NewsHour picks up Bellantoni, WBEZ personnel changes, and more…

Print More

Bellantoni to oversee all <em>NewsHour</em> political coverage

PBS NewsHour has a new political editor as of Jan. 2. Christina Bellantoni of CQ Roll Call oversees the newsroom’s political coverage on-air and online, including political analysis, elections and personalities.

Her predecessor, David Chalain, departed in November to lead the Washington bureau of Yahoo News.

Bellantoni has spent more than a decade covering national political and business news in Washington, D.C., and California. She has worked as associate politics editor at CQ Roll Call since October 2010, and has appeared as a political analyst on Hardball, Countdown, On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren, Reliable Sources, TopLine, The Rachel Maddow Show and The Daily Rundown.

For the previous year Bellantoni was a senior reporter-blogger at Talking Points Memo’s Washington bureau, covering the White House and national politics. Before joining TPM, she was a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. She was also an Institute of Politics fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in fall 2011.

Croen, Mantone appointed to top money positions at WNET

New York’s WNET starts the year with two new vice presidents — Caroline Croen, v.p., chief financial officer and treasurer, and Lisa A. Mantone, v.p, development and communications. Mantone will head WNET’s 50th anniversary campaign.

WNET — which now calls itself New York Public Media after a period as — operates pubTV stations WNET and WLIW in New York City and the four-station state-owned NJPTV network in New Jersey. Croen comes from Jazz at Lincoln Center, where she was c.f.o. for the past five years. She had been director of risk management and operations analysis for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and, before that, budget director of the New York Public Library. For the city government she had managed subsidies for cultural institutions and libraries.

She succeeds Robert Clauser, v.p. for strategy, operations, c.f.o. and treasurer, who left WNET after two and a half years last fall to become chief operating officer of the privately held startup Unigo LLC, which operates a social-media–powered college-admission information resource for students.

Mantone comes from the Museum of Modern Art, where she worked 13 years, most recently as associate deputy director of external affairs, and supervising membership, corporate and foundation fundraising, and visitor services. She participated in MoMA’s recent $900 million capital campaign. Before moving to the museum she raised funds for Columbia University’s libraries and the New York Philharmonic.

She succeeds Kerry Kruckel Gibbs, who came to WNET two years ago as v.p. of development from a top fundraising spot at New York University’s business school.

WBEZ continues revamp with personnel changes

Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM is making several personnel changes as part of its new midday programming plan. Tony Sarabia is now interim host of the station’s Eight Forty-Eight weekday morning show. He will also continue to host Radio M, the Friday-evening world music program. Alison Cuddy, who had been hosting Eight Forty-Eight, is now providing arts and cultural coverage for various programs throughout the day. Content Development Director Steve Edwards will soon be returning to the WBEZ airwaves to anchor a new afternoon show, to be produced by Senior Content Developer Justin Kaufmann. In the next five years, CEO Torey Malatia said, “Our goal is to increase Chicago-originated programming to seven hours . . . between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.”

Frontline chiefs ‘most powerful’

Frontline Executive Producer David Fanning and Series Senior Producer Raney Aronson-Rath are among the “Most Powerful in Television News,” according to NewsPro magazine’s annual list published in December.

Frontline “is bolstering its Web and mobile presence to keep up with where the viewers are, supplementing what appears on air with additional reporting and analysis, and working more closely with other nonprofit news organizations such as ProPublica and journalism schools,” the magazine opined.


KCET in Los Angeles is bolstering its fundraising with several hires. Laura Gillette, who has corporate and major-gift development experience at the University of California, Los Angeles, the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, is now executive director, major gifts and strategic partnerships. Palencia Turner, former senior development officer for Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., is KCET’s executive director, principal gifts. And Kirk Kopic is senior executive, corporate sponsorships; previously, he was president of MeeVi, a technology company based in La Canada, Calif., that develops live television for smartphones. All report to Susan Reardon, KCET’s chief development officer.

Chicago Public Media has hired Judy Lindsey as v.p. of philanthropy. The native Chicagoan has more than 30 years of fundraising and human services experience, most recently as director of development for the University of Chicago’s six libraries. During her 12 years there, annual fundraising reached $4.3 million. In her new role she will build on Chicago Public Media’s $15 million capital campaign and manage staff responsible for major- and leadership-level gifts, foundation and corporate relations, planned giving and donor stewardship.

Linda Miller, who spent 13 years as manager of membership systems at WHYY in Philadelphia, has been named senior director of development services at the Philadelphia Orchestra Association.

Anna McDonald, former PBS director, development services, has been named corporate support coordinator for DEI, working with Marlene Schneider.

New York Public Radio has hired Harry Clark as g.m., corporate underwriting and integrated media sponsorships, a new position. Clark worked most recently as director of strategy for Emmis Communications in New York; previously, he spent eight years at Arbitron, as part of the team that helped roll out Portable People Meters (PPM). At NYPR, Clark will direct the local, national and digital underwriting teams.

Ellen Morgenstern, former development veep at WETA-FM/TV in Arlington, Va., has joined the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region as its chief development officer. She will oversee fundraising, including planned giving. The foundation includes more than 800 charitable-giving funds with assets topping $360 million.

Cathy Zell has joined the staff of WKAR in East Lansing, Mich., as director of annual giving and membership. Zell has more than 13 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising and management, most recently as executive director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Michigan and northwest Ohio.

Jim Lewis, a pubcasting veteran who retired last year from the consulting firm he founded, Lewis Kennedy Associates, is serving as interim c.e.o. of Africa Bridge. The Oregon-based group works to improve the lives of vulnerable Tanzanian children through economic development. Lewis has volunteered with the organization for four years, traveled to Tanzania with it in 2009, and has served as a board member and officer since 2010.


Andrew Sherry is the new v.p. of communications at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. He will be a member of the foundation’s Executive Committee and report to President Alberto Ibargüen. Sherry, whose previous posts include senior v.p., online communications, at the Center for American Progress and director, online ventures, at USA Today, will lead the foundation’s strategic communications and marketing functions.

The National Center for Media Engagement is welcoming Amir Zaman as communications director. He brings more than 20 years of experience in strategic marketing, branding and public relations. For the past eight years he was director of marketing and communications for WEA Insurance in Madison, Wis.


Keith Neisler began Jan. 4 as program director at KUT in Austin, Texas. He’d previously worked as program director at 89.5 KMFA Classically Austin, as well as g.m. and chief content officer at WEKU at Eastern Kentucky University. He has served on the NPR Station Advocacy Advisory Group.

Paul Guggenheimer, longtime host of South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Dakota Midday, has returned to his hometown to host Essential Pittsburgh, a new show on Essential Public Radio, formerly WDUQ, where he began a broadcast career as a 16-year-old volunteer. Essential Pittsburgh will air from noon to 1 p.m. and repeat at 8 p.m. weekdays, featuring a mix of live interviews, produced segments and listener interaction through call-ins and the Web.

Jean Feraca, an on-air host on Wisconsin Public Radio since 1983, told listeners Dec. 20 that she will retire in March. In a letter to fans on the station’s site, Feraca jokes about her small stature, saying that listeners often say they thought she was taller — to which she replies, “I’m bigger on the radio. And this is true. I am bigger on the radio. We are all bigger on the radio. There is something about this exercise of opening up a microphone, day after day, year after year, over the thousands of radio hours we have shared together, that calls us to be bigger, that requires it. Thank you listeners, not only for listening, but for making me bigger.”


Steve Chiotakis, host of Marketplace Morning Report, is moving to the local All Things Considered anchor spot on KCRW. Chiotakis has hosted the American Public Media show since 2008. In a statement, he said that KCRW “is a natural fit for me. It’s home to terrific and talented people. It’s an L.A. institution with a world-class sensibility. I’m excited about what’s possible and can’t wait to get to work telling the stories of this great city.” He’ll start in late January.

Kentucky Public Radio has hired Kenny Colston as its state capital bureau chief. He is reporting news for statewide broadcast through a consortium of seven pubradio stations: Louisville Public Media/WFPL; WEKU at Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond; WUKY at the University of Kentucky, Lexington; WNKU at Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights; WKMS at Murray State University, Murray; WMKY at Morehead State University, Morehead; and WKYU at Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green. Previously, Colston was a political reporter for a statewide program on Insight Communications’ Channel 2.

Phyllis Fletcher has been promoted to editor at KUOW-FM in Seattle. Fletcher joined the KUOW staff as a reporter in 2004 after a five-year career in software engineering. In 2011 she earned a master’s degree in communication and a fellowship in demography from the University of Washington, and a certificate in accounting-fraud detection. Fletcher’s honors include an award for radio commentary from the National Association of Black Journalists and a reporting fellowship on NPR’s national desk.

American Public Media and Arizona State University have announced a new partnership to “help foster collaborative reporting and innovative storytelling in public affairs journalism.” Linda Fantin, APM’s director of network journalism and innovation, and Joaquin Alvarado, its senior v.p of digital innovation, will teach as visiting professors during the spring semester at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix, leading a class on public insight reporting for radio. The students’ resulting work will be featured on national pubradio programs. David Brancaccio, longtime former host of APM’s Marketplace, also will appear at the school in the “Must See Mondays” speaker series.


Stephen Colella headshotLongtime broadcasting exec Stephen Colella has been named managing director of WCAI pubradio in Woods Hole, Mass., a service of WGBH. Colella will oversee membership development and local corporate sponsorship opportunities for both WCAI and WGBH’s new partnership with Bryant University’s WJMF in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Colella had been director of sales for more than 25 years at Cape Cod Broadcasting, responsible for revenue generation for four radio stations and Previously, he served as account exec at rock station WWWV-FM in Charlottesville, Va., and operations manager at oldies WMNB-FM in North Adams, Mass. Colella is also founder and owner of Maresa’s Cooking, a Hyannis-based personal chef service.

The new assistant g.m. and p.d. at WEKU, Eastern Kentucky University, is John Hingesbergen. His previous positions include news and public affairs director at West Virginia Public Broadcasting and program director at WMUB-FM, Miami University in Ohio. Just a month after arriving at his new WEKU post, he was elected by the seven partner stations of Kentucky Public Radio to their editorial board, which supervises activities of the system’s statehouse bureau, coordinates statewide reporting projects, organizes training sessions for public radio journalists, supervises story exchanges and recommends best practices for Kentucky’s public radio community.

John Weatherford, chief operating officer of Public Broadcasting Atlanta, has been elected to a three-year term on the board of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.

Jerold Gruebel, c.e.o. of Network Knowledge stations WSEC/PBS Springfield, WQEC/PBS Quincy and WMEC/PBS Macomb in Illinois, has been elected to the board of the Alliance for Children and Families, a national membership organization for private, nonprofit human-services organizations. Some 350 members of the Milwaukee-based alliance provide community-based programs and services to close to 3.4 million people each year.


Sesame Workshop has promoted Lynn Chwatsky to v.p. of outreach initiatives and partnerships. She had previously served as assistant v.p. of educational outreach, project director and marketing manager. In her new role she will oversee various initiatives in addition to continuing her work with Sesame’s support of military families.

Lay leaders

Leah Costello, a member of the Community Advisory Board for KCTS in Seattle, has been named as a member of Canada’s National Council of Welfare in Ottawa. The council, created in 1969, advises the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development on the needs and problems of low-income Canadians.

Gail Sande was reelected Board of Trustees chair of KNPB in Reno, Nev. Locally, the former banker is also v.p. and development chair for the Lear Theater, an adaptive reuse of a historic church in the city. Nationally, Sande is a member of the national board of the Association of Public Television Stations. n

Media journalist Jeff Kaye expands coverage in Current

Jeff Kaye, a longtime reporter on media industries and co-author of the 2010 book Funding Journalism in the Digital Age: Business Models, Strategies, Issues and Trends (Peter Lang, New York), joined Current this month as a senior editor covering primarily the new media/new journalism beats.

Restoring Current’s editorial staff to four editors and commissioning more coverage by freelancers are parts of the publication’s expansion since becoming part of the School of Communication at American University a year ago. Current will also debut a rebuilt website early this year. The upgrades and AU’s acquisition of Current are funded by the Wyncote Foundation, a Philadelphia grantmaker active in public media and journalism.

Kaye has covered television for the Los Angeles Times and TV Guide and managed overseas coverage for the Hollywood Reporter as its European editor based in London. He also served as head of content for British Telecom consumer websites and edited CTW, a European magazine about computer gaming.

Kaye’s book has been adopted as a text in universities around the world. Most recently he has worked as a media consultant in the New York area. He will relocate to Washington later this month to work in Current’s D.C.-area office.

Kaye earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at San Francisco State University and a master’s degree in e-commerce from the University of London, Birkbeck College. He has taught journalism there and at the University of California at Los Angeles.