Nico Leone joined KERA as President and CEO in February 2020.
Previously, Leone served as General Manager of KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri. Under his leadership, KCUR became one of the most collaborative public radio stations in the country. Nico managed the transition of Harvest Public Media from a grant-funded startup into a self-supporting collaboration of five partners. He transformed the Kansas News Service from a stand-alone digital news operation into a collaboration of four public radio stations covering health, education and politics in Kansas.
Under Nico’s direction, KCUR’s newsroom more than doubled in size, the digital audience tripled, the broadcast audience grew by 35% and community financial support of KCUR doubled. These notable accomplishments enabled KCUR to provide thorough, comprehensive coverage in a region where newsroom staffing and coverage were declining at an alarming rate.
In an effort to reach new audiences, Nico created a community engagement team that helped build relationships in the community and increase diversity in sources and voices on air. The community engagement effort included reporting projects such as Beyond Our Borders, a year-long exploration of dividing lines in Kansas City, and audience development strategies such as a robust events series and the launch of Generation Listen KC, a volunteer-led young professionals group.
Nico serves on the board of NPR, the Station Resource Group and Public Radio in Mid-America. Before coming to KCUR, Nico was the Co-Executive Director of KDHX in St. Louis where he oversaw the public-facing operations, managing programming, development, marketing and community outreach. During his time at the station, he oversaw development of major programming and funding strategies. Nico led KDHX through several significant CPB-funded initiatives, including the Station Renewal Project and Leadership for Philanthropy and launched the station’s first capital campaign to fund a new home in Grand Center.
Prior to KDHX, Nico led strategic planning and outcomes-based evaluation for the St. Louis Children’s Agenda, a collaborative network of non-profits, government agencies and businesses focused on child, family and maternal health in St. Louis. Before moving to St. Louis, he worked in a research group at Human Code, a digital media company based in Austin, Texas.