Position Description

Chief Audience Officer
Location Chicago
Job Code 441
# of Openings 1
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About Chicago Public Media
As one of the largest and most respected public media organizations in the country, Chicago Public Media is home to WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR news source, and a wide range of popular and award-winning podcasts. WBEZ reaches nearly 550,000 listeners a week across radio and digital streaming platforms, and more than a million people engage with its content on digital platforms. Chicago Public Media is supported by more than 90,000 members and hundreds of corporate sponsors and major donors who believe in its mission: To amplify the public conversation by telling the stories that matter–stories that provoke thought, entertain, capture emotion, and inspire action.

Chicago Public Media believes independent journalism is essential to a well-functioning democracy and access to fact-based, objective news and information is a right of every citizen. The organization serves the public interest by creating diverse, compelling content that informs, inspires, and enriches. It connects diverse audiences and helps them make a difference in their community, the region, and the world. Chicago Public Media employs many who are inspired by its mission and who want to belong to an organization that inspires, supports, and challenges.

During the past five years, Chicago Public Media has significantly expanded the size and ambitions of its newsroom. In addition to bringing nationally syndicated public radio news and talk shows to a Chicagoland audience, its award-winning newsroom desks cover education, criminal justice, politics and government, race, class, and communities. Its live, two-hour show on WBEZ, Reset, drives and further expands the daily conversation during midday listening hours.

The newsroom also collaborates with Chicago Public Media’s content development studio to create engaging and educational audio programs and podcasts such as Making Obama, Making Beyonce, Making Oprah, Motive; 16 Shots; Public Official A, Curious City, and Nerdette and has a proud legacy as the birthplace of iconic nationally syndicated programs such as This American Life, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me…, and the ground-breaking podcast, Serial.

Chicago Public Media has expanded its community engagement initiatives with community conversations around issues that intersect with its reporting; in-depth exploration of specific topics and discussions in a live event setting; curated live podcast events; and a newsmaker series with prominent journalists and business, civic, and cultural leaders. In addition to WBEZ, Chicago Public Media is home to Vocalo, a multiplatform service focused on engaging a diverse, multi-ethnic, and multi-racial audience of 18- to 44-year-olds through an eclectic mix of Hip-Hop, R&B, House music, and related arts and cultural expressions.

Job Description
Reporting to the CEO, the Chief Audience Officer will play a crucial role in building audience reach, diversity and engagement for Chicago Public Media. CPM’s senior business leaders are committed to serving an audience that is as diverse as its community. The Chief Audience Officer will bring vision and pragmatism to a role that requires strategic thinking and disciplined execution to achieve organizational goals, as well leadership skills to work with colleagues across functions and communicate with all stakeholders.

The Chief Audience Officer will serve as a trusted advisor, coach and colleague to the CEO and the executive leadership team, and will be a proactive partner and collaborator to support senior executives in their ability to effectively recruit, deploy, grow and lead talent throughout the organization.

Key Functional Responsibilities

  • Achieve audience development goals: Lead our plans to grow the size, diversity and engagement of our audiences at Chicago Public Media, particularly on digital platforms. Develop and execute innovative, creative and effective marketing strategies that increase usage of CPM’s content and products.
  • Define and execute a digital audience strategy: Stay on the cutting edge and having deep domain knowledge of digital platforms and strategies.  Knowledge of SEO, social platforms, app marketing, podcast marketing, and e-mail marketing will be important.
  • Execute a growth marketing plan: Oversee a team of product, marketing and data professionals who will help run constant, iterative tests throughout the audience funnel to build trust, daily habit and brand loyalty.
  • Brand building: Shape the strategy for our brands at Chicago Public Media, notably WBEZ and Vocalo, in collaboration with our content teams. This includes the brand voice, personas, and visual identity.

Key Management Responsibilities

  • Cross-functional Leadership: Partner with other leaders across the organization, including in content and programming, development, corporate sponsorship and membership.
  • Team Management: Set goals and priorities for CPM’s audience development efforts. Build, hire, train and lead a high-performing team of digitally-savvy marketers to support the strategic goals of the business.
  • Product Management: The Director of Digital Product will report to this role. The Chief Audience Officer should have an understanding of product management and be able to provide coaching and insights for this function.
  • Business Intelligence: The Director of Business Intelligence will report to this role.  Develop and deliver regular and ongoing reports with audience insights and program performance.
  • Digital Marketing: The Director of Marketing will report to this role. The Chief Audience Officer will work with this team to develop and manage paid and organic marketing programs (paid search, SEO, Facebook, display, among others) for all platforms and products.
  • Broadcast: The Managing Director of Programming & Audience will report to this role. The Chief Audience Officer will work with this team to maximize broadcast audience engagement, growth and diversity and develop effective strategies to use broadcast to promote digital platforms.

The Chief Audience Officer will be a strategic leader with a strong business acumen and with proven experience in building collaborative teams and relationships across all levels of the organization. Specifically:

  • Passion: A passion for public media and a commitment to the belief that a shared, independent, and trusted public media space remains central to an effective and informed democracy.
  • Leadership: An ability to lead and thrive in all major audience development functions including digital marketing experience, brand building, audience growth and engagement, analytics, and product management.
  • Experience with Digital Tools and Technology: A high level of competency with technology, an aptitude for mastering new technology, and an ability to develop a unified vision for the CRM system. Familiar with digital analytics tools (Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, ComScore etc.) Hands on knowledge of paid digital campaigns (PPC, display, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and managing budgets, overseeing vendors, platforms.
  • Passion for learning: Ability to stay up-to-date on industry developments and competitors and to be active in the media community.
  • Relationships: An ability to build collaborate, meaningful and trusted relationships across the organization and with key external partners.
  • Vision: An ability to articulate and execute an audience growth strategy and vision for Chicago Public Media to internal and external stakeholders.
  • Communication: An ability to communicate clearly, without ambiguity, to diverse audiences internally and externally as an advocate for public media and for the objectives and goals of Chicago Public Media.
  • Cultural Competency: A high level of cultural competency and a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace expressed in both approach and experience.
  • Team-building: Experience as a visible and effective leader and the ability to recognize and nurture talent while building and retaining a successful team.
  • Financial fluency: An ability to develop and maintain financial projections and budgets.
  • A bachelor's degree is required for this position as is 10 years of experience in marketing and at least 5 years in audience development and digital media.

Working at Chicago Public Media

At Chicago Public Media, we care deeply about our employees as we know attracting, developing, and growing talent is key to our success and enhancing our impact.  Our culture is one where collaboration, ideas, and innovation are encouraged.  We value colleagues who will enhance our culture by bringing new ideas, diverse experiences, and talents to our dynamic workplace.

Chicago Public Media’s dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion is reflective across our brands, WBEZ 91.5 FM and Vocalo 91.1 FM, in our staff and in our work.  We are fully focused on equality of opportunity and believe deeply in diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, national origin, experience, and all other fascinating characteristics that make us different.

At Chicago Public Media we believe dedication to a great workplace includes supporting our employees and their families. As a result, we provide a broad and generous benefits package for you at hire and in the years to come. Our benefits include:

  • 6 weeks fully paid family leave
  • High quality Medical, Dental, and Vision plans at an affordable cost
  • A 403(b)retirement plan with a company match
  • Generous paid time off, including starting with 3 weeks’ vacation and 4 personal days.

Due to current COVID restrictions, you must be able to work remotely at your own designated location with Internet access and you must be willing and able to work at our Navy Pier offices, if needed. Right now, most of our staff is working remotely.

The essential functions described above are not all-inclusive and may change periodically to meet the needs of Chicago Public Media (CPM). The information contained in this job description is not intended to create any contractual or other legal commitment. Chicago Public Media may change the content or format of this job at any time in its sole and exclusive discretion without notice.

Chicago Public Media is an Equal Opportunity Employer and we actively seek and welcome people from all backgrounds, orientations, and life experiences to join our team. 


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