For immediate release
February 25, 2003
Contact:
Jenny Lawhorn,
202-513-2754,
jlawhorn@npr.org

NPR Names Michael Riksen as Vice President for National Affairs

WASHINGTON -- NPRŽ has named Michael R. Riksen as its vice president for national affairs, effective March 3rd. In his new post, Mr. Riksen will represent NPR and its membership before Congress, the administration and regulatory agencies. Working closely with key organizations in the public broadcasting community, Mr. Riksen will lead government relations efforts to support and enhance the mission of NPR, the nation's leading nonprofit radio service, and its members, consisting of 271 independent organizations operating more than 700 public radio stations across the United States.

An immediate priority issue Mr. Riksen will manage is communicating to federal government entities the benefits of public radio's planned conversion to digital technology. This challenging and promising technology transition could help public radio stations expand their services by using existing bandwidth to create secondary channels.

"Mike's extensive experience with technology and communications issues will bring tremendous benefits to NPR and public radio stations as we continue to draw new audiences, expand our programming and harness the power of digital radio and other new opportunities," said Kevin Klose, NPR's president and CEO. "An established, known voice, Mike will raise awareness of public radio on the Hill and beyond."

Mr. Riksen comes to NPR with 25 years' experience in government relations and a background in technology and communications. Since 1988, he has served as director of government relations for Harris Corporation, a high-tech manufacturer of communications equipment and systems. From 1983-88, he was manager of legislative affairs for Eaton Corporation, an automotive/industrial component manufacturer. Earlier, Mr. Riksen was the legislative director for Rep. Carl Pursell (R-MI) and senior legislative assistant and press secretary for Rep. Guy VanderJagt (R- MI).

Mr. Riksen's professional associations include a role as private sector staff director of the FCC's Media Security and Reliability Council, whose mission is to prepare a comprehensive national strategy for securing and sustaining broadcast and MVPD (multi program video distribution) facilities throughout the United States during terrorist attacks, natural disasters and all other threats or attacks nationwide. Mr. Riksen was a member of the President's Export Council's Subcommittee on Export Administration and a private sector staff advisor for the Defense Policy Advisory Committee on Trade. He holds a bachelor's degree in religion from Hope College in Holland, Michigan.


NPR, renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, serves a growing audience of nearly 20 million Americans each week via more than 680 public radio stations. NPR Online at www.npr.org brings hourly newscasts, news features, commentaries and live events to Internet users through original online reports, audio streaming and other multimedia elements. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.