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WFAE president to retire in 2015

Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.
GQJ25H0E0.12photographer
Kori Hoffman - WFAE
Roger Sarow, president of WFAE-FM.

Roger Sarow, who has led WFAE-FM (NPR, 90.7) for 26 years, announced Thursday that he intends to retire early next year.

As president of the public radio station, Sarow, 63, guided it through its split with the UNC Charlotte to independent status in 1993 and led it into a period of expansion and increased news coverage for the region.

“All good assignments must eventually come to an end,” Sarow said in a statement. “WFAE provided me with the creative opportunity of a lifetime.”

Sarow joined WFAE after four years as general manager of Eastern Kentucky University’s station in Richmond, Ky. Before that, he was an anchor/producer and program director during a six-year stint at a public station in Madison, Wis., and a news director for two years at a public station in La Crosse, Wis.

A nationwide search will be conducted by WFAE’s board of directors to find a replacement.

Board Chair Nash Long praised Sarow for his leadership that kept the non-profit station financially healthy and led it into exploring new opportunities in the ever-changing media landscape.

“During a period of economic uncertainty, in the midst of seismic changes in the media industry, Roger and his management team had to walk a tightrope: balancing our need to manage expenses prudently with the demands of a bold strategic plan,” Long said in a statement.

WFAE, based in University City, has a staff of about 40 employees and a budget of $4.7 million. Serving an estimated 200,000 listeners, the station ranks among the top 10 public radio stations nationally in its average audience share.

Sarow is a member of the Charlotte Rotary and serves on the advisory committee for the Graduate School at Winthrop University in Rock Hill.

Washburn: 704-358-5007
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