Senior Director of Branding & Audience Development
A Storied National Public Radio and Media Presence
- Leading public radio station for NPR news and information in the greater Washington, DC area with a devoted following in DC, Maryland, and Virginia
- 60+ years as a trusted public news source in one of the world’s media capitals
- Consistently ranks among country’s top stations in audience share and size
- Award-winning programming ranging from national talk shows to local news and podcasts
- Close, unique working relationship with NPR and American University (AU)
- Owns DCist and seeking to expand its digital presence
- 100+ employees, annual revenue of $30+ million
A Station with a History of Impact
WAMU first signed on the air in October 1961 and became a charter member of NPR in 1971, airing its first national news program All Things Considered, along with a local show called Spirits Known and Unknown. Over the next few decades WAMU expanded its focus as a source for news, producing its own shows such as The Derek McGinty Show, The Diane Rehm Show, and Metro Connection, and airing major national news programs such as Morning Edition.
More recently, WAMU has emphasized accountability journalism: stories that help people understand the issues that shape Washington. This is the strong history on which WAMU is building — and on which it must build: a history founded on a civic duty to provide accurate, fair, honest, and thorough reporting; a history of providing journalism focused on issues and events that affect lives every day.
The Path Forward
Under new leadership, the vision for WAMU is to become an essential and trusted source of information that empowers civic and community engagement. To accomplish this, WAMU must become a stronger provider of broadcast and digital news and a major convener of inclusive conversations. WAMU is evolving from a radio station that provides news into a multifaceted media company integral to the quality of life for the more than six million residents who live in and around Washington, DC. WAMU must serve as a defining force for what it means to be a Washingtonian.
WAMU seeks a strategic, entrepreneurial, self-starter to serve as Senior Director of Branding & Audience Development (Senior Director). At a time when public radio is increasingly important, WAMU’s potential has never been greater. Under the visionary new leadership of General Manager Erika Pulley-Hayes, appointed in 2021, and with the support of American University, WAMU is embracing its role to provide unprecedented value and service to the region and to serve as a model for impact and innovation among its public media peers. By leading marketing and public relations strategy, the Senior Director will be a key figure in increasing the station’s ability to provide greater access and deliver more comprehensive and actionable information on issues most critical to Washingtonians.
The Senior Director of Branding & Audience Development reports to the Chief Advancement Officer and is responsible for the development and execution of all aspects of WAMU’s marketing and public relations strategy, including but not limited to, overall branding, promotions, logo usage, strategic marketing partnerships, on-air promotions, email marketing, internal and external publications, social media/Web based-marketing, graphic design/visual identity and more. The Senior Director will also develop and oversee WAMU’s membership initiatives, including but not limited to on-air fundraising, events, direct mail, email fundraising, vehicle donations, and corporate matching gifts. The Senior Director will initiate and implement marketing and advertising campaigns and develop key messaging across on-air, social, print, and other digital platforms to effectively drive engagement by raising the profile, prominence, and value of WAMU regionally and nationally. The Senior Director supervises five direct reports and a total team of approximately 15 across the areas of marketing, communications, individual giving, donor relations, and events.
In conjunction with the Chief Advancement Officer, the Senior Director collaborates with other departments in the assessment and utilization of market data analysis to help drive messaging and increase audience engagement and membership. This position will also ensure maintenance of the Intranet and WAMU’s websites to ensure ease of navigation, clarity of information, and current and relevant content. In coordination with communications staff and American University’s Vice President of Communications, the Senior Director responds to members of the media in a timely manner and composes and distributes press releases as needed.
A key objective for the Senior Director will be the ongoing integration of branding and fundraising related to the DCist local news platform with that of the broader WAMU. With a DCist monthly audience of 1.5 million and morning drivetime listenership that engages 1 out of every 6 Washingtonians, the full leveraging of this collective presence holds tremendous potential for WAMU.
While WAMU will consider a broad range of backgrounds, the ideal candidate will have the following qualifications/experience:
- Passion for WAMU’s mission, high-quality journalism, and the broader public media landscape.
- Ten or more years of overall, progressively responsible experience and demonstrated excellence in integrated fundraising, including marketing, individual giving, corporate communications, branding, or related fields. At least five years of progressively responsible experience with internal and external communications, responsibility for developing and implementing outreach and engagement plans, or other relevant experience. Experience managing a membership program and working in a nonprofit or media-based environment preferred.
- Several years of supervisory or management experience. Proven ability to build, manage, evaluate, and develop a diverse team of professionals and contribute to the ongoing fostering of a high-functioning, results-oriented, multiracial/multicultural workforce.
- Broad understanding of marketing and communications best practices, including public relations vehicles and social media platforms.
- Experience with strategic media strategy in a contemporary multi-platform media environment.
- Ability to offer sound media relations advice to senior leadership.
- Excellent interpersonal, written, and verbal communications skills, with superior ability to write in a journalistic style that is customary for corporate and external publications. Capability to serve as a highly visible and public-facing ambassador of WAMU.
- Outstanding leadership abilities and interpersonal skills, including strong capability as a facilitator and coordinator and to collaborate with partners across functional areas of the organization.
- Creative, innovative thinker with a track record of translating strategic concepts into successfully executed, integrated action plans and utilizing new methods of constituent engagement and connectivity.
- Strong analytical and reasoning abilities; demonstrated ability to integrate data into decision-making and strategy development.
American University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that operates in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information or any other bases under federal or local laws (collectively "Protected Bases") in its programs and activities.
WAMU and American University have retained the DSG Fundraising & Advancement Practice of the Diversified Search Group to assist in this confidential search process. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) may be submitted via the following link – https://talent-profile.diversifiedsearchgroup.com/search/v2/19035, or directed to:
Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.
Managing Director and DSG Fundraising & Advancement Practice Leader
Diversified Search Group
The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor, New York, New York 10174
firstname.lastname@example.org | 212.542.2587