-man show Talk Radio is currently on Broadway with Liev Schreiber, shared some thoughts on WNYC. Esteemed WNYC public affairs host Brian Lehrer conveyed his excitement about the move and introduced his peers -- Leonard Lopate, Jonathan Schwartz, Brooke Gladstone, John Schaefer, Amy Eddings, David Garland, Sara Fishko and Oscar Brand – while Radio Lab host Jad Abumrad discussed the how the new home will nurture creativity. Ira Glass, acclaimed host of the PRI radio show This American Life, and star of the Showtime series by the same name, and Michel Martin, host of Tell Me More, a new daily talk show from NPR, discussed the important role WNYC plays in the public radio system at large. Ms. Martin's show will be added to the WNYC broadcast schedule later this year.
WNYC also announced that it is “going green,” designing its new home according to standards in the areas of energy conservation, materials selection and indoor environmental qualities that maximize environmental performance. It has registered its Relocation Project with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and expects to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED ®) Silver Rating.
The Jerome L. Greene Performance Center is made possible in part by grants from the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is funded through Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
WNYC, New York Public Radio, is New York's premier public radio station, comprising WNYC 93.9 FM and WNYC AM 820. As America's most listened-to public radio stations, reaching over one million listeners each week, WNYC FM and AM extend New York City's cultural riches to the whole country and air the best national offerings from affiliate networks National Public Radio, Public Radio International and American Public Media. WNYC 93.9 FM broadcasts a broad range of daily news, talk, cultural and classical music programming, while WNYC AM 820 maintains a stronger focus on breaking news and international news reporting.