|Davidson College Names Former NPR Music Director Benjamin Roe
General Manager of WDAV
June 24, 2008
Contact: Stacey Schmeidel
Editor’s Note: Roe is available for interviews. Contact Stacey Schmeidel at 704-894-2798.
Benjamin K. Roe, a Grammy and Peabody Award-winning producer for NPR and one of the nation’s leading strategists for music and public
media, has been named general manager of WDAV, the all-classical music station serving the rapidly growing Charlotte, N.C. market and online at WDAV.org. WDAV is a public radio service of Davidson College, and Roe’s appointment was announced at an event on campus Tuesday morning.
Roe succeeds Kim Hodgson, who is retiring at the end of June after nine years as WDAV’s general manager. Roe’s appointment is effective July 1, 2008.
Roe comes to WDAV with more than 25 years of leadership in radio and public media, primarily at National Public Radio in Washington, DC. A 20-year member of the NPR staff, he served most recently as NPR’s director of music and music initiatives, a job which allowed him to develop the blueprint for NPRMusic.org, an online music portal for NPR and member public radio stations across the U.S.
Prior to that, he served as NPR’s senior producer for music and special projects, as a producer for NPR’s Performance Today, and as a reporter for NPR News in Moscow. In his 20 years at NPR, he created and produced a number of live broadcasts, studio recordings, special programs, and ongoing series for the network, including such notable programs as Creators at Carnegie, SymphonyCast, A King Celebration and Toast of the Nation, NPR’s live New Year’s Eve broadcast that in 2004 became the first U.S. network program to air in 5.1 Surround Sound.
In announcing Roe’s appointment, Davidson College President Thomas W. Ross ’72 said, “WDAV is an important public ‘face’ for Davidson College, and it has a 30-year history of excellence and commitment to the arts community in Davidson and the Charlotte region. Ben Roe brings to Davidson experience in both ‘old’ and ‘new’ media, as well as a personal affinity for music and the arts. We are delighted with this appointment, and we are confident that Ben’s extensive experience in public media, as well as his personal commitment to academic rigor and intellectual vitality, will provide exciting new opportunities for Davidson, WDAV and our broad community of listeners.”
Roe said, “I am delighted and honored to be joining WDAV, a station I have long admired for its solid programming, nationally recognized staff, and first-rate facilities. Kim Hodgson has done an outstanding job of putting all of the building blocks in place for us now to imagine and create an exciting future for WDAV: a world where we can build on the well-developed traditions and core values of public radio—as well as the academic range, rigor and reputation of Davidson College—to develop classical and cultural content of signature quality for Charlotte and the nation.”
Kevin Klose, president of NPR, said, “Ben Roe is one of public radio’s finest all-round producers and innovators in programming for listeners everywhere. He is widely recognized as a genius at creative, artistic collaboration on behalf of stations and their listeners, having brought hundreds of hours of live and recorded performances to audiences across the nation and around the globe. Widely and deeply informed about all aspects of classical music and its important sibling, music for film, Ben Roe continues the outstanding leadership tradition at WDAV, one of America’s most revered and honored public radio stations.”
Roe has received numerous honors for his work at NPR, including a Chairman’s Medal for Distinguished Service from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Grammy Award for Best Choral Recording (of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem) from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, as well as Peabody, Gabriel, and ASCAP-Deems Taylor awards for his work as the senior producer of Performance Today. In 2000, he was a key member of the NPR Cultural Programming staff that was the first broadcast organization ever to receive a National Medal of the Arts.
Roe has produced a number of CDs for the NPR Classics label, as well as recordings that have appeared on labels including Sony Classical, EMI Classics, Nonesuch and BBC Music. Through his independent firm, RoeDeo Productions, he has continued to produce recordings, broadcasts and online media for a number of clients in public media, as well as performing arts groups, colleges and universities, and other organizations. In fall 2007 Roe received a highly competitive Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for uTunes: Music 1.01, an innovative pilot program of music education podcasts being developed in conjunction with the University of Texas at Austin.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, WDAV is a member-supported public radio service providing classical music and cultural arts programming 24 hours each day. WDAV provides a 2.2 million people in 22 counties around Charlotte, N.C., with classical music and cultural arts programming of the highest quality. In addition, WDAV promotes the activities of local arts organizations and artists of all disciplines. More than a music service, WDAV is dedicated to creating a “community of the arts.” The station attracts more than 100,000 listeners each week and receives financial support from 6,700 members.
At WDAV, Roe will succeed general manager Kim Hodgson, who has led the station since 1999. During that time, Hodgson conceived and oversaw the planning and construction of the Samuel L. Newell Building, the station’s state-of-the-art facility on Main St. on the Davidson College campus.
Hodgson began his career in non-commercial radio in 1966 as a tape-cutter and announcer for the University of Chicago Office of Radio and Television. After receiving a master’s degree in radio-TV-film from the University of Wisconsin in 1970, he helped the Ramah band of Navajo Indians in New Mexico establish the first Native American-controlled radio station in the U.S. Hodgson worked briefly as development director at WVWC in Buckhannon, W.V., then held leadership roles at KRSW (in Worthington, Minn.), KUOW (at the University of Washington in Seattle), and WETA in Washington, D.C. In 1987, he was named general manager at WAMU in Washington, D.C.; he held that post for 13 years, and then came to WDAV. In 1994, he was elected to the first of two terms on the NPR board; he served as board chair from 1996 until 2000, when he retired from the board. Hodgson served as Vice President of the North Carolina Radio Association from 2004 to 2005.
WDAV’s 24-hour service is certified by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and is a member of both NPR National Public Radio and Public Radio International, carrying NPR newscasts at various times throughout the day. The station streams live online at www.wdav.org.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,700 students. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college. Davidson awards B.A. or B.S. degrees in 20 different majors; students also may develop an interdisciplinary major through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.