William H. Kling (born April 29, 1942) is an American businessman best known for launching Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), an organization he continues to lead. Kling's business savvy has been instrumental in making MPR one of the most powerful public broadcasting organizations in the United States, earning him admirers—and enemies—in the process. Kling is a millionaire, partly due to participating in an incentive plan related to the companies of the Greenspring Company, an MPR-affiliated for-profit corporation.
Kling serves as President and CEO of American Public Media Group (APMG). APMG is the nonprofit parent support organization of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), Southern California Public Radio (SCPR), and American Public Media (APM) and is the sole shareholder of the for-profit Greenspring Company. Kling also serves as CEO of MPR|APM and of Greenspring Company and Vice Chair of SCPR.
As president of MPR|APM, Kling is responsible for MPR’s three regional networks of thirty-eight public radio stations (serving 5 million people in the Minnesota region) and its national program production centers in Saint Paul and Los Angeles. American Public Media is the second largest national producer of public radio programming, following National Public Radio (NPR) in Washington. Southern California Public Radio, which Kling serves as Vice Chair, operates radio stations KPCC (Pasadena) and KUOR (Redlands) under public service operating agreements with their respective licensees. SCPR serves a population of 14 million people in the Los Angeles area. Greenspring, which Kling serves as president, is the parent company for Greenspring Media Group, a diversified regional and national magazine publishing and event management company. In 1998, Greenspring sold another subsidiary, Rivertown Trading Company, to the Target Corporation for $124 million.
Kling's tactics have come under fire as being predatory. MPR, for example, long sought to purchase rival classical-programming public radio station WCAL. It succeeded in 2004, eliminating a competitor for donor funds and switching the station's format to alternative rock.
Kling serves as a director of seven fund boards of the Los Angeles based American Funds mutual fund family, all of which are managed by the Capital Group. These include The New Economy Fund, Smallcap World Fund, AMCAP, American Balanced Fund, The New Perspective Fund, The Euro Pacific Growth Fund and the New World Fund. He is non-executive chair of The New Economy Fund and The Smallcap World Fund.
Kling is a member and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul, which is owned by MPR. He is a Regent of St John’s University. He is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the JL Foundation in Los Angeles. He was an incorporator and founding Director of National Public Radio and the founding Chair and President of Public Radio International, which was formed as a subsidiary of MPR in 1983 and later spun off to independence within months of its founding.
In 2004, he was inducted into the Minnesota Broadcaster's Hall of Fame.
Bill Kling makes a very easy target; But it's silly to beat up on him, other nonprofit execs, over salary.(NEWS)(Editorial)
Mar 03, 2006; It's so easy for a politician to beat up on nonprofits that pay their top people well, and that's ridiculously true of Minnesota...