Published: May 23, 2018 By

After 40 years as the leader and visionary of Colorado Public Radio, Max Wycisk is stepping down from his position as president on June 30. 


Max Wycisk. CPR photo

Wycisk earned his master’s and PhD degrees in English in 1968 and 1972, respectively, at the University of Colorado Boulder. As a student, he was intrigued by subjects that involved “thinking about how people learned through the centuries.” 

Thinking and learning have been central to his career. 

Wycisk joined the radio station in 1974 as an on-air announcer, later becoming program director and finally, in 1978, president. 

Heis responsible for transforming CPR from a single-signal radio station in Denver to today’s statewide network, providing Coloradans with “in-depth, thoughtful and meaningful news and music,” CPR’s website states.

After graduation, a mutual friend helped Wycisk begin volunteering at the radio station. With a strong commitment to education, CPR seemed the perfect fit, as “it’s all about helping people learn,” he said. 

Wycisk has helped develop the organization’s influence, audience and staff. He attributed this growth to the employees who have dedicated long hours and careful thought to the station. He predicted that in five to 10 years, the number of staff working at the organization will double. 

Wycisk has focused on “developing young talent” at the organization. Annually, CPR hires two recent graduates who work for a year in the station’s fellowship program. This program caters to the applicants’ interests, finding a place in the organization where they will thrive. 

Today, there are three components of CPR. First is CPR News, which keeps local communities informed about the latest political, environmental and social news. A continual mission of CPR is to be a source of information that Coloradans can trust, because, according to Wycisk, it is becoming “more difficult to know the reliability of journalism.” 

CPR also has two music stations—CPR Classical and CPR OpenAir. After the loss of a local radio station that played classical music, CPR took on the responsibility of programming classical music to fill the void.

CPR’s OpenAir is an alternative music station that focuses on new, promising local artists. With the “active music scene” in Colorado, CPR is giving bands a platform and an audience. 

CPR is available on the radio airwaves, as well as in a digital format. 

Wycisk’s retirement marks the end of an era for CPR, but he is confident the organization will thrive and succeed without him. 

“There is no way I could continue for another five to 10 years,” he said. 

Wycisk said he was unsure about his plan for his retirement.