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MPR executive pay: Kling tops $600,000

The network’s longtime president and CEO tops a list of executives making over $275,000.
By David Brauer

As promised Wednesday, a little spreadsheet crunching on Minnesota Public Radio executive pay. Again, this is based on the nonprofit network’s IRS Form 990, which you can access here. Again, this covers the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008, the most recent available.

Topping the list, of course, is Bill Kling, the president and CEO of the entity officially known as Minnesota Public RadioAmerican Public Media. He made $373,254 in compensation and benefits from MPR/APM, which for the year grossed $82.2 million. Kling’s total take swelled to $606,753, including approximately $180,000 from American Public Media Group (APMG), which controls MPR, and $48,000 from Greenspring, MPR’s for-profit arm.

Other key executives had nice paydays. Executive Vice President Thomas Kigin received $359,000 overall, including $218,000 in his role as Chief Administrative Officer and corporate counsel. Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Jon McTaggart grossed $376,000 overall, with $338,000 from MPR/APM.

Senior VP for Development Jon Gossett made $300,906 all but $245 of it from MPR/APM. Chief Financial Officer Mark Alfuth made $276,614, most of it from APMG. You can find other bigwigs scrolling through the form.

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Is such pay excessive? I’m sure some donors and workers (especially those recently shown the door) will flinch, while others will use this as further evidence that MPR shouldn’t get taxpayer cash. Still, we do have one other media-world data point: the recently bankrupt Star Tribune.

In court filings, the Strib — which in 2008 grossed $246 million, three times more than MPR/APM — disclosed that it paid its CFO $529,000, more than double Alfuth’s pay. The Strib’s top ad guy made $404,000, about $100,000 more than Gossett. In general, the next tier of MPR management makes as much or more than the Strib’s.

I can’t make a publisher-to-Kling comparison because outgoing Strib boss/part-owner Chris Harte worked for no salary after steering his ship into the financial weeds. And it’s worth remembering that MPR — which sits on $110 million in assets and has a growing newsroom — had a far better year than the Strib.

[Update: As noted in my first piece, this information is 19 months old thanks to filing deadlines. Gossett, for example, is no longer with the company, and his national development position was eliminated in June. MPR also cut a vice president for corporate communications.]