LaFontaine OliverPresident and General Manager, WYPR
LaFontaine E. Oliver was named president and general manager of Your Public Radio Corporation (WYPR) in Baltimore in July of 2019 after six years at WMFE in Orlando, Florida. During his first year at WYPR, Oliver helped launch a new health reporting desk and the weekday podcast, The Daily Dose, as a vital source of the most relevant news to the community about the COVID-19 health pandemic and the state's response. Although tumultuous, the year 2020 saw a historic high for audience ratings, demonstrating the appeal and importance of WYPR's brand of public radio in Baltimore.
At WMFE, Oliver oversaw the expansion of its newsroom and local news coverage, adding beat reporters, expanding its public affairs program, and launching an award-winning health desk. Under Oliver's leadership, major efforts included spearheading community engagement efforts to get the station better connected to diverse and underserved communities and spearheading a marketing campaign designed to encourage active listening and civil discourse in the community with 90.7 WMFE acting as the conduit.
In September 2017, Oliver was instrumental in acquiring sister station 89.5 WMFV serving The Villages, Leesburg and The Golden Triangle (Eustis – Mt. Dora – Tavares) that went on the air March 3, 2017. Oliver and staff flew to Puerto Rico in October 2017 to deliver equipment to help get a fellow public radio station back on the air after Hurricane Maria.
Oliver returns to Baltimore after a successful stint running WEAA licensed to Morgan State University, from 2007 to 2013. There he launched a daily syndicated talk show, and his work in growing the station garnered him an invitation to present to HBCU presidents and vice presidents at the Annual White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities Conference in Washington, DC in 2009.
Locally, Oliver serves on the Board of Advisors of the University of Maryland School of Social Work. Nationally, Oliver is in his second year as chair of the NPR Board where he is serving a second term as a member director.
Recently, Oliver was named CEO and President of Your Public Radio Corporation after leading efforts to acquire WTMD from Towson University in an effort to preserve the beloved music discovery format. The deal for the purchase of WTMD closed in November 2021 bringing the two powerhouse local public radio stations together.
In May 2022, Your Public Radio and The Baltimore Banner, a multi-platform news organization established by The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism, announced a joint operating agreement that will allow the nonprofit organizations to work collaboratively to deliver quality journalism across the state. This agreement provides an opportunity to expand the reach of each organization's newsroom to strengthen local news by leveraging both platforms to reach a broader audience and expanding their distribution channels to include, radio, podcasts, video, data and visual journalism.
In 2021, WYPR received a record number of industry awards for its work in 2020 garnering seven First Place awards, five Second Place awards and one Best in Show award from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association, two PMJA awards, two Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and one National Edward R. Murrow Award. In 2022, WYPR received several industry awards for its work in 2021 including five First Place awards and seven Second Place awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association, three wins and two finalist awards from the Washington, D.C., Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and three Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.
In his over 20 plus-year broadcast career, Oliver has been involved in several commercial and public media initiatives to grow service to diverse audiences. Oliver holds an MBA from the University of Baltimore and Towson University and a BA in Business Administration from the University of Miami.
Oliver enjoys golf, live music and the theater. He has two adult children and resides in Ednor Gardens-Lakeside with his wife, Denise.