PHILADELPHIA. Whether it was the salary of its CEO or the decision to eliminate its nightly Delaware news program, WHYY has taken some hits in other media outlets.
CEO Bill Marrazzo, who makes more than $400,000 a year, defended the decision to cut WHYY’s Delaware staff and “Delaware Tonight” while putting a new emphasis on Web content and “interactive media” programming.
Marrazzo, who took the helm in 1997 and worked as Philadelphia’s water commissioner, defended his annual salary as comparable with peers in the industry, though a survey of other public broadcasting stations found Marrazzo at the top. But he did return more than $200,000 in deferred compensation this year.
“Over the last 10 years, we’ve not only put the public back into this enterprise, we’ve grown membership revenue … and have a growing percentage of our annual operating budget going into production,” he said.
Temple media studies professor Karen Turner isn’t impressed with WHYY’s editorial output compared to other cities’ public stations and doesn’t think Marrazzo’s salary helps the nonprofit’s perception.
“A friend of mine had contacted WHYY and said, ‘I’m not giving this year,’” Turner said of the publicity from Marrazzo’s salary. “She took the time to say she wasn’t giving this time.”