Nashville Public Radio’s new CEO Steve Swenson has been on the job just over a month, and he’s hit the ground running. You might recall our announcement about his arrival, but we thought you may like to get a more personal look at our new leader.
Q: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I grew up in the Los Angeles area and I always dreamed of becoming a baseball play-by-play announcer because my hero was the great Vin Scully who called the Dodger games when they were in Brooklyn and subsequently in Southern California.
Q: What made you decide to consider a move to Nashville and to work for Nashville Public Radio?
A: I’ve spent my career in commercial radio primarily working for CBS News radio stations. With the large corporate takeovers of most commercial radio stations, the driving forces of quarterly Wall Street performance have undermined the public service focus. I’m so excited to be part of Nashville Public Radio and be part of a civic news organization which is driven by its mission of serving the local community. Much of my adult life has been living in the large cities of Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC. I am so excited to now be part of a mid-sized community that has so much energy and civic pride. Plus, everyone is SO much nicer here!
Q. What can listeners expect to change or stay the same at WPLN and 91Classical in the next year?
A: Democracy and journalism are interdependent. Our goal at WPLN is to be an integral civic news organization devoted to being the eyes and ears for the public; connecting our communities through strong, nonpartisan journalism, civil discourse and compelling story telling. We need to grow to have an even greater impact which means adding journalists to help us better serve our audience. WFCL is a unique and special cultural institution in Nashville devoted to classical lovers, helping them get to their happy place. Our growth goals for 91Classical are to actively engage our communities with many more events.
Q: Do you consider yourself to be a foodie? Any favorite Nashville restaurants so far? Any places on your “must try” list?
A: I love restaurants and enjoy the experience of eating in great foodie places. Some of my early favorites are Rolf & Daughters, 5th and Taylor, Henrietta Red, and Butchertown Hall. Sense a theme there? Germantown!
Q: What do you like to do for fun outside of the office?
A: Besides experiencing new restaurants, my husband and I love traveling. It fills our souls and we are great travel mates. But, top of my list outside of the office is escaping to our home on Nantucket. It is definitely my happy place, an island 30 miles out to sea. And it has great restaurants!
Have any restaurants, neighborhoods or local attractions that you’d like Steve to know about in Middle Tennessee? Send ’em now!