President Of Vermont Public Radio To Step Down

Aug 15, 2017

After more than eight years, Vermont Public Radio's President and CEO Robin Turnau will be stepping down.

Turnau's career with the station stretches back nearly three decades. A University of Vermont graduate, Turnau has spent nearly all of her working life at VPR.

She previously served in several capacities, including vice president of development, director of development, and development manager. She was instrumental in creating a $10 million endowment for VPR in 2008.

Turnau, who is 52, says the decision was a difficult one. She plans to take time off to consider her future plans.

“I think that this is the right decision for me personally and for VPR. I’ve been here at VPR for 28 years. It’s been an incredible journey and I want time to explore other opportunities,” she says. “For VPR, we’re a very stable organization, we’re growing. We’re really well-positioned right now for a leadership transition.”

Turnau took the helm of VPR just as the recession started; a time she recalls as the most challenging of her tenure.

“We were seeing incredible declines in our underwriting revenue; down by 25 percent, hundreds of thousands of dollars,” she says. “We got ourselves on the right track pretty quickly.”

Under Turnau’s leadership VPR’s broadcast and digital audiences have continued to grow.

She also oversaw the recently completed $10 million “VPR Next” capital campaign to expand the station's Colchester headquarters and fund new programming and news initiates.

“To leave that as my legacy is something I’m quite proud of,” says Turnau.

“Clearly, the success of the capital campaign speaks volumes to her leadership and the confidence people have in her,” says Peggy Williams, who chairs the VPR Board of Directors.

Williams says the board has issued a request for proposals to national search firms and plans to choose one to help find a new CEO.

“There’s talent out there that we can’t necessarily find on our own,” she says. “We’re saying we’d like to conclude this search by early to mid-March.”

Turnau will stay on until March 2018.

Turnau is only the third person to lead VPR in its 40 year history. Co-founder Ray Dilley served for 18 years, followed by Mark Vogelzang, who led VPR from 1993-2009.   

Turnau’s departure is the second from Vermont Public Radio’s leadership team in recent months. Brian Donahue, VPR’s chief financial officer, left in May to become chief operation officer of the new Essex Westford School District.

Disclosure: Steve Zind is a reporter at Vermont Public Radio.