CHICAGO (December 4, 2023) – After 14 years of service as a board member from 2010 to 2020 and as CEO since 2020, Matt Moog has announced he will step down as CEO of Chicago Public Media, home of WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times. Moog will remain in his role until a new CEO is hired to ensure continuity and a smooth transition for the organization. Chicago Public Media’s Board of Directors will launch a full search for a new CEO in early 2024.
Moog said, “I plan to return to my roots as a technology entrepreneur. I feel a great sense of gratitude for the Board, staff, and supporters who embraced the opportunity to combine two great news organizations in a bold effort to serve the greater Chicago community with independent local journalism.”
During Moog’s tenure, Chicago Public Media completed the acquisition of the Chicago Sun-Times to create the largest local nonprofit newsroom in the country and establish a new model that has inspired others to bring together public media and private news organizations to serve the community. The organization is well-positioned to fulfill its mission to strengthen the well-being of our local communities and our democracy through independent journalism.
The acquisition of the Sun-Times more than doubled the size of Chicago Public Media’s audience, which has since grown to 4.5 million weekly listeners and readers across broadcast, print, and digital platforms. Chicago Public Media’s audience is now demographically and geographically representative of the full diversity of the Chicago region.
“When I joined Chicago Public Media five years ago, the combination of two organizations like WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times seemed unimaginable,” said Tracy Brown, chief content officer for Chicago Public Media. “The months-long acquisition process in 2021, working alongside Matt and other key players, yielded one of the most important local news initiatives for Chicago and the country. It changed the way the industry viewed the possibilities of public media and legacy newspapers. It also positioned Chicago Public Media to produce some of its most significant and important collaborative journalism. As Matt transitions over the next several months, we are both committed to sustaining journalism excellence.”
The combined power of the newsrooms has produced high-impact, award-winning journalism that has held power to account, informed the public, and told stories that matter about the community.
Under Moog, 35 new roles have been filled over the last two years, with 80 percent of those in the newsroom. Due in part to the excellent work and partnership with Chicago Public Media’s employee-led DEI Council, the organization has the most diverse staff in its history and is on track to reach its goal of fully reflecting the diverse community that it serves.
The digital transformation of the organization is well underway. Digital audiences are growing rapidly, with over 85 percent of the total audience using digital platforms. In October 2022, the Chicago Sun-Times dropped its paywall and launched a voluntary membership program. The Chicago Sun-Times monthly website audience has grown 70 percent since then, and nearly 20,000 Chicagoans have stepped forward to become supporting members.
Chicago Public Media also recently completed a comprehensive strategic plan that will guide its work over the next three years.
With Moog at the helm, Chicago Public Media has garnered strong philanthropic support, including the $61 million raised to acquire and fund the Sun-Times for five years. During the transition, Moog will continue to lead the acceleration of the organization’s digital transformation and generation of new sources of revenue to ensure a sustainable future.
Adrienne King, chair of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Board of Directors, said, “We are grateful for Matt’s vision and leadership as we combined these two great news organizations. Thanks to the hard work of Matt and his team, we believe that Chicago Public Media, inclusive of the Sun-Times and WBEZ, is well-positioned to help Chicago realize its full potential as a city that is vibrant, inclusive, and equitable. We are excited about our collective future and wish Matt well in his future endeavors.”
Robert Pasin, the chair of the Chicago Public Media Board, said, “Matt’s experiences as a long-time Board member and technology entrepreneur uniquely qualified him to create one of the largest nonprofit newsrooms in the country. His impact spanned raising significant funds from major foundations and donors, developing a new strategic plan, and accelerating a digital transformation. We are grateful for his vision and accomplishments through the years and look forward to seeing what innovative venture he pursues next.”