July 13, 2021

Erika Pulley-Hayes Named New General Manager At WAMU 88.5

Erika Pulley-Hayes has been named the new general manager of WAMU, Washington, D.C.’s, NPR news station, which is licensed by American University.

Pulley-Hayes has been a leader in public media since 2005. She comes to WAMU from Orlando where she serves as the president and CEO of Community Communications, Inc., an NPR affiliate. She has been leading operations and resource allocation for Community Communications’ two stations, WMFE in Orlando and WMFV in The Villages. Pulley-Hayes also serves on the NPR Board of Directors.

Pulley-Hayes previously served as radio vice president at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, where she directed several initiatives within the public radio system. She was integral to the development of the Community Service Grant program, which provides the largest source of funding for public radio.

“Erika is an extraordinary and accomplished leader in public media,” said Seth Grossman, American University’s vice president of people and external affairs and chief of staff. “With her impressive background at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and leading an NPR affiliate and extensive management experience, Erika is the perfect general manager to build on WAMU’s strengths and lead it to an even brighter future. We are excited to welcome her to WAMU and American University and back to Washington, D.C.”

As general manager, Pulley-Hayes will, in partnership with the team at WAMU, develop and implement a vision for the future of WAMU’s broadcast and digital programming, community engagement, and financial strategies. She will oversee all aspects of WAMU’s operations and a staff of more than 100, and she will serve as WAMU’s ambassador to the Washington, D.C. region and the public media system. Pulley-Hayes will ensure that WAMU continues to serve those who live and work in the region and deepen its relationships with its diverse communities.

Since August 2020, WAMU has made significant strides in building a strong foundation for better supporting its staff and serving the community. These efforts include a newly established board of advisors to support the station in strategic and financial planning and to foster community outreach and philanthropy; a multiyear plan to reshape WAMU and DCist’s newsroom in order to better cover critical local issues and serve under-represented voices in the community; and the development of a series of measures to enhance the workplace culture at WAMU by a staff-led task force.

“I consider WAMU to be my home station for the 20 years I spent living and working in the region,” said Pulley-Hayes. “To say I’m thrilled about this opportunity would be an understatement. I look forward to connecting with the staff and the greater community through conversations, and I look forward to working on building a sustainable pathway for success for WAMU. Being able to do all that and return to Washington, D.C., is a bonus.”

WAMU led a nationwide search for a new general manager with assistance from executive search firm partner Russell Reynolds Associates and an internal search advisory committee. The search advisory committee was made up of employees and key stakeholders from American University and WAMU.

Pulley-Hayes will take the helm of WAMU on August 30, 2021.

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