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Torey Malatia – General Manager, Rhode Island Public Radio

Watch Him Build a Media Empire

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Chicago Public Media is a public radio powerhouse: It broadcasts on three signals across a wide swath of Illinois, offers robust web and podcast programming, and produces two of NPR’s most popular syndicated shows, This American Life and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. But when Torey Malatia joined that team in 1993, it was just WBEZ, a small, upstart NPR-affiliate. Now the man who helped build that empire (and co-created both nationally syndicated shows) is at the helm of Rhode Island Public Radio where he inherits a station that already broadcasts on three signals across the state. He sees the web as the most obvious place to build, but not in a “We ought to get on this ‘Twitter’ thing” kind of way. He envisions Rhode Island Public Radio as a news organization that places digital on equal footing with broadcast so that the two inform each other, as well as the audience, and better serve listeners who have an unprecedented amount of choice about how they get their news, when and from whom. “There’s a way to use broadcast that supports people’s use of on-demand media,” he explains. “I think on-demand media are now the primary way in which people get the information they need. Broadcast tends to sum all of that up into a daily experience that is enriched substantially by all of this activity online.”

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