WOSU Public Media’s Tom Rieland To Retire At End Of Year
COLUMBUS, OHIO, JULY 7, 2021 – After 19 years as general manager, Tom Rieland has announced he will retire from WOSU Public Media at the end of 2021. Under Rieland’s leadership, WOSU drew national recognition for its innovative collaborations and programming initiatives as the station reached record levels of audience growth, financial support, and earned numerous broadcast awards. WOSU recently surpassed its ambitious $12 million capital campaign goal and opens its new headquarters and studios as part of the 15+HIGH project in September.
“It has been an honor and privilege to lead WOSU and it is simply the best time to pass the baton after our campaign success and completion of our new home,” Rieland said. “I’ve been working on these plans over the past year and remain eternally grateful for the support of Ohio State leadership, our community board, and WOSU’s tens of thousands of donors over the past two decades.”
Rieland led the organization’s five-year effort to relocate from the Fawcett Center to a newly built state-of-the-art broadcast and public engagement facility located at 14th and Pearl – a location that will further deepen connections to the Columbus community and The Ohio State University.
“Tom Rieland has positioned WOSU for sustained success,” said Jay Kasey, Ohio State’s senior vice president in the Office of Administration and Planning. “The new WOSU headquarters is a direct result of Tom’s vision and the hard work shown by the entire WOSU team under his leadership.”
“I’m most proud that our talented team has propelled WOSU to become part of the region’s cultural and journalistic backbone,” Rieland said. “We built a new model of collaboration with the WOSU@COSI studios; developed the phenomenal Columbus Neighborhoods documentary series; expanded our local news presence by taking 89.7 FM to an all-news station and the top radio news operation in Ohio; grew our commitment to local arts, science and music programming with Broad & High, QED with Dr. B and Classical 101; and expanded our educational services by creating WOSU Classroom.”
“As chair of the Friends of WOSU board, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with Tom and see firsthand the results of his leadership,” said Kyle Anderson, director of marketing and communication, State Auto Insurance. “Always focused on service to the community, Tom has led WOSU in providing exceptional programming across a variety of ever-expanding platforms. His positive impact on WOSU Public Media and the Central Ohio community at large is immeasurable, and we will benefit from his legacy for years to come.”
Through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, as Central Ohio shut down, Rieland encouraged WOSU staff to pivot to meet the immediate needs of the community across all its media platforms. Because of Rieland’s careful stewardship, no WOSU staffers were laid off or furloughed during the unprecedented crisis.
A national leader in public media, Rieland is completing his second term on the PBS Board of Directors, has chaired the board of the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) and twice served as president of the Ohio Educational Television Stations. He served on the Columbus Bicentennial Commission and a number of nonprofit boards including the United Way of Central Ohio and currently the Gateway Film Center.
Rieland, 65, started his career as a teenage disc jockey for several radio stations across western Wisconsin, where he grew up. He worked as a TV reporter at four ABC network stations before pursuing his master’s degree at the University of Mississippi. He soon became director of its Communications Center leaving in 1989 to direct the Center for Public TV and Radio at the University of Alabama before being hired in 2002 by Ohio State to lead WOSU Public Media.
As the author of Sparks Flew – WOSU’s Century on the Air from Ohio State Press (2019), Rieland reveals the story of Ohio State’s and WOSU’s role in creating what is today PBS and NPR.
Tom Rieland and his wife Carol have two grown daughters and will remain in Columbus, which he considers the best city in America. “I have a great many pursuits planned and spending more time with family and friends is number one, but we also want to continue to volunteer and be part of helping the Columbus community,” Rieland concluded.
Ohio State has selected the public media executive recruiting firm NETA Consulting to conduct a national search for WOSU’s next general manager.
About WOSU Public Media
The mission of WOSU Public Media is to engage, inform and inspire our diverse community. An NPR and PBS affiliate licensed by The Ohio State University, WOSU is a noncommercial multimedia organization serving over two million citizens in Central Ohio through broadcast, digital, programming, public engagement and education experiences. Learn more at wosu.org.