The importance of being Paul La Camera

Paul La Camera

Congratulations to Paul La Camera, who last week announced that he’ll retire as general manager of WBUR Radio (90.9 FM) at the end of the year.

“I’m going to be 68 next month, and I think that’s an appropriate expiration date for someone to be running a dynamic contemporary media entity that increasingly has to surge into the digital world,” La Camera was quoted as saying in a story by WBUR’s Steve Brown. La Camera added that he plans to continue in an “ambassadorial role” for the station.

La Camera, the longtime head of WCVB-TV (Channel 5), took the helm of WBUR in 2005, as the Boston University-licensed public radio station was just beginning to recover from the financial problems that had ended the reign of his predecessor, Jane Christo.

The imperious Christo was a much-admired, much-detested executive who transformed ‘BUR into one of the best public radio stations in the country. But what La Camera did was at least as important: he calmed the waters, restored financial stability and expanded the station’s local presence.

“He was really the guy who brought stability back to the place,” Scott Fybush, editor of Northeast Radio Watch, told the Boston Globe’s Johnny Diaz.

In 2006 I profiled La Camera for CommonWealth Magazine. Noting that he had already retired once (from WCVB), he told me: “You can probably count on the fact that I won’t be here for 33 1/2 years. I haven’t given much thought to when I’m next going to retire. But whenever that time comes, I hope I’m going to be more successful at it than I was the last time.”

(Note: I’m a paid contributor to WGBH-TV/Channel 2 and an occasional unpaid contributor to WGBH Radio/89.7 FM, which earlier this year was retooled into a news and public-affairs outlet that competes with WBUR.)

La Camera is a great broadcasting executive as well as a good guy, and though he’s not going away, his day-to-day presence will be missed.

About these ads