Izzi Smith joins NPR programming, Headlee leaves The Takeaway, Brooks heads project for deaf/blind

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With Nuzum’s ascension, NPR hires Izzy Smith as director of programming.

Israel “Izzi” Smith signs on at NPR in November as director of programming. His predecessor in the job is Eric Nuzum, who was promoted to v.p. of programming earlier this year.

Smith has worked as a pubmedia consultant for almost 15 years, helping to introduce and manage programs such as Radiolab, PRX’s The Moth Radio Hour and State of the Re:Union. “Izzi is a true ‘connector,’ always trying to link good ideas, people and stations to serve audiences in bigger, more inclusive ways,” Nuzum wrote in a Sept. 5 memo announcing the hire to NPR staff. Smith’s primary responsibilities will be working with programs as well as on-air fundraising and promotion teams.

Andrew Anissi, an attorney with experience in entertainment copyright, trademark and patent work, has joined American Public Television as contracts manager.

“As our industry works across a growing number of platforms, Andrew’s expertise — which includes cyberlaw — will be invaluable,” said Cynthia Fenneman, APT president. Anissi was most recently an intellectual property attorney with Sofer & Haroun in New York. He also practiced entertainment law with a top New York City firm, Epstein, Levinsohn, Bodine, Hurwitz & Weinstein. In addition to his legal expertise, Anissi has worked in motion picture graphics animation.

The Takeaway, the PRI morning show produced at New York’s WNYC, dropped a co-host and promoted its managing editor as it scaled back to a one-hour midday program.

Celeste Headlee, co-host of the morning drive-time broadcast for three years, departed on Aug. 17, leaving John Hockenberry as sole anchor.  A spokeswoman for WNYC said Headlee asked to be released from the hosting job, but Headlee said she didn’t.

Since her departure, Headlee has been serving as a substitute host for NPR’s Tell Me More, producing election specials and covering the Republican and Democratic conventions for the PBS World channel. She’s also made appearances on CNN’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.

Rupert Allman, Takeaway managing editor for two years, stepped up to executive producer. Allman joined the show on loan from the BBC, a co-production partner on the broadcast. At BBC in London and Washington, he launched new programs and ran election coverage for BBC Radio. He is a member of the United Kingdom’s Radio Academy and has won three Gold Awards — for breaking news coverage, sports coverage and interactive programming — at the annual Sony Radio Awards.

Additional partners in the coproduction are WGBH Radio in Boston, which recently purchased PRI, and the New York Times.

Longtime WBEZ host Steve Edwards is leaving public radio to join the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics as deputy director of programming.

The new nonpartisan institute, created earlier this year for students exploring public-service careers, has drawn another big name in Chicago’s political and media worlds: David Axelrod, senior strategist for the Obama reelection campaign, will take over as director in 2012 when the presidential race is over.

Edwards wasn’t job-hunting, he told Current in an interview, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity. “It’s such a rare chance to be part of building something from the beginning that’s of this caliber,” he said. “But I’m definitely going to miss public radio, and WBEZ. It’s been my home for nearly 14 years.” Since arriving at the station in January 1999, Edwards has worked on-air, as host of Eight Forty-Eight and The Afternoon Shift, as well as in management jobs such as acting program director and content development director.

Prior to joining WBEZ he was assistant news director at WDCB-FM, a public radio news and jazz station in suburban Glen Ellyn, where he hosted and produced the nightly news magazine Final Edition, which won a PRNDI for public affairs programming.


In the latest of several appointments on NPR’s International Desk, two correspondents take on new roles next month. Carrie Kahn will become NPR’s Mexico City correspondent, and Sean Carberry will be its permanent correspondent in Kabul, Afghanistan. Kahn moves to her new role from NPR West in Culver City, Calif., which has been her base since 2004. She has often reported on and from Mexico. Kahn also was the first NPR reporter into Haiti following the devastating earthquake in 2010, and has returned to report from the country six times since. Carberry has produced and reported from NPR’s Kabul bureau, and most recently was a producer on the International Desk. Previously he worked as a senior correspondent for America Abroad Media, a nonprofit global news organization, as well as a producer for WBUR in Boston. Earlier this summer, NPR announced several other overseas hires: Leila Fadel joined NPR as Cairo correspondent in July; Corey Flintoff is now covering Moscow; and this fall, Gregory Warner will report on East Africa from Nairobi.

Georgia’s GPB Radio has selected Adam Ragusea as its local Morning Edition host and site supervisor for GPB Radio Macon/WMUM-FM. Ragusea also will report and manage news interns. He arrives in Georgia following four years at WBUR in Boston, where he was part of a team that launched the local daily magazine talk show Radio Boston. As a producer, reporter and occasional host, he focused on transportation, urban planning, the environment, local history, food, music and art.

Daniel Grossman, an environmental journalist, radio producer and documentary filmmaker whose work has appeared on Public Radio International, NPR and the BBC, has authored a digital book, Deep Water: As Polar Ice Melts, Scientists Debate How High Our Oceans Will Rise. It’s from TED Books, which says it publishes nonfiction digital works of fewer than 20,000 words that are “long enough to explain a powerful idea, but short enough to be read in a single sitting.” Grossman’s book recounts a recent 4,000-mile expedition across South and Western Australia looking for the truth about how high and how quickly oceans could rise due to climate change.

Ailsa Chang, a past Kroc Fellow, is joining NPR for a one-year assignment covering business and general assignments while correspondent Chris Arnold is on a Neiman fellowship at Harvard. Chang begins work at the New York bureau Sept. 17. Her past experience includes reporting stints at KQED and WNYC, where her investigation into the controversial “stop-and-frisk” practice by the New York City Police Department won a 2012 duPont-Columbia Award. She also holds a degree in media law from Oxford University, where she was a Fulbright scholar, and practiced law for five years prior to her public radio career.

Longtime KRCL volunteer Eugenie Hero Jaffe is the new midday host at the Salt Lake City, Utah, listener-supported community radio station. Jaffe takes over for music director and midday host, Ebay Jamil Hamilton, who is moving to a morning timeslot opened up by Jamie Gadette’s decision to leave the station and concentrate on her graduate studies. Jaffe began volunteering in 2003 and is current host of Red, White & Blues on Monday nights. Jaffe also was an on-air host on Salt Lake’s local NPR outlets, KUER and KCPW.

Ben Bergman is leaving NPR to become a reporter at KPCC in Pasadena, Calif., covering Orange County. Bergman has served as a producer for Morning Edition for eight years and has been based in Los Angeles for the last four years. At KPCC, he replaces Ed Joyce, who will stay at the station as an editor.

Megan Scully, a Fordham University sophomore, is the new co-host of Ceol na nGael, the Irish music show on the school’s WFUV-FM. She replaces Colleen Taylor, whose last program was Aug. 19. Scully has been a production assistant for the program for the past several months, but her memories of the show date back years: Her grandparents relocated to the Bronx from Ireland and often listened to the program as a reminder of home. Scully won the 2012 Laurence J. McGinley, S.J., Memorial Award, given to a Fordham University student for outstanding service to WFUV. She is moving to Dublin later this month to earn her master’s of philosophy in Irish writing at Trinity College.

Detroit broadcaster hosts Michigan Radio’s Statewide talk show.

Veteran Detroit radio personality and news anchor Cynthia Canty has joined Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor to host the local talk show, Statewide with Cynthia Canty. The mix of interviews, features and call-in segments premiered Sept. 6 and airs Thursday afternoons. Canty served as a news anchor and morning show co-host at local commercial outlets WNIC-FM and WMGC-FM. She’s also hosted public affairs programs and served as a reporter and newscast anchor at WKBD-TV. Her reporting and writing have earned awards, including a regional Emmy and honors from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, the Associated Press and the Detroit Press Club.

WTMD-FM in Towson, Md., is adding two new staff members in preparation for its move to an 8,000-square-foot studio facility and community center later this year. Music reporter and producer Sam Gallant will bolster coverage of Baltimore’s music scene; he was previously on the air at WYPR in Baltimore, and KSKA in Anchorage, Alaska. Lee Geary will expand corporate sponsorships and program underwriting, focusing on event sponsorships, corporate underwriting and digital sponsorships. Geary, a Baltimore native, was most recently with CBS Radio in Charlotte, N.C.

Marcia Brooks departs WGBH to manage a national tech project for the Perkins School for the Blind.

Marcia Brooks, project director with the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) at WGBH, is moving to the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass., to become its national project manager of the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program. Brooks spent the past 11 years as principal investigator in federally funded R&D grants in NCAM, a research and development facility helping people with disabilities to access media and emerging technologies in their homes, schools, workplaces and communities. At Perkins, she will manage a new program mandated by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, established by the FCC to make an array of accessible communications technologies available to people who are hearing impaired or blind. Previous to her work at WGBH, she was a consultant to NPR in 2001 on its first content management system for reporters. She also held positions at PBS in communications and brand management, and broadcast operations, from 1982 to 2000.


Kathy Malesick is joining WOUB Public Media at Ohio University in Athens, to help develop and implement an enhanced advertising and underwriting financial strategy. “This is necessary to support our regional public media efforts and to buttress against possible federal budget cuts to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio,” the station said in a statement. For the past three years, Malesick was a sales consultant for Time Warner Cable Media for the Columbus region, winning Salesperson of the Year in 2010. Previously, she was general sales manager at local rocker WATH/WXTQ-Power 105.

Houston Public Media has appointed Joycelyn Morris as its director of advancement, responsible for overseeing all philanthropic fundraising and underwriting initiatives for its three stations: HoustonPBS/Channel 8, KUHF News 88.7 FM and Classical 91.7 FM. Morris formerly served as associate director of corporate relations for the University of Houston. She also spent 30 years at the Houston Chronicle, where she advanced to vice president for marketing/new media/community affairs.


The Digital Opportunities Task Force, formed by the Affinity Group Coalition in May, met for the first time in July at PBS headquarters in Arlington, Va. Chair Jim Pagliarini, president of Twin Cities Public Television, told Current that the group is “is really taking a deep dive to look at the work PBS Interactive is doing today, and serving as a sounding board from the station perspective as to how it can strengthen member stations.” The task force will recommend ways to share information about PBS Interactive’s work on sensitive digital projects, including the Prosper online fundraising initiative. Task force members are: Dennis Haarsager, executive director, Major Market Group; Don Dunlap, president, KEDT, Corpus Christi, Texas; Rich Homberg, president, Detroit Public Television; Anne Gleason, senior v.p., marketing and interactive, WTTW, Chicago; Eric Hyyppa, g.m., MontanaPBS; Betsy Gerdeman, senior v.p., development, KLRU, Austin, Texas; Polly Anderson, c.e.o., New Mexico PBS, Albuquerque, N.M.; Michael Walenta, g.m., WGVU, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Don Boswell, president, WNED, Buffalo, N.Y.; Kelly McCullough, g.m., Eight Arizona PBS, Phoenix; Alexis Fife Rapo, v.p., broadband and interactive media, WGBH, Boston; and Brian Sickora, president, WSKG, Binghamton, N.Y. Jason Seiken, senior v.p. for interactive, and his staff are working with the group.

John Vettese manages social media and edits The Key, WXPN’s music blog.

Philadelphia’s Triple-A WXPN-FM named John Vettese as social media coordinator and editor of The Key, its online source for local music that launched as part of NPR’s Argo network of blogs. Vettese will oversee and administer the station’s multiple social media accounts. He arrived at the station in 2006 as a volunteer deejay and has handled much of the local music airing on XPN2, the station’s HD alternative rock service; he also produced almost all of The Key’s in-studio sessions with local artists since its launch in 2010. Vettese previously worked as a web producer, staff writer and photographer for the Annenberg Public Policy Center in Philadelphia, and as a freelance music writer for Philadelphia City Paper and Magnetmagazine.

Julie Westfall, former associate editor at KPCC.org, is leading the new national curation team for Thunderdome, Digital First Media’s centralized news operations that serves newspapers in the MediaNews Group and the Journal Register Company. “It’s our responsibility to bring these stories to each of our local markets, and to ensure the staffs of our more than 75 newsrooms can focus their energies and efforts on the local reporting they do best,” said Digital Projects Editor Mandy Jenkins. Westfall helped develop and manage digital workflow for KPCC.org beginning in 2011. Previously, she was on the team that launched TBD.com, a local news startup covering the Washington metro area, where she directed daily breaking news coverage and editing. She also directed print and online redesigns and coverage as managing editor of the Voice of the Hill in Washington, D.C.

School superintendent Ray Timothy named to head Utah Education Network.

Utah Education Network, the only pub TV licensee to receive a federal broadband grant and to join the national US Ignite project developing broadband apps, has appointed a Utah school superintendent, Ray Timothy, as its c.e.o. and executive director, effective Oct. 1. Timothy is superintendent of the Park City School District, former superintendent of the rural Millard County district and a former deputy superintendent of the state Office of Education. He succeeds Mike Petersen, who took a faculty position with Utah State University. Since Petersen left in January, the network’s interim chief has been Eric Denna, co-chair of the UEN Board and chief information officer of the Utah System of Higher Education and the University of Utah. UEN operates a broadband network connecting every public school, charter school, college, applied technology college and university in the state, serving more than 750,000 students and more than 61,000 educators and staff. It also operates pubTV station KUEN, sister of KUED at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.


Following a national search, Cary Boyce is president and general manager of Spokane Public Radio. Boyce comes to SPR after seven years at WFIU, Indiana Public Media, where he served as the station’s operations and production manager. He is also an active composer and musician, and won a 2011 Lower Great Lakes Regional Emmy Award for his original score for the documentary Harp Dreams from WTIU in Bloomington, Ind. Boyce is a recipient of numerous music grants, including awards from the Pew Charitable Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, and Arts International; and co-founder of Aguava New Music Studio in Bloomington, Ind., an artists’ group producing and presenting new music.

Peter Whorf is the new radio station manager for WKAR at Michigan State University in East Lansing. He comes from WFMT in Chicago, where he worked as program director and v.p. for content for seven years. Whorf’s past public media experience includes stints at WNYC in New York City and KBIA in Columbia, Mo., where he was program director, and WBEZ, where he managed news and talk programming.

The new senior v.p. of content and operations at WJCT in Jacksonville, Fla., is Anthony Padgett, who will oversee content across all platforms as well as promotion. He’ll also serve on the board of directors of FPBS, the nonprofit association of the state’s public broadcasting stations. Padgett had been chief engineer and acting general manager at Brevard Community College’s WBCC-DTV, and helped forge a partnership with the University of Central Florida to launch WUCF as the primary PBS station after Orlando’s WMFE ended its PBS affiliation in June 2011.

After doing many other jobs during 33 years at KIXE in Redding, Calif., Michael Lampella is serving as interim g.m.

Michael Lampella, an employee of KIXE-TV for 33 years, is now interim general manager. Lampella joined the Redding, Calif., station in 1979 and has worked as board operator, traffic manager, assistant program manager and operations manager. He also taught a television production class at Shasta Community Collegeas an adjunct professor from 1993 until 2002. As interim g.m., Lampella oversees station operations and fundraising for KIXE (9.1), Create (9.2) and World (9.3).

Colorado Public Radio has promoted two broadcasting veterans into newly created positions. News Director Kelley Griffin is now vice president of news, and Chief Content Officer Doug Clifton is vice president of music. “These leadership roles will help ensure that CPR continues to be innovative and responsive to today’s changing media landscape,” said Sean Nethery, senior vice president of programming. Griffin joined CPR in 1993 as a business reporter. She served as news director and then senior producer of the daily interview program Colorado Matters, which she helped create in 2001. Griffin became news director again in 2005. Clifton joined CPR in 2011 to manage all aspects of its on-air and digital content messaging, cross-promotion and programming. His background includes more than three decades in radio as music and program director, in promotions and on-air roles.

Greg Joseph

WYEP taps Greg Joseph, a board member and singer/songwriter, as interim g.m.

Greg Joseph, a WYEP board member and singer/songwriter, bass player and spokesperson for the rock band The Clarks, is acting as the Pittsburgh pubradio station’s interim general manager. Former G.M. Lee Ferraro, who had been at the indie station for 16 years, announced his departure in June and is assisting in the search for his replacement. Joseph has served on the board since 2007 and is a key organizer for WYEP’s Holiday Hootenanny, an annual fundraiser for the station’s education program.

Deirdre Giesler is the new executive assistant for Iowa Public Radio in Des Moines. Prior to joining IPR, she worked in the same capacity at the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, where she managed scheduling and travel for the executive director, provided support to the board of directors and served as a representative for community members, government officials and other constituents.


WNET in New York City has announced several promotions in its communications department. Harry Forbes has moved to director of public relations for WNET in New York City, parent company of public television stations Thirteen and WLIW21, and operator of NJTV. Forbes, who joined WNET in 2010, comes into the position from his role as senior publicist for national and local arts productions, including Great Performances, NYC-ARTS and Reel 13. Before his work at WNET, Forbes served as head of PBS press relations, and director of the office for film and broadcasting for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Donald Lee, who handles media relations for Nature and other local and national productions, is now a senior publicist. He arrived at the station in 1998. Natasha Padilla also advances to senior publicist; she is point person for American Masters and other series. She has worked at WNET since 2005. Lindsey Bernstein, hired as communications coordinator in 2010 for programs including Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, is now junior publicist. And NJTV has appointed Debra Falk as director of communications. She has served as a communications consultant for the new station since September 2011. This is her second stint at WNET, where she also worked in communications from 1999 to 2009 on programs such as 1900 House, Frontier House and Colonial House.

WLRN in Miami has promoted Michael Peyton to director of corporate marketing. Peyton joined the station in 1994. His prior experience includes serving as executive director of the Miami Runners Club, which grew to the third-largest running club in the country. He also founded the South Florida Theatre Festival and the Summer Youth Theatre Festival.


Amanda Zamora moves from the Washington Post to ProPublica to become its senior engagement editor.

Amanda Zamora started last month as senior engagement editor for ProPublica, where she is responsible for leading the nonprofit newsroom’s reader engagement efforts. Her most recent job was at the Washington Post, which she joined in 2003, serving as an online editor and producer for various departments, including the investigative reporting unit, before becoming its first social media and engagement editor in 2010. In 2009, she helped launch the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, a nonprofit news site.


Roger LaMay, g.m. of WXPN in Philadelphia, will join the NPR Board as a member director in November. LaMay, who campaigned to bring more attention to the interests of music stations in board deliberations, was one of three station managers elected to three-year terms. Incumbents Betsy Gardella, president of New Hampshire Public Radio, and Greg Petrowich, e.d. of WSIU in Carbondale, Ill., won re-election. In addition, votes by authorized representatives of NPR member stations confirmed the board’s election of John Wotowicz to a three-year term as public director. The new board terms begin in November. NPR’s board comprises 17 directors: 10 are station managers elected by member stations; the remaining seven include NPR’s president, the chair of the NPR Foundation and five public members selected by the board and confirmed by NPR stations. On a separate ballot, station leaders ratified the board’s election of Ralph Hogan to a second three-year term as a non-board member of NPR’s distribution/interconnection committee.

Mark McCain, director of radio and g.m of KMUW-FM in Wichita, was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Kansas Public Broadcasting Council (KPBC) at its annual meeting in June. Kliff Kuehl, president of KCPT-TV in Kansas City, will serve as vice-chair. Janet Campbell, g.m. of KANU-FM/Kansas Public Radio, based in Lawrence, was elected secretary, and Deb Oyler, executive director of High Plains Public Radio, will continue as treasurer. KPBC, which includes a representative from each of the nine radio and TV licensees serving Kansas, was established by the Kansas legislature in 1993.

Jack Gibson, director and g.m. of Arizona Public Media in Tucson, has been elected chair of the Pacific Mountain Network Executive Council. Other officers elected: vice-chair, Tom Karlo, g.m. of KPBS in San Diego; treasurer, Kurt Mische, president of KNPB, Reno, Nev.; and secretary, Ruby Calvert, g.m. of Wyoming Public Television. The Pacific Mountain Network comprises 32 public television stations in the Rocky Mountain and Pacific states that develop regional programs. The network also administers an annual enhancement grant program to support innovative media projects of special interest to its member stations.

The NETA Board of Directors formally ratified the election of its executive committee for fiscal year 2013 at their summer meeting, July 22–24 in Miami. Chair is Becky Magura, president of WCTE in Cookeville, Tenn.; vice chair and chair-elect, Shae Hopkins, executive director of Kentucky Educational Television in Louisville; secretary, Eric Hyyppa, g.m. of MontanaPBS; and treasurer, Jack Galmiche III, president of the Nine Network of Public Media in St. Louis. John Harris III, president of Prairie Public Broadcasting in Fargo, N.D., continues on the executive committee as immediate past chair. JoAnn Urofsky, g.m. of WUSF Public Media in Tampa, Fla., and Joe Bruns, e.v.p. and c.o.o. for WETA in Arlington, Va., are the executive committee’s members at large. The NETA board passed a resolution honoring the work of John McCarroll, who recently announced his retirement as executive director of the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority. Board members also approved a resolution of appreciation honoring “the leadership and achievements” of Allan Pizzato, former executive director of Alabama Public Television, who was dismissed from his job by the Alabama Educational Television Commission in June (Current, June 25).

The Colorado Public Radio Board of Directors has named officers as well as five new directors for three-year terms that started July 1. Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia, a retired nephrologist who is also president of the United States Soccer Federation, is new chair. He replaces Warren Olsen, who served as a director and chair from 2010 to 2012. Director Laura Perry Barton is now vice chair. Carolyn Daniels is the new secretary, a post previously held by Dean Salter, who stepped down after 13 years. Justin Borus continues as treasurer. New directors are: Liane Clasen, also a trustee for Opera Colorado, Denver Academy, the Denver Film Society and the National Arts Centre Foundation; Ron Cooper, former chief executive officer of Clear Channel Outdoor Americas; Gary Ferrera, c.f.o. of National CineMedia Inc.; Karen Newman, professor of management at the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver; and Tania Zeigler, director of member experience and customer engagement for Kaiser Permanente.

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