Anthony V. Hayes. Photo courtesy of WMHT Public Media.

WMHT Public Media names nationally recognized leader in public media Anthony V. Hayes as president and CEO

A New York native with nearly 25 years of public media experience, most recently as chief operating officer and general manager of New England Public Media, Anthony V. Hayes is the sixth individual to lead WMHT in its 70-year history.

Albany — On Tuesday, January 17, WMHT Public Media, a multichannel public communications organization serving Eastern New York and Western New England, announced the appointment of Anthony V. Hayes as its next president and chief executive officer. A nationally recognized figure in public media with nearly 25 years of experience in the industry, Hayes will become the sixth individual, and first Black person, to lead WMHT since its founding in 1953. He was selected following a national search conducted by Livingston Associates, a leading search firm in public media.

Hayes is set to begin his new role on January 23, replacing Robert Altman, who is retiring after 15 years as president and CEO of WMHT.

A Queens, N.Y. native, Hayes earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication & Media Arts at New York Institute of Technology, and a Master of Arts in Media Entrepreneurship at American University in Washington, D.C. Most recently, he served as the chief operating officer and general manager of New England Public Media (NEPM) in Springfield, Mass. Hayes was instrumental in the creation of NEPM through the merger of public television station WGBY-TV, which he led as General Manager, with New England Public Radio. The resulting NEPM is an integrated organization that delivers a broad array of locally produced programs and educational resources across TV, radio, online, and mobile platforms.

Prior to his work at NEPM, Hayes held roles as senior vice president for engagement at Connecticut Public Broadcasting in Hartford, Conn.; director of corporate marketing and sponsorship sales WAMU, American University Radio in Washington, D.C.; and manager of corporate marketing and sponsorship sales at public TV and radio stations WETA in Arlington, Va.

Hayes is currently an elected member of the Board of Trustees of nonprofit membership organization America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), which, according to WMHT, ensures a strong and financially sound public television system, and a member of The Association of Black Business and Professionals.

Chair of the WMHT Board of Trustees Shelby Schneider said, “Anthony is the right person at the right time to lead WMHT Public Media into an exciting future. We are exceptionally fortunate to welcome a respected public media executive with an impeccable reputation: a proven leader, recognized visionary, prolific fundraiser, and community advocate committed to local programming. He is a superb choice who will raise WMHT’s profile as an essential public service provider dedicated to uplifting the lives of the people and communities we are entrusted to serve.”

According to a press release shared with the The Edge by WMHT, Hayes is a firm believer in the power and purpose of public media to educate, inform, enlighten, and enrich society, and he is eager to understand how WMHT Public Media can best serve the needs of people and communities throughout its coverage area, which runs north to the Adirondack region, east to the Berkshires, south to Westchester County, and west to the Schoharie Valley. WMHT shares that Hayes plans to gather firsthand input by engaging with regional stakeholders, and by conducting a listening tour to hear directly from viewers, listeners, members, donors, and residents. They state that, informed by community feedback and guided by the organization’s Strategic Plan, Hayes is committed to expanding the development and production of local content across all of its platforms, from public television and radio to digital media and educational services.

According to the press release, “[Hayes] is passionate about supporting and advancing regional initiatives to empower diversity, equity and inclusion by delivering programs and services that expand thinking and challenge assumptions—both of which are fundamental to WMHT’s mission—and address the needs of underserved audiences, especially children and people of color.”

According to WMHT, Hayes says, “I have long admired the impressive legacy that Robert, the exceptional staff, and forward-thinking board of trustees have built at WMHT Public Media, and I’m honored to lead its next generation from a position of organizational and fiscal strength. I look forward to learning from our valued members, donors, partners, viewers, listeners, and communities, and to delivering timely and relevant content, innovating on current and new platforms, expanding our reach and impact, and increasing and diversifying our revenue streams. I am also eager to nurture my passion for active and purposeful community involvement through service to our region’s worthy and invaluable nonprofit organizations.”

Robert Altman, whom Hayes is replacing as president and CEO of WMHT, says “there could not be a more perfect time for this transition, nor a more perfect person to take the reins of WMHT than Anthony.”