Tag Archives: mossappeal

From Foster Care to CEO: Jarl Mohn on Art, Media and the Power of Generosity

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.

Recommended reading: “A Place Called Home”, the memoir of current Amazon executive and foster youth advocate, David Ambroz

[00:06:29] Jarl reflects on his traumatic experience in a children’s home and how his love for radio provided an escape.

Lee Masters (Jarl Mohn) as DJ (and on the socks!)
Bob Pittman and Jarl Mohn (“Lee Masters”) back in the day!

Randall Rothenberg of IAB interviewing Jarl Mohn (NPR) and Bob Pittman (iHeartMedia)








[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:

Find Jarl Mohn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jarlmohn/

Find/Follow It’s Quite a Living everywhere or at: bit.ly/QuiteALivingPodcast

And if you want to support the arts and keep this free podcast — and Insider Interviews Podcast — going, please consider “buying me a coffee” of ANY size!: https://buymeacoffee.com/mossappeal

It’s Quite a Living, Deborah Burns

Deborah Burns and I basically reenacted that line from “Pretty Woman” when we met over hors d’oeuvres at an industry event: “What happens when (s)he rescues the princess? (S)he rescues him right back!”  We bonded over boredom and brie and traded business cards. The kind of exchange that means well, but ends up in the card pile of good intentions.

But fate stepped in and just several days later we each showed up at a totally unrelated cocktail party! And that was the beginning of another relationship with a friend in high places. Deborah, after all, is what I aspire to: the former Chief Innovation Officer of major magazines, such as Elle Decor and Metropolitan Home…turned memoirist and corporate consultant!

Her book, Saturday’s Child, revolves around her evolution from dancing around her emotionally distanced mother with surrogate mothers in the form of two spinster aunts.

My story is one of an emotionally present mother who departed this earth too soon, followed by attempted mothering from two back to back step-mothers.

Let the bonding continue. But some 25 years after her own mother’s passing, Deborah’s epiphanies took the form of beautifully crafted a-ha moments interspersed with humor and insights we can all relate to. Learn how she also learned about “Skirting the Rules” which she’s encouraging others to do, too! I recorded this episode in my home just before we were all staying in our own homes. And, pre-pandemic there was Hollywood buzz for its movie-worthiness, which can hopefully get resurrected.

Either way, expect to hear more from Deborah; as mentioned there’s more in the making from the mind of this marketer-turned-author.  And enjoy the conversation. I sure did.

The Life of a Marketer-Turned-Author: Joseph Jaffe

Joe Jaffe might have been a chemist if he hadn’t fallen off a wall and broken his arm. The world, or at least the media world, is probably grateful to that wall. Hear how the strategist / keynoter / marketer / author turned happenstance into happy existence.

The author of Built to Suck and four other non-fiction books on the state of media, marketing and advertising, tells me about his path from Big Agency life to his consultancy, HMS Beagle…and why it’s even named that! (Think: Darwin…evolution…learning to pivot…).

NOTE: This episode was recorded late 2019, when we were all still going to physical events and recording studios… But this thoughts are, as always, still informative, especially since his current book is about the need to adapt. Coincidentally, he said, “We’ve developed a new kind of strategic planning called survival planning. So what is survival planning? It’s strategic planning in an age of short-termism, risk aversion and constant disruption.” Great for the business minded. For the personal mindset, you’ll appreciate that in this episode, Joe also discusses:
  • His first influencer – a Unilever executive he disagreed with who said, “You’re either a marketer or you’re not.” Turns out Joe might agree now…
  • How his first job at a chicken restaurant led to Madison Avenue…
  • And how his experiences at major agencies led instead to consulting and writing; in fact his blog, JaffeJuice was an early influencer on me!
  • What’s the role of “fate” in your life and how do you recognize your correct path?

You’ll want to listen because as Joe himself says, “The amount of people that have come up to me and have said things like ‘I’ve changed my career path because of you,’ that is an awesome responsibility. It’s almost too much for me to handle, but to inspire people to just make the most of their time, I mean, that’s my calling.”