MPT promotes execs, APM announces changes, and more comings and goings in public media

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Maryland Public Television in Owings Mills promoted executives.


Steven Schupak rises from s.v.p. and chief content officer to e.v.p. and chief operating officer at the Owings Mills station. George Beneman, chief technology officer, is now s.v.p. And Jay Parikh steps up to v.p. and head of MPT’s content division.

“The promotions were due to the talents of these individuals coupled with restructuring to accommodate MPT’s fundraising campaign and Vietnam initiative,” said Larry Unger, MPT president, referring to a major event honoring veterans and their families that the state network is planning for April 2016.  “We are very excited for what the future has in store for MPT.”

Schupak joined MPT in 2003 after a three-decade career in television and media. As c.o.o., he will oversee development and production of the station’s regional and national broadcast programs, content distribution, promotion and digital platforms along with fundraising and financial operations.

Beneman, MPT’s longest-serving staff member, has more than four decades’ broadcasting experience. He oversees daily operations, planning, budgeting and management of a staff of more than 60.

Parikh joined MPT in 2012 as managing director of the station’s content enterprises unit. He supervises nearly three dozen staff producers and writers plus talent and freelance professionals as well as programmers, local sponsorship sales, corporate underwriting, licensing and national distribution of MPT’s programs.

Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul announced several changes.


In a July 9 email to staff, COO David Kansas announced staff changes intended “to drive better, faster decision making, allowing us to be nimble and focused squarely on our strategic plan.”

Nick Kereakos, who previously led the station’s technology, operations and engineering group, becomes chief technology officer, v.p., and adds music services to his portfolio. He’ll oversee the rock-oriented Current, Classical MPR and National Classical Programs as well as finances for those strands.

The new chief digital officer, v.p. of innovation and digital content strategy, is Mike Reszler, who previously served as v.p., digital media. He will continue to oversee digital-mobile first efforts and add podcasts.

And Peter Clowney, head of Arts & Ideas, rises to managing director, national content development, Arts & Ideas programming. He continues work on the shows The Dinner Party Download and Wits.


Former Marketplace Managing Editor Sarah Gilbert, who left the show July 3 for “personal reasons,” according to distributor American Public Media, is rejoining NPR’s Weekend Edition. Gilbert had worked as WE’s senior editor prior to joining the APM program in 2013. This time around, she steps up to supervising senior editor.

David Hollis left his position as office manager at the Public Radio Program Directors Association to take over as editor of Trucker’s News, a new online trucking magazine, on July 11. Prior to joining PRPD, in 2006, Hollis spent nearly five years as communications director for the Oneida Indian Nation in New York. He’s also the author of National to National: A Year on the Show Jumping Circuit (Howell Book House) about Grand Prix equestrian competitions.

Mikel Ellcessor, former g.m. of WDET-TV in Detroit, is now running Ellcessor Media & Consulting, working with arts and culture-focused nonprofit organizations on content, engagement and marketing. Previously, he spent nearly a year heading up strategy and partnership at the pubradio program On Being.

WEFT, a community radio station in Champaign, Ill., has a new station manager: Lori Serb, who has volunteered at the station since 1998. She succeeds Dave Witzany, interim station manager since February 2013.


Sarah Sampson, an associate producer at Maryland Public Television, is stepping up to series producer for Maryland Farm & Harvest, just renewed for its second season. The program chronicles the successes and the challenges faced by farmers working in the state’s top industry. Sampson joined MPT 11 months ago. Her previous experience includes reporting and producing at NBC stations WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, N.Y., and WBAL-TV in Baltimore.

Sarah Koenig, This American Life producer and host of its upcoming Serial, announced the names of the producers who are working with her on the podcast. TAL Senior Producer Julie Snyder will serve as Serial’s e.p. Dana Chivvis, who has also reported for NBC, will produce. TAL Production Manager Emily Condon will tweak her title slightly, to Serial’s production and operations manager. And TAL founder and host Ira Glass “is our willowy muse,” Koenig said in her July 11 email to fans. She described the podcast as “a murder story with a million interesting threads.”

KCPT in Kansas City, Mo., has hired retired Kansas City Star projects reporter Mike McGraw to lead investigative news efforts at the station’s Hale Center for Journalism. McGraw, who won numerous honors, including a Pulitzer and two Polk Awards over 30 years at the newspaper, will focus on agribusiness and government accountability.



American Documentary Inc., the production company behind PBS’s POV, has selected Brian Chirls as its first POV Digital Technology Fellow. Chirls will spend a year developing digital tools for nonfiction media makers and journalists, reporting to Adnaan Wasey, e.p. of POV Digital. Most recently, Chirls worked on interactive projects for the crowdsourced documentary 18 Days in Egypt, an interactive making-of version of an OK Go music video and the browser-based video tool Seriously.js. The fellowship is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media in St. Paul has named Jeff Hnilicka and Ellie McKinney as co-directors of live events, including those at MPR’s Fitzgerald Theater. Hnilicka previously was executive director at Kulture Klub Collaborative, a local arts program connecting homeless youth with professional artists. McKinney returns to the Twin Cities after two years in New York City, where she directed visitor services at MoMA PS1, one of the oldest and largest contemporary art institutions in the United States.


Ken Lehman is new board chair of the Futuro Media Group, the production nonprofit founded by pubmedia journalist Maria Hinojosa. Lehman has been involved in public radio for three decades. He has chaired the board of Chicago Public Media, was an officer of the NPR Foundation and served as committee chair and board member of Public Radio International.


Sylvia Strobel is the new General Counsel for American Public Media Group, the parent company of APM. Strobel will serve as legal adviser to the group’s business transactions and manage the group’s internal legal staff. Strobel previously served as interim c.e.o. of Alliance for Women in Media and the AWM Foundation and an advisor to the Public Media Business Association. Her pubmedia background also includes a role as president of the Pennsylvania Public Television Network.

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