Caryn G. Mathes joined WAMU 88.5 as General Manager on March 1, 2005. In addition to its flagship frequency, WAMU 88.5 operates Bluegrass Country 105.5, Intersection, 88.3 Ocean City, and the digital platform wamu.org. Reaching an audience of 787,000* weekly listeners on air and 67,000 online, WAMU 88.5 currently ranks No. 1 among public radio stations nationally.
During her tenure, WAMU 88.5 has strengthened its position as a national and international provider of news and culture, boasting syndicated offerings including The Diane Rehm Show, Hot Jazz Saturday Night, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and The Animal House. The station is also home to WAMU 88.5 News, the award-winning team of reporters and digital journalists covering daily news in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
Under her leadership, WAMU 88.5 expanded its major giving program and grew its revenue base, setting a solid foundation for the acquisition of a new media center at 4401 Connecticut Avenue in northwest Washington and the launch of a $20 million philanthropic effort to support the development of new programs and audiences.
In 2007, Mathes received a Women of Distinction Award from the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL), presented annually to women leaders who have made extraordinary accomplishments in their professions or their communities. In 2010, she was named "One to Watch" on Radio Ink's annual "Most Influential African-Americans in Radio" list.
Mathes is a Member Director of the Board of Directors of NPR and also serves on the boards of University Station Alliance (USA) and Eastern Region Public Media (ERPM) Association. Additionally, she participates in the Major Stations Advisory Group (MSAG) to the Chief Executive Officer of NPR.
Mathes came to Washington in 2005 from WDET-FM in Detroit, where she served as general manager for 21 years and as news director for 2 years. There, she strengthened the local news department, oversaw the creation of new broadcast and transmission facilities, and helped the station build a strong identity in the competitive Detroit market.
Despite a print-focused bachelor's degree in professional journalism from Indiana State University, Mathes embarked on an electronic media career, working her way up to weeknight co-anchor at CBS affiliate WTHI-TV Channel 10 in Terre Haute, Ind., at the age of 19. Mathes held commercial radio reporter/anchor positions at WCKY-AM 1530 in Cincinnati and Detroit’s WJR-AM 760 before making the switch to noncommercial radio in 1982.
*2013 Arbitron, Inc., All rights reserved, Winter Survey 2013, Metro 6+ AQH Persons, Washington, DC Metro, Mon-Sun 6am-Mid
- Kristen Sorensen, Assistant to the General Manager
- Anne Healy, Community Relations Manager and Special Assistant to the General Manager