High Plains Public Radio has filled the executive director position with an experienced leader who will be officially taking the reins in June.
Bob Davis is coming to HPPR from the Anniston Star, in Anniston, Alabama, where he worked for the past 12 years as editor and then publisher/editor.
In his role at the newspaper, Davis oversaw a news operation of more than two dozen employees in two newsrooms, where he helped the publication make its transition from print to digital, while developing the newspaper’s social media presence. He also played a part in the newspaper’s advertising, circulation, new product launches and other revenue-generating initiatives.
He also served on the board of Consolidated Publishing Company, the Anniston Star’s parent corporation.
Prior to working at the Anniston Star, Davis worked as a design editor and OpEd/Sunday editor at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Texas.
Davis has a national reputation and contacts in journalism and with journalism organizations but has a strong understanding about issues facing rural communities.
When asked why he decided to change directions and pursue a position with a public radio station, he said he had been looking for the right opportunity for a couple of years and felt that HPPR fit the bill.
“I’ve had a lifelong fascination with radio and I worked in radio as a college student and I’m quite fond of the medium as a way to connect to people,” Davis said.
In talking with HPPR staff and board members, Davis said another thing that attracted him to the position was the idea of community interwoven throughout HPPR’s approach to regional programming, including news, information and music.
Davis believes in managing organizations so they “punch above their weight class” and believes HPPR can be such an organization.
“At all the news organizations I’ve worked for, we’ve always wanted to aim high,” he said, adding that it has always been his aim to go after stories that oftentimes no one else is going to report. “We’re going to be fair and we’re going to put things in the proper context. And we’re also going to be open to criticism and open to hearing both sides. And that idea fits in with the caliber of folks I’ve encountered at HPPR.”
He also believes that listeners should “hear themselves” in HPPR, through regional programming.
Davis replaces Deb Oyler, who left HPPR in December to take the director position at the Finney County United Way, after serving as HPPR’s executive director for nine years and being with HPPR for a total of 18 years. Oyler remains active as an HPPR volunteer.
Davis said it is Oyler’s legacy that he believes will help him and the rest of the staff take HPPR to the next level.
“She’s going to be a hard act to follow,” he said. “A lot of care and thought had been put into the operations and management of HPPR and that’s the recipe for success.”
He will arrive in Garden City in early June.
He is married to Lisa Davis, an award-winning newspaper columnist and former Alabama public radio commentator. They have two children, Libby, 19, and Hugh, 17. In his spare time, Davis enjoys reading, cycling, hiking and watching politics.