CNN Digital’s Rachel Smolkin To Lead Oregon Public Broadcasting


Oregon Public Broadcasting has announced CNN Senior Vice President Rachel Smolkin as its new CEO. She succeeds Steve Bass, who announced his impending retirement last year. She will continue working at CNN until July and then transition to OPB by September.

Smolkin’s tenure at CNN began in 2014 as an Executive Editor. She was tasked with modernizing CNN Digital’s politics coverage to cater to a multi-platform, mobile-centric audience. Her responsibilities further expanded to oversee national, international, business, and live news segments for CNN Digital.

OPB operates more than 20 radio signals broadcasting to the Pacific Northwest.

Her appointment follows a national search facilitated by Spencer Stuart, culminating in her selection by OPB’s board for her extensive media experience and fresh perspective on digital transformation.

Smolkin’s vision for OPB includes developing a model of multi-platform, nonprofit regional journalism that could set a new national standard. She said, “I believe deeply in the public service mission. I believe that our country urgently needs strong local and regional news reporting. OPB is a leader in this space now with a deep commitment to public service and a strong business model sustained by the generosity and dedication of our members. And we can continue to build on that.”

OPB Board chair Rukaiyah Adams praised Smolkin’s capabilities, noting, “The work she’s done at CNN to make it the largest digital platform in the world for news is exactly the kind of talent and scale that we need to be thinking about,” adding, “As we celebrated our first 100 years, we were looking for a dynamic leader to chart the way forward during this time of transformational change in media. Rachel will advance our work with deep experience in journalism, wide professional networks and adaptive leadership skills.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here