General Manager – WDET, Detroit



WDET-FM – General Manager

  • WDET-FM Detroit, Cass Avenue, Detroit, MI, USA
Job Purpose
The General Manager will provide leadership for WDET team members and will direct, plan, develop and manage the overall operations of radio station WDET-FM to provide the highest possible quality programming service to the metropolitan area while promoting the University.  This role has a strategic focus on audience and revenue growth, budget management as well as fundraising and stewardship for the station.

Essential Functions

  • STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP & DIRECTION: Develop, communicate and direct the implementation of strategic plans that support WDET’s public service mission and a vision for sustainable growth. Direct, plan and oversee the day-to-day management of the station. Establish measurable organizational and departmental goals to promote decision-making based on fact and context. Formulate policies, procedures and processes to improve overall operations. Coordinate cross-departmental activities that are of a strategic nature and contribute to the achievement of a common goal or objective. Acquire and utilize various forms of audience, market, industry and financial data and trends to establish and adjust plans.
  • PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT: Manage, mentor and coach a staff of over 30 employees, including a leadership team of 5 or more direct reports. Build, inspire, maintain and encourage a performance-driven organizational culture that is built around shared values.  Foster an inclusive work environment that promotes accountability, creativity and collaboration. Establish organizational plans, evaluating and determining current and future staffing needs to achieve strategic goals and adapt to industry changes. Develop and implement equitable personnel policies and procedures that demonstrate a commitment to diversity, promote professional development, and are in compliance with University practices.
  • FUNDRAISING & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Direct the growth and diversification of WDET’s revenue to fuel a sustainable future. Instill a culture of philanthropy and take a lead role in fundraising, particularly in the areas of major gifts and grants. Develop and maintain relationships with individual donors, sponsors and funders. Establish goals and evaluate donor/client-centric strategies that increase conversions, support WDET’s ability to secure transformational philanthropic gifts, and lead to the development of new forms of sales and alternative revenue (i.e., events, merchandising, contracted services, and licensing agreements).
  • PROGRAMMING & AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT: Guide and oversee the acquisition and/or development of multi-platform programming, products, services and distribution strategies that are responsive to audience needs, align with WDET’s mission and support audience growth. Develop and leverage relationships with local and national partners towards achieving audience and revenue goals. Maintain a strong local brand identity that is well-integrated with and reflected in all components of WDET’s on-air and off-air activities. Direct the development of effective marketing and community engagement strategies that attract and engage audiences a way that engenders trust and loyalty. Monitor public response to current services and regularly assess audience needs and behaviors through existing data, surveys, focus groups, and monitoring of feedback channels. Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of station activities and services and develop related changes and adjustments.
  • BUSINESS & FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT: Direct and oversee the development of organizational budgets and operating plans. Develop financial forecasts and provide detailed statistical analyses and various reports to university leadership and various stakeholders. Review, monitor and approve revenues and expenditures as necessary. Oversee the development, negotiation and execution of various contracts. Monitor compliance with all federal regulations and University policies. Establish internal policies and procedures that promote transparency, efficiency and sound business practices.
  • EXTERNAL RELATIONS & STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS: Serve as an external “face” for the organization. Represent station to national, state, local and university stakeholders. Attend and present at conferences, workshops and informational development seminars to keep abreast of industry trends and practices, network with external organizations and enhance WDET’s reputation. Develop and partner with community advisory board and/or fundraising committees in support of strategic planning and campaign initiatives. Serve on University-wide task forces, committees and meetings.

Education: Bachelor’s degree

Graduation from an accredited college or university with major coursework in business or non-profit management or an equivalent combination of education and/or experience.

ExperienceExpert (established subject matter expert, 7+ years experience)

  • Significant senior leadership experience at a non-profit media organization or similarly relevant and competitive environment
  • Considerable experience in developing and leading the implementation of strategies that have resulted in measurable growth and impact
  • Direct fundraising experience, including personal experience developing proposals and securing major gifts and grants
  • Experience reporting to, serving on, and managing both governing and advisory boards preferred
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. (Hiring/building diverse teams and reaching/serving diverse audiences)
  • A track record of developing strategic partnerships and working collaboratively with both internal and external stakeholders to achieve goals
  • Public media experience preferred
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
  • Strong personnel management skills, particularly in the area of change management and performance management
  • Proven ability to build, lead, mentor and coach diverse teams and build organizational alignment
  • High level of business and financial management skills including forecasting, strategy development, budget planning, contract negotiation, and compliance management /ethical/transparency
  • Highly adaptable, resourceful and entrepreneurial; creative, data-driven problem solver with well-developed analytical skills
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills, including an ability to adapt style to various audiences and build rapport with diverse stakeholders
  • Understanding and appreciation of new and emerging technologies and their application in transforming services and business operations
  • Demonstrated understanding of the mission of public media. Passion for independent, community-based journalism and cultural programming strongly preferred
  • Helpful to understand urban environments, particularly Detroit
  • Ability to make connections with Detroit community and business leaders


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