SMELLS LIKE JOURNALISM: Karen Heller Lowers The Boom On Overpaid WHYY Chief, Tells Readers To Stop Giving To Station Until He Gives Back Or Gives Up


BY KAREN HELLER OF THE INQUIRER As president and chief executive officer of [WHYY, Bill] Marrazzo makes a very for-profit salary, $430,786 and an additional $56,250 in benefits during fiscal year 2006. For those of you playing at home, the president of the United States makes $400,000. There’s a solution to such obscene salaries and perks, highly profitable payments for heads of nonprofits: Stop giving.

WHYY is a wonderful radio station, thanks largely to Terry Gross and the Fresh Air staff, and Marty Moss-Coane and Radio Times, plus national news from NPR. The television station is another matter entirely, stuffed with self-help infomercials, ancient English sitcoms and Lawrence Welk who, last time I checked, is still dead. Listed under the station’s “special productions” are 17 shows, mostly half-hour documentaries many years old.

Marrazzo’s obscene salary, and the lack of station-generated television programming, got him named No. 2 on the watchdog group Charity Navigator’s 10 Highly Paid CEOs at Low-Rated Charities. (Full disclosure: My husband works at the public radio station WXPN. No one there earns anything close to this salary.)

When you give to a charity, you should know that your money is helping original programs, not an endless loop of old shows and overpayment of the president. I stopped giving to WHYY, despite being an admirer of the radio station and having a thing for Jim Lehrer, and I won’t give until the board sees the absurdity of Marrazzo’s salary or he voluntarily takes a pay cut or a more enlightened leader is selected.



From the Department of Inconvenient Facts: Down The Rabbit Hole Of WHYY


BY JONATHAN VALANIA* In the interest of fairness and balance, we thought we’d offer a brief counterpoint to our nearly ceaseless boosterism of NPR and its local affiliate, WHYY. (And when we say WHYY, we are talking radio — the TV station is dead to us. Dead!) Frankly, we’ve been zoning out a bit during the current begathon — hell, we’re paid up members so we’re pretty much immune to the guilt trip — although it did work once, that’s how we became members in the first place. So anyway, this week when WHYY was pinching-off our IV of NPR to make their sales pitch, we got to Googling. Now this Google thing is amazing, you find the darndest stuff on there! For instance, there’s this site called Guidestar, and they’re sort of a non-profit watchdog web site thingamabob. The most recent data they have is from 2003-2004, when Terry Gross earned $162,052, plus a $12,214 contribution to employee benefits. (TOTALLY worth it). Marty Moss-Coane earned $99,851, plus $12,172 in bennies. Nothing to sneeze at, but it seems a little stingy, not to mention short-sighted, when you consider that this lady is the goddamn future of WHYY’s radio franchise, because let’s face it: As much as we love Terry Gross, she pretty much just docks her golden national rep here. Marty can and does do national, but she represents. So it seems weird that Marty is paid less than Nessa Forman, spokesperson, who made $103,989 and $6,857 in bennies. (Spokesperson? Marty’s a spokesperson. People like Nessa, bless her heart, write press releases and make sure pieces like this don’t get written.) But all that’s peanuts compared to station President and CEO Bill Marazzo (pictured above, to the far left of the Mad Hatter), who made $350,530 in salary, $90,524 in bennies. He also had a $20,586 expense account. That’s a total compensation of $461K. Not only does that makes him the highest-paid station honcho in public radio, that’s roughly the amount of money that will be raised during this current fundraiser. Just sayin’.

GUIDESTAR: It Cannot Tell A Lie
CROOKS & LIARS: Marra Liasson Is Either A Fool For The Status Quo Or A RNC Stooge

This entry was posted on Friday, May 12th, 2006 at 1:40 am.
*Now it can be told

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *