KCRW — Local public radio station KCRW 89.9 FM has hired one of its own to replace general manager Ruth Seymour, who is retiring this month after running the station for 32 years.

The Santa Monica College Board of Trustees Saturday is expected to announce they’ve hired Jennifer Ferro, the station’s assistant general manager, to fill the position.

Ferro started at KCRW as a volunteer arts reporter in 1991 and has been with the station ever since, joining the staff in 1994 and working in every one of the station’s departments. She became the assistant general manager in 1997 and also acts as the executive director of the radio programs “Good Food with Evan Kleiman” and “DnA: Design and Architecture with Frances Anderton.”

In a press release, SMC said Ferro has been instrumental in improving on-air fundraising tactics and developing the station’s online strategy, which includes its three live Internet radio channels, iPhone apps, blogs, original Web content features and social media outreach.

“We’ve never really thought of ourselves exclusively as a radio station,” Ferro said. “We’re more about the passion that drives us to create good content.”

The station employs about 50 people full time and has more than 100 regular volunteers, she said.

During the recession, KCRW has seen a “softening” in donations, she said, though not a severe drop in revenue. Half of the station’s funding comes from private contributions, 40 percent comes from underwriting by sponsors and 10 percent comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Ferro said.

Ferro said she doesn’t expect to make major changes to KCRW’s lineup of news, public affairs, music and cultural programming.

“We have a real great formula here and we’re just going to continue to make it better,” she said.

In her new role, though, she said one goal will be to increase the station’s support for independent producers.

“That kind of fire and [the] stories those people tell is what we all got into public radio in the first place [for],” she said.

Another task is to prepare the station for its transition in 2013 to a new facility planned for SMC’s Academy of Entertainment & Technology Campus.

Seymour, the outgoing manager, called Ferro “innovative, courageous and independent.”

“She’s an experienced programmer, producer and fundraiser. She will make a terrific manager and I look forward to a KCRW under her leadership,” she said.


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