Kravetz steps down as GM of WBUR

Charlie Kravetz, who helped WBUR grow into a public radio powerhouse, is
out as the station’s general manager.

In a joint statement, Boston University, which owns the radio station license, and Kravetz cited the opening of a new meeting venue called CitySpace and the conclusion of a union organizing campaign at WBUR as events that precipitated the change in top management.

“Both Boston University and Mr. Kravetz agreed that it was an appropriate time for a transition, his to pursue new options, and BU to new leadership at Boston’s public radio station,” the statement said.

WBUR employees learned of the 66-year-old Kravetz’s departure at a staff meeting that Kravetz did not attend. He will officially relinquish his position June 30; the joint statement said he would be available for consultations with his interim replacement, Sam Fleming, the director of news and programming, but would not be coming into the office regularly.

Paul La Camera, who preceded Kravetz as general manager and continued to advise the station, said in an email to friends that Kravetz was leaving “under unfortunate circumstances.” La Camera also said he would be leaving the station along with his longtime friend, according to a WBUR report.  “It’s just too sad and too uncomfortable for me to remain here,” he said.

Kravetz’s departure may have been an outgrowth of the way the station handled the dismissal of Tom Ashbrook as host of On Point following reports of abusive behavior. Ashbrook was placed on leave in December 2017 and removed in February 2018 for creating an “abusive work environment.”

At the time, Boston University did not announce any changes in management, even though current and former employees said managers had dismissed their complaints about Ashbrook. Kravetz took personal responsibility for improper oversight of Ashbrook, but added that it was a breakdown of management in general. “It wasn’t just me,” he said. “We all failed to successfully address this issue and we have to collectively take responsibility for that.”

In September 2018, consultants hired by Boston University released a plan for addressing the station’s work environment and the general manager was among five areas of focus. Employees at WBUR voted overwhelmingly last month to form a union.

Meghna Chakrabarti, who replaced Ashbrook as host of On Point, called Kravetz a mentor and said his leadership is a key reason WBUR is not struggling while many other media outlets are.

“We’re bucking the trend,” Chakrabarti told WBUR. “This is a great place to work. We’ve had our ups and downs for sure, but it’s a healthy journalistic organization and I would credit Charlie Kravetz for leading the way on that.”

Kravetz joined WBUR as general manager in 2010 following stints at WCVB-TV and NECN-TV. WBUR reported that during Kravetz’ s eight years in the job the station’s operating revenue increased 91 percent to $39.5 million and WBUR added 61 staffers. The station recently announced that its current capital campaign has already raised $28 million.

 –BRUCE MOHL


MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Boston will host the 2020 national convention of the NAACP, a big opportunity for the city to showcase itself as a changed place from the 1970s hotbed of racism during the busing years. (Boston Globe)

Cape Cod town hall employees are adjusting to the updated public records law that has many residents asking for information from their local governments. (Cape Cod Times)

Quincy is considering a zoning change that would make it easier for developers to construct multi-family buildings, but the city council committee also faces the reality of less oversight that scenario would present. (Patriot Ledger)  In Worcester, meanwhile, officials are seeking a zoning change that would bar homeowners from paving over their front lawns, usually to add off-street parking.(Telegram & Gazette)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pumps the brakes on impeachment talk, saying Donald Trump is “just not worth it,” remarks that put her at odds with some liberal Democrats who seem primed to push an effort to oust the president. (Washington Post)

ELECTIONS

The Herald News has a list of five things to know ahead of today’s recall election in Fall River, where residents are deciding whether they will boot embattled Mayor Jasiel Correia II and elect his replacement.

Jennifer Braceras pans Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s proposal to grant 16-year-olds the vote (an amendment to a wide-ranging House bill that was not adopted). (Boston Globe)

Democrats will meet next year in Milwaukee for their national nominating convention, landing in a swing state was an important part of Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral college victory. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

A group called Synergy Global Entertainment is proposing a massive two-day concert at the Brockton Fairgrounds in July this year, intending to draw 40,000 people a day. The head of the License Commission said, if it is approved, it could be the biggest concert event ever to be held in the city. (Brockton Enterprise)

National Fish & Seafood has reached a confidential settlement in its corporate espionage lawsuit against Kathleen Scanlon, the company’s former head of research and development and quality control, and executives at Scanlon’s new employer, Tampa Bay Fisheries. (Gloucester Daily Times)

EDUCATION

A Globe editorial says the bill filed by Gov. Charlie Baker doesn’t go far enough to protect consumers from financially unstable higher education institutions.

A group of educators associated with teacher unions across the Cape plan on holding a community forum Thursday in West Barnstable to address the funding formula they say is costing the region’s public schools millions in state aid. (Cape Cod Times)

A preliminary budget proposal aims to eliminate 18 new positions in the Bridgewater-Raynham school district, along with funding for textbooks and technology. But Superintendent Derek Swenson continues to face the tough decision of eliminating $400,000 more in a continued shortfall. (Brockton Enterprise)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said more nursing homes will close this year. But instead of blaming inadequate rates (as nursing home officials did in a recent Codcast), she said occupancy is way down because seniors are staying in their homes longer. (State House News)

Five hours passed between when Jacinto Goulart, a 53-year-old intellectually disabled man went missing from the CLASS Inc. day program in Lawrence, and when staff reported his disappearance. Goulart was found the next day when a nurse at Tufts Medical Center recognized him from a missing persons report. (Eagle-Tribune)

ARTS/CULTURE

A first-of-its-kind survey of women in the music industry done by Berklee College of Music and Women In Music finds most respondents are satisfied in their jobs, but nearly half think they should be farther ahead in their careers, and 78 percent said they have been treated differently because of their gender. (WBUR)

North Adams, which is experimenting with all sorts of tourist accommodations, gets a proposal for a “glamping” (for glamorous camping) facility near Mount Greylock State Reservation. (Berkshire Eagle)

TRANSPORTATION

A frustrated MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board approves a 5.8 percent average fare hike after deciding not to increase rates for bus riders and seniors, students, youth, and the disabled. Several members made clear they were unhappy with the T’s progress. (CommonWealth)

Four of the five members of the Fiscal and Management Control Board indicated they want to explore new transportation funding initiatives and several said a portion of any funds raised should go to the T. Key lawmakers seem eager to listen to appointees of Gov. Charlie Baker who seem willing to go off the administration’s script. (CommonWealth)

Daily Item columnist Steve Krause backs the fare hike as necessary and says drivers should pay their fare share, too.  Rep. David LeBoeuf of Worcester says his constituents will bear the brunt of the fare increase. (Telegram & Gazette)

American Airlines is scaling back the number of flights it offers between Worcester and Philadelphia. (MassLive)

Paula Sharaga, a 69-year-old Brookline librarian is so far the only bicyclist killed on Boston streets this year, and dating back to 2015 the intersection where she was hit by a cement truck has had 27 bicycle or pedestrian crashes that resulted in EMS calls. (WGBH)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A study published in the journal PNAS found that white Americans’ demand for goods and services causes a disproportionate amount of air pollution, but polluted air is disproportionately breathed in by black and Hispanic Americans. (NPR)

CASINOS

Mechanical bartenders are mixing drinks at MGM Springfield, and the experiment has gone so well that the company’s Las Vegas casinos are going to give it a try. (MassLive)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Fulfilling a campaign promise to have outside investigators oversee cases where police use deadly force, Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins has appointed a four-member panel to review a February 22 incident in which a 36-year-old suspect, who allegedly opened fire on two Boston police officers, wounding one of them, was fatally shot. (Boston Globe)

A real estate agent testifying in the trial of Robert Sundberg, a former state trooper charged with raping and assaulting his girlfriend, said Sundberg’s girlfriend called her sobbing early one morning saying she “couldn’t do this anymore.” (Lowell Sun)

Beverly police arrested four people in a human trafficking case where a woman claims she was drugged at a party and then forced to engage in sexual activity with paying male customers. (Salem News)

A judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by the family of Eddie Gayyean, a Lowell 17-year-old who

snuck into the high school pool in August 2012 and drowned. (Lowell Sun)

A 36-year-old graduate of Boston Latin School is facing federal charges in connection with allegations that he secretly videotaped students in boys’ bathrooms at the school. (Boston Herald)

MEDIA

The publisher of New York magazine lays off 32 people, 5 percent of its full-time staff. (Business Insider)