[Updated] Jennifer Ferro is promoted as KCRW chief

Jennifer Ferro is expected to be promoted as KCRW's new chief, replacing outgoing chief Ruth Seymour.
Jennifer Ferro is expected to be promoted as KCRW's new chief, replacing outgoing chief Ruth Seymour.

KCRW-FM promoted its assistant general manager to the public radio station's top position today replacing outgoing chief Ruth Seymour.

The Santa Monica College Board of Trustees today approved the selection of Jennifer Ferro, who begins in her new position March 1. Ferro succeeds Seymour, who is retiring Feb. 26 after running KCRW for 32 years, said KCRW spokesperson Bruce Smith in a news statement.

Ferro served as the public radio station's assistant general manager. ``Jennifer epitomizes the perfect mix of traditional public radio experience, and the strategic and creative new media thinking that will be critical to KCRW's continued success in the years ahead," Chui L. Tsang, the college's president, said in a news statement.

The appointment caps a months-long search that had been narrowed to three finalists from an initial field of about 30 applicants, the newspaper reported. Santa Monica College holds KCRW's license and was responsible for the search to find Seymour's replacement.

``I'm thrilled to be able to get the opportunity to lead the best public radio station in the country and I'm excited to work with the station's incredible staff on the challenges and opportunities in front of us,'' Ferro said in a news statement. ``It's a dream job.''

Ferro, 41, has worked in many aspects of the National Public Radio affiliate's operations, including programming, marketing, fundraising and new media, since she joined KCRW's staff in 1994, according to a news statement.

``Jennifer is an ideal choice to lead the station forward,'' said Seymour in a news statement. ``She brings her own unique approach and vision to KCRW. She's 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.''

Tom Taylor, executive news director of radio-info.com, an independent website that tracks the radio industry, called Ferro's appointment ``a vote for continuity and also a vote for the future."

Ferro, he said, `comes into the job with relationships that it would take an outsider a long time to build."

Among the challenges facing Ferro is making sure that KCRW's listenership is being accurately reflected in ratings numbers, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Last summer, Arbitron ratings showed KCRW trailing three other local public radio affiliates: classical KUSC-FM (91.5), news-talk KPCC-FM (89.3) and jazz KKJZ-FM (88.1).

KCRW officials have insisted that the ``Portable People Meter" device being used to monitor listenership substantially undercounts the station's online audience, which is one of the largest Web audiences in the nation. It also does not count listeners to the station's broadcasts over its transmitters in Ventura County, Palm Springs, the Antelope Valley or near San Diego.

According to college officials, Ferro has been instrumental in developing KCRW's three live Internet radio channels, iPhone applications, blogs and various social media.

She also has been involved in planning a new facility for KCRW, which will be part of a new $61.2-million media-technology complex on the college's campus, The Times reported. The facility, set to open in 2013, will include a 1,600-square-foot performance space and a viewing gallery for audiences to attend live studio appearances, the newspaper reported.

Ferro is a Torrance native and UCLA graduate. She is the married mother of two daughters, 7 and 9, and coaches youth soccer. She also plays in an over-40 women's league as a striker, The Times reported.