Former Louisville radio personality and radio programmer Lee Masters, whose real name is Jarl Mohn, has been named as the new president and CEO of NPR. He’d been working closely with Southern California Public Radio where he generated the phrase “No rant, no slant.”
National Public Radio has been through several rocky years of turbulent issues related to finances, management, and floundering partner stations.
If anyone is capable of growing NPR, it is Lee Masters. In addition to a mastery of radio broadcasting, Lee and his business partner Bob Pittman launched MTV, VH1, and then Masters went on to create E! Entertainment channel.
Here are Bob Pittman and Lee Masters doing a TV music show on New York’s WNBC in the late 70s. They were sowing the seeds for what would become MTV and eventually VH1.
After his WAKY/WLRS deejay days, Lee Masters worked on WNBC in New York, and later became a program consultant to WLRS. Ron Clay & I hosted the WLRS morning show on both radio and cable TV, but the TV portion was later canceled and replaced with a new channel called MTV, created by Bob Pittman and later joined by Lee Masters.
Pittman is now the CEO of Clear Channel Media, owner of WHAS Radio where I have hosted the afternoon program for 29 years.
Masters rarely sleeps. I recall WLRS overnight deejays in the 80s saying that Lee would call them if he noticed a song being played out of rotation. He often called Ron Clay and me as early as 5:30 a.m. while our show intro was playing just to encourage us to “Make ’em laugh. Get them all telling their co-workers that they’re missing out if they’re not listening” to our Morning Sickness Show on WLRS.
NPR is about to meet an unstoppable force in Jarl “Lee Masters” Mohn. He will have NPR reshaped, refreshed, and refocused in a matter of weeks.
Jarl Mohn is centered at his core. In the midst of a busy workday, he could step into a dark recording studio, sit on the floor, and meditate.
When asked “How are you?,” Jarl Mohn’s signature response is “Virtually perfect.”