WCTE fills major posts, Herrington moves to ideastream, and more comings and goings in pubmedia

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WCTE-Upper Cumberland PBS in Cookeville, Tenn., has appointed three new top executives.







Avery Owens is director of advancement, responsible for managing all fundraising, underwriting, membership, marketing, auctions, special events and marketing. Owens, formerly WCTE’s sales manager, previously worked in sales and marketing for several local businesses, including the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art.

Desirée Duncan is director of content. She oversees all phases of WCTE’s content on the air and online. Duncan is also e.p. for WCTE’s flagship series, Live Green Tennessee, a collaborative production with PBS member stations statewide focusing on environmental work in local communities. She has worked in public television since 2004, previously producing at Vegas PBS.

And chief broadcast engineer is Ralph Welch Jr. He began at the station in 1983 as a production engineer. He worked as a freelancer for major networks, commercial advertisers, and sports teams including the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators. Welch returned to WCTE in 2009 as interim chief engineer.



Mary Grace Herrington, former executive director of Iowa Public Radio, took over as chief development officer of Cleveland’s ideastream stations starting Feb. 1. Kent Geist, senior director of development and marketing, will continue until June 30 — when he celebrates 47 years with the station — then remain part-time to work on special projects. Herrington’s husband, Rick Clark, is a Cleveland native and is retiring as Des Moines city manager, according to the station.

Former CPB exec Robert Bole is serving as interim director of global strategy as the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) restructures its International Broadcasting Bureau.  Bole joined the BBG in 2011 as director of innovation, overseeing the agency’s digital strategy. Previously, Bole was the v.p. of digital media strategies at CPB. The BBG is the independent federal agency that oversees all U.S. civilian international media.

Jerry Drummond, g.m. of KAOS Radio in Olympia, Wash., will retire March 15. Drummond has led the station since July 2003. His 30-year broadcast career included positions at both commercial and community stations in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington state. Drummond told Current his retirement plans include “no more morning shows” and relocating to North Carolina to be closer to his grandchildren.




Ron Hull, former longtime program chief for Nebraska ETV, is Rotary’s 2014 Nebraskan of the Year. The award honors a state resident who has provided distinguished service to others. Hull helped establish the statewide network, directed CPB’s Program Fund and helped develop American Experience and other series.

Morning Edition contributor Cokie Roberts has penned a new children’s book, Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies. It’s an illustrated update of her 2004 book for grown-ups, Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation.


After eight years in marketing at Milwaukee Public Radio, Cynthia Akey has left to direct communications and marketing at Milwaukee Montessori School.


DMW Direct Fundraising in Plymouth, Mass., which consults with several public broadcasters, has promoted four employees. Corrine Turner is now manager, client services, moving up from senior account executive;  Kerry Bracken rose from leading the editorial side of the agency’s newsletter program to senior account executive; Diana Linskey became a designer from her previous post as production artist; and  Christina Hurley is now a full account executive instead of an associate.

Nonprofit news

The new president of the Poynter Institute is Tim Franklin, Washington managing editor for Bloomberg News. Franklin is Poynter’s fifth president since the nonprofit journalism school and media strategy center was founded in 1975 in St. Petersburg, Fla. He succeeds Karen Dunlap, who is retiring after 10 years. Franklin previously directed the National Sports Journalism Center at the Indiana University School of Journalism and edited the Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and Indianapolis Star.

Mark Schaver, a veteran journalist who joined Louisville Public Media’s Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting last July, departed on Jan. 10 to begin a career as a foreign service officer for the U.S. State Department. Reflecting on the job change on his blog, he wrote: “When I was a teenager my family lived in Singapore and in college I had studied economics and political science, and here was an opportunity go abroad again, to be engaged in important issues in foreign lands, and — assuming I proved myself capable — to have something like job security too. So I accepted.”

Entrepreneur Rafat Ali is now on the board of the Investigative News Network. Ali is c.e.o. of the travel and leisure news startup Skift and also founded PaidContent, which covers the business of online media.




Dan Skinner, executive director and general manager of WKSU-FM at Kent State University in Ohio, is the new president of Public Radio in Mid America (PRIMA), the professional development and advocacy group of managers of pubradio stations from 20 Midwestern states.

“I’m honored to represent PRIMA and believe that regional organizations have a vital role to play in shaping the future of public media,” Skinner said.

The board of directors of WITF in Harrisburg, Pa., has re-elected Justin Weber as chair and William Lehr Jr. vice chair.

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