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STLPR Announces New CEO, Who Aims To Change Station’s Culture

After a months-long nationwide search, St. Louis Public Radio has chosen Tina Pamintuan as its new CEO.
St. Louis Public Radio
Tina Pamintuan will become the CEO of St. Louis Public Radio.

After a monthslong search, St. Louis Public Radio will soon have a veteran public radio journalist and station leader as its new CEO.

Tina Pamintuan, who is currently the general manager at KALW public radio in San Francisco, will step into the St. Louis position, which has been vacant for nearly a year.

“When I think of a CEO role, I'm thinking about the ways in which the leader of the organization can partner with the staff and a collaborative way to remake a culture and to be the media outlet that St. Louis deserves and should be,” Pamintuan said.

Pamintuan has worked as an editor, writer and teacher and serves on NPR’s board. Part of a CEO’s role is to cultivate the culture of a workplace, she said.

“[It’s vital] that we sit down and reexamine and remake the norms of the organization, and agree upon norms so that they're explicit, so that people understand what the expectations of workplace behavior, and kind of workplace norms are,” she said.

Former general manager Tim Eby resigned last year amid accusations from newsroom staff that he ignored problems of systemic racism at the station and mismanaged finances. In the summer of 2020, staff members called out the station’s lack of people of color in leadership positions and difficulty retaining nonwhite journalists.

Pamintuan, who is Asian American, said she hopes to create more opportunities for staff members, particularly people of color.

“I’m definitely an example of someone who thought at one point, I don’t belong in this industry, and I could easily leave,” she said. “So I think being able to come in with that perspective, that you understand what that feels like, is powerful.”

Pamintuan wrote about her experiences with systemic racism at NPR in arecent post for Neiman Reportsoutlining how public radio could become more inclusive and diverse. People often assumed she was an intern, she wrote, and colleagues would suggest she should only cover stories about Asian people.

Tina Pamintuan joins St. Louis on the Air

Since her time at NPR, she has worked as a climate reporter overseas, founded the audio journalism program at the graduate journalism school at CUNY and become general manager at KALW, a job she's held for the past three years.

Tanisha Stevens, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, spent months vetting candidates with other members of the search committee. Pamintuan has a track record of connecting with donors, raising money and finding new radio listeners, Stevens said.

“I think it was a combination to have her broad experience in public radio, the successes that she's had in her career, that dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion, and really understanding the stories and voices of those who she works with,” Stevens said. “I think she's really innovative. I think she's really energetic. And I think a combination of all that makes her the right person for the position.”

Stevens also lauded the public radio veteran’s experience as a working reporter and editor. She said that will help make communication between administrators and the newsroom easier.

“It does provide a difference for those of us who don't work in the station, or who have never had experience working in journalism,” she said.

Stevens said finding the perfect candidate was more important than filling the position quickly. The committee spent months conducting the nationwide search for candidates.

Pamintuan is scheduled to start at STLPR before the end of the year.

St. Louis Public Radio’s license is held by the University of Missouri Board of Curators and is operated as part of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

 Follow Sarah on Twitter: @petit_smudge

Sarah Fentem is the health reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.