NPR president resigns

By LORI SANTOS   |   May 10, 1983

WASHINGTON -- Frank Mankiewicz, president of National Public Radio, formally announced his resignation Tuesday from the financially troubled public network.

'As I said last month ... once the transition team was in place, I would no longer assume management responsibilities,' Mankiewicz said in a statement.


'Ron Bornstein, the newly appointed acting chief operating officer, now has his team in place and I'm confident they and the board will act quickly and competently to address NPR's fiscal concerns,' he said.

Mankiewicz, who ran George McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign and was Robert Kennedy's press secretary, took over as president of National Public Radio in 1977.

He was not immediately available for comment beyond the brief statement issued, and it was not known what he would be doing next, although he is expected to serve as a consultant to the public radio network for a few months.

'Over the next few months, I look forward to working with the board, with Mr. Bornstein and the rest of NPR's management in a variety of special projects and assignments directed toward ... a stable and independent NPR,' Mankiewicz said.

Bornstein, who will take over the day-to-day management operation of the network, said, 'During the past six years public radio has gained enormous support and a justly earned reputation for excellence. Frank Mankiewicz must be credited with significant leadership in that systemwide effort. This effort has led to public radio's unprecedented audience levels.'

Myron Jones, the radio network's board chairman, noted under Mankiewizc' leaderhip the 'Morning Edition' news program was inaugurated and 'All Things Considered,' a popular afternoon news program, strengthened. Together they 'have made National Public Radio a powerful and respected force in American journalism,' Jones said.

The radio network's management came under fire recently at its convention in Minneapolis for a record 1983 deficit estimated at $5.8 million. Six weeks ago, the network laid off some employees and canceled its Sunday show. Without more income, further program cuts are possible that might extend to some of the most popular shows.

Mankiewicz had claimed the 'major income crisis' resulted from a drop in federal funds for public broadcasting, economic recession and failure to meet goals in profit-making ventures. Others claimed there was overspending.

NPR is a non-profit membership organization that provides programming to public radio stations across the country, with an estimated audience of 7.7 million. The network was found in 1970.