Torey Malatia is the Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Media and serves as the President of the Board of Directors of Chicago Public Media, Incorporated. Torey is the leader of the institution responsible for the fulfillment of its stated public mission, its editorial integrity, its fiscal health, and the vitality of its role in civic and cultural life.
Torey joined the staff of Chicago Public Media in July 1993 as vice president of Programming, and was soon appointed station manager in 1995. In 1996, he became president and general manager. In 1995, he co-founded, with Ira Glass, This American Life, a weekly radio series for which Glass and Malatia jointly received a George Foster Peabody Award in 1996. He received the 2003 Public Radio International (PRI) Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In 2001, he was inducted into the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame as the first not-for-profit representative to receive this honor.
He is a leader in public media strategic thinking in the United States, and has written and lectured extensively about public media's role as a public trust. He serves on the board of the Public Radio Exchange, Incorporated in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For nearly ten years he was a trustee of the Station Resource Group, Incorporated, a non-profit public media think-tank in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Torey has been a prime advocate for deepening the institution's local services. He spearheaded the purchase of the stations that were to become WBEW-FM in Chesterton, WBEQ-FM in Morris, and an Elgin translator. He built community commitment to journalism in its deepest form when he began establishing a series of neighborhood bureaus, each staffed with a full-time repoprter devoted to in-depth coverage of issues, investigative work, and convening community discussions about issues. He established a series of internships and mentorships that went beyond volunteers enrolled in academic programs to paid internships for talented budding journalists throughout the area, including the sought-after Pritzker Fellowship program established in 2010.
Under his leadership, Chicago Public Media has developed its most significant national initiatives and programs, including The Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2000, Sound Opinions in 2005, and Wait, Wait. . . Don’t Tell Me!, a co-production with National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. in 1998. He developed Vocalo in 2007 to serve the significant number of young, multi-racial and multi-ethnic residents not traditionally drawn to public media. Vocalo attracts user-created content online, which is broadcast on-air on WBEW-FM. Vocalo exploits the unique ability of first-person narrative to provide insight to issues. Others of numerous award-winning local programs are Torey's concepts, among them Metropolis in 1994, Odyssey and Eight Forty-Eight, both in 1998.
Since his arrival, the organization has won four Peabody awards, the Prix Italia, and the DuPont Columbia Journalism award, among many others.
Torey began his career in radio in 1972 as a part-time announcer for former commercial classical station KHEP-FM in Phoenix, Arizona. After college and graduate school, he returned to KHEP-FM in 1979, becoming its music director in 1982. In 1985, he became program director for the Boston Globe’s classical station KONC-FM, also in Phoenix.
Torey moved to his first home, Chicago, to work for commercial classical station WFMT 98.7 FM, where he designed and led the programming of WFMT’s Beethoven Satellite Network, a classical music format service that grew from 3 to 150 public radio affiliates during his tenure. In the early 1990s, he became director of programming for KUOW 94.9 FM, Seattle’s public radio station, before returning to Chicago to work for the Capital Cities/ABC-owned WLS 890 AM and FM.
Torey was a columnist for the Phoenix alternative weekly New Times for 5 years, covered stories for the Scottsdale Daily Progress for eight years, and has written for Phoenix Magazine, Chicago Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times.
Torey has an M.A. and B.A. in English Literature from Arizona State University and pursued postgraduate study at the University of Toronto in Middle English literature at U of T’s Medieval Centre.
Born and reared in Oak Park, Illinois, Torey resides in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago with his wife, artist Elizabeth Carson Manley.