Season two kicks off with Jarl Mohn, my former boss at E! Entertainment Television and retired CEO of NPR. Jarl Mohn describes the evolution of his fascinating career in the media industry — that stemmed from his experience in a group home as a child and a love of radio as his escape. Our focal points were social justice issues in LA County, the importance of the arts and emerging artists in LA, and Jarl Mohn’s personal art collection, including a three and a quarter ton Michael Heizer rock. We get a pro tip on how to open up our minds and creativity by looking at art! Jarl also explains his belief in the unique value of public radio today, as well as the importance of good content across all media platforms in a world of subscription competition. We discuss the progress and challenges of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the media industry, the value of good content marketing and the power of good communication and relationship-building by executives.
To wrap it up, you’ll learn the funny story behind the internet sensation of socks featuring Jarl’s face! So, this is a true head to toe interview with one of the best in the business.
This is an edited version of an episode of my podcast, “Insider Interviews” in which Jarl focused more on the business of media. For It’s Quite a Living, I’m including extra content about his personal side, including more on his experience in foster care, coinciding with National Foster Care Month. Whether or not yours is QUITE the living, this is a celebration of those who lead fulfilling lives and enjoy every moment.
Show Notes for Episode of “It’s Quite a Living” with Host, E.B. Moss, and former CEO of NPR and philanthropist, Jarl Mohn:
[00:02:11] E.B. Moss reminisces about Jarl starting E! Entertainment Television.
[00:02:23] Jarl shares his career journey that got him there, starting as a disc jockey, meeting Bob Pittman (current CEO, iHeartMedia) and transitioning into the cable TV industry via MTV with Bob, then helming E!
[00:04:10] Jarl shares more about his challenging upbringing in foster care (just as other successful individuals like Steve Jobs and Tiffany Haddish found their way to success.
[00:06:29] Jarl reflects on his traumatic experience in a children’s home and how his love for radio provided an escape.
[00:09:29] E.B. Moss recalls Jarl’s humanizing approach as CEO of Entertainment Television and the lasting impact it had on employees.
[00:10:42] Jarl discusses his travels with Michael Govin, visiting NPR stations across the country, fostering connections, and gaining insight into local communities.
[00:13:11] Jarl expresses his appreciation for the unique value of public radio and its storytelling capabilities, while acknowledging challenges in the music format.
[00:14:30] E.B. mentions Jarl’s gift to all 251 NPR member stations, for which he received a mug from each station that have garnered attention on Instagram — and from visitors to his home where they are all proudly displayed.
[00:15:05] E.B. notes Jarl’s passion for traditional media and the increasing popularity of streaming services, prompting a discussion on the importance of quality content across different mediums.
[00:16:36] E.B. asks Jarl about the progress made by the media industry regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Jarl emphasizes the importance of these issues in various sectors, including the arts.
[00:18:21] Jarl describes his philanthropic efforts, focusing on social justice and the arts in Los Angeles County. He mentions collaborations with organizations like the ACLU, Hammer Museum, and LA nomadic division’s Land Grant project.
[00:21:58] Jarl discusses his personal art collection and highlights a notable piece that involved a Herculean effort to install a 3-ton boulder by artist Michael Heizer.
[00:25:46] Jarl explains his love for art — whether its works he “likes” or not — for its impact on creativity and problem-solving. He encourages individuals to explore art that challenges their preferences, as it can open up new perspectives.
[00:27:34] E.B. surprises Jarl with a mention of the “Jarl Mohn faces on socks,” and he explains their origin as a lighthearted going-away gift from NPR, which Jarl later distributed to fans through social media.
Don’t miss this insightful and entertaining conversation with Jarl Mohn, where he shares his thoughts on the changing media landscape, the importance of diversity, and the joy of supporting emerging artists and enjoying art in all its forms. Tune in to gain a unique perspective from a seasoned media executive turned philanthropist.
Donation Opportunities and more information on supporting Foster Care:
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