As Executive Director of the Technology Research Center and NPR Labs, Mike Starling is responsible for spearheading new public service technology initiatives on behalf of NPR and NPR member stations. Thanks to his efforts, and the skilled work of his team of engineers and technologists, radio developments in the United States have increasingly focused on new public service outcomes. From multicasting on new HD Radio channels to public service spectrum initiatives and accessible public radio services for the visually and hearing impaired, NPR Labs has been at the forefront of recent broadcast radio developments.
Starling's career in broadcasting includes stints at commercial and public radio stations in both management and engineering positions. He was the founder and manager of commercial AM station WKYY in Amherst, Virginia (1976-1980); chief engineer at NPR member station KPBS-FM in San Diego (1980-1989); and an engineering consultant for numerous broadcast facilities in the United States and Africa. Starling was Director of Technical Operations for NPR and led the network's operating transition to the current world headquarters in 1994. Starling was appointed a vice president at NPR in 1998, and he was named CTO in 2002 and Executive Director of NPR Labs in 2005.
Starling edited and oversaw the Society of Broadcast Engineers/NPR Certification Handbook in 1991, wrote the chapter on audio reproduction systems for the 1997 Electronics Handbook, and authored the audio recording systems chapter of the 9th and 10th editions of the NAB Engineering Handbook. He is amateur radio operator KB4TM; Board member emeritus of the Richardson Maritime Museum in Cambridge, Maryland; a Board member and Chair of the Radio Subcommittee of the North American Broadcasters Association, a founder of the Association of Public Radio Engineers, and also happens to be a lawyer.
Starling is the 2004 recipient of the International Association of Audio Information Services C. Stanley Potter award; was the Tomorrow Radio project leader, which earned NPR a 2005 "Cool Stuff" award; and was also named Engineer of the Year 2005 by Radio World and a multiple recipient of Radio Ink's "Most Admired Engineers in Radio" (2005, 2006, 2009). He also teaches Media and Film Law & Regulation at Towson University.