When we caught up with Vivian Schiller, the just-announced president and CEO of National Public Radio, she was in a surprising location: her own kitchen in Bethesda, catching a breath after the NPR board meeting this morning when her appointment was approved. Schiller has been commuting for the past two-plus years from the DC area to her job as SVP-GM of NYTimes.com; tomorrow she’ll be back in the NYT building, preparing to wrap up by the end of the month. Between that job and her earlier role as GM of cable network *Discovery* Times, Schiller has been with *NYTCo* for nearly seven years.
The switch from cable TV to digital in April 2006 was a big leap. This one is even bigger — in addition to a switch of primary medium, she’s moving to not-for-profit from commercial. And she’s moving from the corporate pack to the top of that not-for-profit with constituents that include a board, member stations, and listeners. This conversation was a far cry from our harried first interview, in the hallway at the Las Vegas Convention Center just after she took the NYTimes.com job, but the two have this in common — not much in the way of specifics yet. In addition to NPR matters, we talked about TimesSelect and digital-print integration. Some excerpts after the jump:
– Why NPR?: Schiller admitted to getting teary when she met with Arthur Sulzberger to tell him she was leaving. “I wouldn’t have left the New York Times (NYSE: NYT) to go just anywhere.” But she was drawn to NPR’s news operation with 36 bureaus, including 18 overseas, what she calls “a powerhouse” organization and “constellation of stations.” Plus, “if all of that were not enough, my family lives here.” She avoids comparisons between the two media organizations. “Really, it