I worked at WBEZ as an intern (Less than a year)
Great mentors, work culture, relaxed environment, unlimited opportunities
Tourists make location on Navy Pier a little trying, management can be a little disorganized, most interns aren't paid
Incredibly talented and committed staff.
Opportunity to do work that is fun, satisfying, and (I think) important.
No shortage of equipment, studios or tech to get most jobs done.
Upper management doesn't communicate especially well
Used to have: intelligent, creative, collaborative, forward-looking, independent, diverse programming opportunities and generally a competent, diverse, and friendly team of colleagues to work with. Many public radio workers are people who are passionate about their jobs and the enthusiasm, creativity and intellectual prowess is unparalleled in other media.
There is a serious lack of realistic vision, narcissistic management has implemented "rule by fear" intimidation tactics, and there is an egregious lack of respect/care by management and board of directors regarding their mission as a public broadcaster. The revolving door problem is unlike any other public radio station in the country, with valuable talent constantly leaving over the past 10-15 years. This, along with severely poor financial decisions has greatly affected the current quality of the organization. Diversity in ages, race and economic backgrounds has become practically non-existent with the present staff largely comprised of recent grads/under 30, white "hipsters" from well-off backgrounds. Management's vision and operation of this public broadcasting organization is greatly out of touch with community needs and it is on the same downward spiral as commercial media outlets, which is an uncomfortable situation for the majority of staff and declining number of listeners. Unfortunately the passion mentioned in the "pros" section has been extinguished by management to far too many talented people who have come and gone through WBEZ's doors.
Advice to Management
Take a step back and take an honest look at what you have done over the last 15 years. The board of directors need to look beyond their own self-interests/prestige of being associated with one another and pull their heads out of the sand in order to really make the organization viable again.
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