USC Radio Group names public broadcasting executive as its new president

James A. Muhammad will oversee Classical California, the No. 1 classical music radio station network in the nation, which operates KUSC-FM in Los Angeles and KDFC-FM in San Francisco.

July 27, 2022 USC staff

USC Radio Group, the No. 1 classical music radio station network in the nation, has named public broadcasting executive James A. Muhammad president and CEO.

His appointment is part of the organization’s expanding outreach to diverse audiences throughout the state with its broadcasts on KUSC-FM in Los Angeles and KDFC-FM in San Francisco, streaming services, websites, social media, YouTube channel and live events.

Muhammad is currently president and CEO of Lakeshore Public Media, which serves the Northwest Indiana and Chicago areas. Under his leadership, Lakeshore Public Media has grown to become a nationally recognized operation known for promoting independent producers, collaborating with other public media outlets and reaching new audiences in the digital space.

Under Muhammad’s direction, Lakeshore Public Media has received a Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award, a Gold Telly Award, a Public Media Award, 14 Silver Telly Awards, two Communicator Awards of Excellence and five Communicator Awards of Distinction. Lakeshore Public Media also received the 2022 Nonprofit of the Year award from the Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Muhammad was named to the 2020 Public Media Honor Roll and received a 2020 Entrepreneurial Excellence Award from the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center.

New USC Radio Group president’s lifelong passion for classical music

“James is a highly accomplished public media executive with a lifelong passion for classical music,” said Samuel Garrison, senior vice president of university relations at USC, which owns the licenses for KUSC-FM and KDFC-FM. “He engages audiences with meaningful, innovative programming together with a steadfast commitment to community partnerships. We are so glad that James will be leading USC Radio Group forward into its next era.”

Muhammad began his career as an intern at Alabama Public Radio in Tuscaloosa where he later became one of America’s youngest classical music announcers. He has held leadership positions at National Public Radio station WCBU at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., and West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Muhammad earned his bachelor’s in mass communications from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, which he attended on a choral music scholarship. He went on to earn an MBA at Valparaiso University in Indiana, where he sits on the National Council for the College of Business.

“It is an honor to be selected as USC Radio Group’s next president,” Muhammad said. “The organization’s mission aligns perfectly with my personal beliefs and how I was raised. I am the proud son of a music educator, choral music director and organist whom I watched share the majesty and transformative power of classical music freely. It’s the mission of Classical California to do the same. I’m so excited to be part of that.”

Muhammad begins his new role Sept. 12.