SVP, Music

Music New York City, New York


New York Public Radio is a global leader in audio content creation and one of the largest public radio station groups in the nation. The organization produces award-winning enterprise journalism, nurtures today’s most creative talent, and creates innovative programming and products that bring the best of public radio to listeners everywhere. Today, New York Public Radio’s shows and programs reach an audience of 24 million. The organization has grown dramatically in the scope of its operations, programming, and offerings – serving audiences in New York and beyond through radio, digital, and live- event programming.

What began as a city-owned radio station is now an independent non-profit media organization known for its innovation in audio content creation, public service local journalism, and commitment to classical music. New York Public Radio’s content portfolio includes some of the most popular programming in public radio and in the digital space. Leading WNYC podcasts include: Radiolab, Trump Inc, Here’s The Thing, Death Sex & Money, Nancy, The New Yorker Radio Hour, United States of Anxiety, and Dolly Parton’s America.  Local and national programs include the Peabody Award-winning The Brian Lehrer Show, All of It with Allison Stewart, The Takeaway, and On the Media produced by WNYC; and Carnegie Hall Live produced by WQXR. In 2016, the WQXR Q2 Music podcast Meet the Composer won a George Foster Peabody Award. Since 2000, NYPR has won ten George Foster Peabody Awards and three Alfred I. duPont- Columbia University Awards, as well as awards from the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists, the Garden State Journalists Association, the Online News Association Award, Third Coast International Audio Festival, and National Association of Black Journalists.

With a budget of over $90 million, New York Public Radio’s portfolio includes WNYC; the classical music station WQXR; New Jersey Public Radio, a group of four stations; WNYC Studios, a podcast division; the Greene Space, which hosts live events and performances; and the New York news site Gothamist.


WQXR is New York City’s only all-classical radio station, a national leader in classical public radio, and a vital partner in New York City’s arts and cultural ecosystem. Through broadcasts, live events, podcasts, digital content, and community engagement, WQXR plays a unique and essential role to support and elevate performing arts organizations and artists at all stages of their careers, and foster broad participation in New York City’s rich cultural life. WQXR reaches a monthly broadcast audience of 1.1 million across the New York metropolitan area and beyond, as well as a growing digital audience of approximately 800,000 nationwide via the WQXR website, mobile app, newsletter and social media.

WQXR is the nation's most listened-to classical music station, making extraordinary music accessible to listeners worldwide. Its history stretches back to 1929 when the nation’s first commercial classical radio station was created as W2XR. After its call letters were changed to WQXR in 1936, the station was sold to the New York Times Company in 1944 and then to New York Public Radio in 2009. As part of New York Public Radio, WQXR continues to make the joy of classical music accessible and available to current and future classical music audiences.

WQXR takes a deliberate approach to the "best of the best" of the classical core, with a particular focus on live music from New York’s unparalleled cultural scene. Music is hosted by Jeff Spurgeon in the morning, Annie Bergen from 10 am to 3 pm, Elliott Forrest from 3 pm to 7 pm, Terrance McKnight from 7 pm to 11 pm, and Lauren Rico and Nimet Habachy from 12 am to 5:30 am. Paul Cavalconte hosts during the weekend "brunch" hour, and Clayelle Dalferes in the afternoons.

On WQXR, listeners hear some of the most iconic classical music programs on the radio today, such as the Metropolitan Opera Radio Saturday Matinee Broadcasts and Carnegie Hall Live. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers mark their days with the station's daily features, including Your Morning Bach, Midday Mozart, New at Two and the Score at Four. The WQXR team produces a range of programs – some ongoing, some specials – that explore the many dimensions of classical music, including celebrating emerging young artists, the piano repertoire, early music, and underrepresented artists in the field.

By expanding its reach on digital platforms, WQXR has become one of the most vital and trusted sources of classical music curation and community for audiences across the United States and the world. The majority of WQXR’s digital streaming audience and monthly website visitors are outside New York, accessing WQXR from across the U.S. and many other countries. WQXR’s podcasts are another important way that WQXR reaches broad and diverse audiences, and hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world follow WQXR on social media.

WQXR recognizes that helping children and their families to engage with classical music is vitally important not only to fulfill the organization’s mission of service to our local communities, but to ensure that classical music remains relevant and inspiring for future generations. With the support of significant partners and funders, WQXR has helped to meaningfully increase access to music education in New York City and share best practices. For example, WQXR recently piloted an interactive in-school music program serving 350 students in 6 elementary schools that had received instruments through the Instrument Drive. In 2020, WQXR launched an in-school listening challenge to introduce elementary school students to the joys of classical music. WQXR also recently piloted its first Classical Kids Fair in partnership with the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and The Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Crown Heights and continues to expand it to other boroughs. WQXR is committed to breaking down barriers and increasing music access for children and families in New York City, and continuing to share key learnings with partners and peers across the country.

Looking Forward

In August 2019, New York Public Radio appointed Goli Sheikholeslami as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Previously, Sheikholeslami served as CEO of Chicago Public Media, where she led dramatic growth in listenership and revenue. Under her leadership, the group increased its focus on local news coverage by nearly doubling its newsroom, while launching new digital properties and podcasts reaching audiences around the world. Sheikholeslami has held senior leadership roles across public and private media over her extensive 25-year career, helping both legacy institutions and new players grow and thrive.

Now that Sheikholeslami is at the helm at New York Public Radio, she is partnering with the board and staff of New York Public Radio to develop a vision for the future of the organization. To that end, she is building out her senior team, and the head of WQXR will be a critical member of the team.

The next Senior Vice President, Music will lead the growth of the WQXR’s reach, relevance, and revenue while delivering on its mission and impact. As the voice for classical music on the New York Public Radio leadership team, the Senior Vice President of Music will oversee all aspects of WQXR’s operations and ensure the expansion of the service to new audiences, and its financial sustainability, in the midst of a dynamic and changing media landscape.

Reporting to the President and CEO, the Senior Vice President of Music will develop and oversee the vision and direction for WQXR’s programming, digital innovation, multiplatform audience services, community engagement, strategic partnerships and overall impact. Through a collaborative leadership style and leading through influence, the Senior Vice President, Music will build increased synergy between WQXR and the other platforms of New York Public Radio. They will affirm and grow WQXR’s place in the classical music and public media landscape to keep WQXR relevant, resilient, and far-reaching. With New York City being the cultural, music, and arts capital of the world, the SVP of Music will ensure that WQXR serves New Yorkers and deepens its relationships with New York’s cultural communities.

The Senior Vice President of Music will closely oversee the day-to-day operations of WQXR, and will be responsible for inspiring the team to pursue excellence and impact. The Senior Vice President, Music will inspire and lead a passionate team and create a culture of inclusion, creativity, alignment, and accountability. They will oversee and act as an effective steward of an operating budget and financial structure reliant upon both public and private support.

As WQXR’s lead fundraiser, the Senior Vice President of Music will partner with the Senior Vice President of Development as well as the President and CEO to engage the support, enthusiasm, and trust of existing and new supporters. This includes securing continued support from individual donors, foundations, public entities, corporate donors, and other major funders while also proactively identifying and assessing new sources of revenue for long-term sustainability.

Candidate Profile

New York Public Radio seeks an inspirational, accomplished, and entrepreneurial, a leader with a clear passion for classical music. The candidate must exhibit significant knowledge of and active engagement with classical music, which could manifest itself through a personal or professional passion.

The candidate will have a proven track record of leading significant teams and operations in the nonprofit or private sector and will have a track record of success cultivating relationships with, and building bridges among, diverse constituencies. Leadership experience in the media industry is desirable, although not required. Most importantly, the candidate will be sincerely vested in New York Public Radio’s mission and committed to the organization’s principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.

In terms of the performance and personal competencies required for the position, we would highlight the following:

Strategic and Creative Vision

  • Ability to build on progress to date and articulate an inspiring vision and plan for the future of Music/WQXR, while also integrating seamlessly into New York Public Radio’s overall future strategy.
  • An entrepreneurial and creative approach to developing new, innovative ideas that will stretch the organization and push the boundaries within the industry.
  • Effectively balances the need for broad change with an understanding of how much change the organization can handle, to create realistic, achievable and successful goals.
  • The inclination to seek and analyze data from a variety of sources to support decisions and to align others with the organization's overall strategy.
Executing For Results
  • Sets clear and challenging goals while committing the organization to improved performance; tenacious and accountable in driving and delivering results.
  • Comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty; the ability to adapt nimbly and lead others through complex situations; Able to shepherd ideas and lead a team from concept to execution.
  • A risk-taker who seeks data and input from others to foresee possible threats or unintended circumstances from decisions; someone who takes smart risks.
  • A body of business and financial acumen developed in both functional and general management roles with oversight of significant operational budgets and complex, fast-moving organizations.
Leading Teams
  • Attracts and recruits top talent, motivates the team and manages performance; widely viewed as a mentor, inspirational leader, and strong developer of others.
  • Self-reflective and aware of his/her own strengths and limitations; leads by example and drives the organization's performance by being open to continuous feedback and improvement.
  • Has a high degree of integrity and forethought in his/her approach to making decisions; acts in a transparent and consistent manner while always considering what is best for the organization.
  • Leads with an authentic style that brings people together and acknowledges the value of humor.
Building Relationships  and Influence
  • Naturally connects and builds strong relationships with others, demonstrating strong emotional intelligence and an ability to communicate clearly and persuasively.
  • Inspires trust and teamwork in others through compelling influence, powerful charisma, passion in his/her beliefs, and active drive.
  • Exceptional at communicating with and connecting to a wide variety of people, both in intimate and large group settings.
  • Effectively builds coalitions and can accomplish goals through networking, and broad influence.
  • Creates a sense of purpose/meaning for the team that generates followership beyond his/her own personality and engages others to the greater purpose for the organization as a whole.