Laura Ruth Walker

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Laura R. Walker, President and CEO of New York Public Radio

Laura Ruth Walker (born November 19, 1957) is President and CEO of New York Public Radio, a nonprofit media organization that operates WNYC, WNYC Studios, classical WQXR-FM, Gothamist, New Jersey Public Radio, and The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space.[1] The organization produces programs for local and national audiences, including The Brian Lehrer Show, Radiolab, More Perfect, On The Media, Nancy, The New Yorker Radio Hour, Trump, Inc., Death, Sex & Money, Snap Judgment, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, All Of It, The Takeaway, Caught, The United States of Anxiety, Aria Code, Carnegie Hall Live, and 2 Dope Queens, reaching an average audience of 23.4 million people each month.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

A native New Yorker, Walker grew up in Westchester County.[4] She graduated with a BA in History, magna cum laude, from Wesleyan University and earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management in 1987.[5][6]


Walker began her professional career as a journalist and producer at National Public Radio, where she received a Peabody Award for Broadcast Excellence. In 1983 she joined the staff of Carnegie Hall, where she launched AT&T Presents Carnegie Hall Tonight. She joined the Sesame Workshop (formerly Children’s Television Workshop) in 1987, where for eight years she worked on programming and development initiatives, and led the organization’s efforts to establish a cable television channel (now Noggin).[5][7]

She joined WNYC in 1996 to oversee its transformation from a city-owned agency into an independent non-profit. Her first assignment was to raise the $20 million necessary to purchase WNYC’s licenses from the City of New York.[8][9] Walker oversaw New York Public Radio’s subsequent $62.9 million capital campaign to finance its new headquarters on Varick Street in New York and to fund programming initiatives.[9] The new headquarters includes The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, a street-level, multiplatform broadcast studio and performance venue.[10] In 2009, WNYC acquired the classical music station WQXR from The New York Times Company.[11]

In September 2009, Walker was named one of New York City’s Most Powerful Women by Crain’s New York Business. [12] In October 2008, The Executive Council honored her with a NY Ten Award in the category of Best Media Executive.[13] In July 2008, Walker was recognized with an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.[14] In March 2012, the New York Choral Society honored Walker with the Distinguished Service to Music Award.[15] Walker sits on the boards of the Women’s Forum, Inc.[16] and the Yale Center for Customer Insights,[17] and she is the Chair of the Hudson Square Business Improvement District [18] and the Station Resource Group.[19]

In 2017 Walker was singled out in a series of articles that brought to light the sexual harassment allegations against WNYC.[20] According to several former employees of the station, Walker was repeatedly alerted about inappropriate behaviors from on-air talent John Hockenberry, and Walker repeatedly ignore the allegations.[21] Walker refused to resign despite public pressure.[22] On December 19, 2018, Laura Walker and the New York Public Radio Board of Trustees announced she was stepping down and would remain CEO through March 31, 2019.[23] On March 20th, 2019, it was announced that Walker will be joining the Yale School of Management as an executive-in-residence.[24]


  1. ^ New York Public Radio, Laura Walker, Executive Biography
  2. ^ | New York Public Radio, Laura Walker, Executive Biography
  3. ^ | New York Public Radio Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Report
  4. ^ Janssen, Mike. Shocked Into Realizing Potential Current (April 26, 2004)
  5. ^ a b New York Public Radio, Laura Walker, Executive Biography
  6. ^ l Laura Walker, Yale School of Management, MBA Profile
  7. ^ Laura Walker, Yale School of Management, MBA Profile
  8. ^ Collins, Glen. [ | WNYC’s Planned Move Will Finish Its Breakup With the City] The New York Times(July 17, 2006)
  9. ^ a b 5 Questions For Laura Walker Philanthropy News Digest (April 28, 2009)
  10. ^ Jensen, Elizabeth. Reimaging Radio As A Spector Sport The New York Times (April 23, 2009)
  11. ^ Pérez Peña, Richard and Wakin, Daniel J. Times Co. Agrees to Sell WQXR Radio The New York Times (July 14, 2009)
  12. ^ l Most Powerful Women in New York 2009 Crain’s New York Business (September 16, 2009)
  13. ^ [1] Executive Council Press Release (October 30, 2008)
  14. ^ WNYC President Laura Walker Named 2008 Edward R. Murrow Award Recipient CPB Press Release (July 1, 2008)
  15. ^ [2] Broadway World (February 27, 2012)
  16. ^ Women’s Forum Member List
  17. ^ Yale School of Management, Center for Customer Insights Advisory Board
  18. ^ Hudson Square BID Annual Report Fiscal Year 2011
  19. ^ Station Resource Group Board Listing
  20. ^ Kim, Suki. "Public-Radio Icon John Hockenberry Accused of Harassing Female Colleagues". The Cut. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  21. ^ "WNYC Chief Pushed Growth at the Cost of Station's Culture". Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  22. ^ Savitsky, Sasha (2017-12-05). "Calls for public radio president Laura Walker to resign after 'cowardly' response to sex harassment claims". Fox News. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  23. ^ “23 Years of Transformative Leadership: A Note From Laura Walker” “In Public: Essays from Laura Walker, President of New York Public Radio” (December 19, 2018)
  24. ^ "Media Pioneer Laura Walker '87 Appointed Executive-in-Residence". Yale School of Management. 2019-03-20. Retrieved 2019-03-21.

External links[edit]