After almost a quarter-century, David Freedman no longer is the general manager of WWOZ-FM, the community radio station’s board of directors announced Wednesday.
Arthur Cohen, who spent 38 years working at public radio stations around the country before coming out of retirement in January to become WWOZ’s interim chief operating officer, will now assume that position permanently.
He will have “complete responsibility” for the day-to-day management of the station’s staff, volunteers, on-air content, budget and fundraising, the board said.
The position of general manager will remain open for now.
Freedman, who has been WWOZ’s general manager since 1992, will stay on as the station’s chief strategic officer. In his new role, he will focus on “strategic planning, assisting with fundraising and community engagement,” the board announced
“We deeply appreciate the decades of passion, creativity and vision that David Freedman has given to our beloved ’OZ,” WWOZ board President C.J. Blache said in a statement. “He has taken us from a $200,000 local secret to a significant force for the culture of our city and state, with national and international impact. His efforts helped expand our unique New Orleans and Louisiana musical heritage through new electronic platforms, often setting the pace in utilizing changing technology.”
The change in the station’s top management position follows the departure of numerous staffers over the past year and increasingly public complaints from some WWOZ volunteers and fans about the station’s recent initiatives and direction.
Popular programming director Dwayne Breashears, an 18-year veteran of the station, announced his impending departure this spring.
In the board’s statement, Freedman said, “It became clear to me, as long as four years ago, that we needed more day-to-day management to help keep up with the expansion of our services. At that time, I was called upon by the board to work on long-term issues that will be facing the station.
“Now, with Arthur Cohen on board, I am able to turn operations over to one of the most capable people I know — not only our over-the-air broadcasting but also music, audio and video streaming, additional program channels, Web and app platforms as well as social media. I can now prioritize my work in making sure that WWOZ has the brightest future possible.”