Former journalist Duchesne Drew has been named the next president of Minnesota Public Radio, where he will lead daily operations and programming for MPR News, as well as for the Current and Classical MPR.

“I’m honored to be leading these talented teams and I look forward to helping us serve even more Minnesotans,” Drew said.

He will replace interim president Tim Roesler, who has held the position since mid-November.

Roesler will return to his primary job of developing new business for MPR’s parent company, American Public Media Group.

The only other people to have held the title of MPR president are the network’s founder, Bill Kling, and Jon McTaggart, who will remain CEO of Minnesota Public Radio.

Drew, 52, will be the first person of color to hold the position.

“Inclusion is one of our core values,” said McTaggart, who is also president and CEO of the APM Group. “Duchesne shares our values, and I know he is committed to expanding and deepening relationships that are so important for us to serve curious people in new ways.”

Drew has a long history of advocating for diversity, dating back to his time at the Star Tribune, where he was first hired as a summer intern in the early 1990s. He eventually served as a staff reporter covering education accountability and other issues, and as editor of the paper’s business section.

Star Tribune Editor Rene Sanchez said Drew’s experience as a journalist will serve him well in his new position.

“Duchesne is a strong and caring leader who knows our community exceptionally well,” Sanchez said. “He also is fiercely devoted to the public service mission of journalism and why it’s so vital.”

Drew had risen to managing editor of operations when he left the Star Tribune in 2015 to become a vice president at the St. Paul-based Bush Foundation, where he led the grant-giving organization’s leadership and community innovation programs.

He has also served on various boards, including the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, promoting inclusion every step of the way. Melvin Carter, St. Paul’s first black mayor, has called Drew a mentor.

“The journalism, the community work, the leadership development — both for myself and others — really makes for a great fit for what MPR needs at the moment,” Drew said Tuesday night in a phone interview.

Both Drew and McTaggart acknowledge that the next president will face challenges.

“This is an uncertain and unsettling time, and MPR’s mission — to inform and inspire people — is more important than it’s ever been,” McTaggart wrote in an e-mail Tuesday. “Our audiences and communities need us to be more important, more valuable and more essential, and that opportunity inspires all of us. Duchesne is the right leader for our public services in Minnesota at this extraordinary time.”

Drew will have at least one friendly face when he heads to work. Former WCCO anchor Angela Davis, his wife of nearly 25 years, has been hosting an MPR morning talk show since 2018.

The couple have two teenage children. The family lives in St. Paul with Drew’s mother. He will start his new duties May 4.

 

@nealjustin