Marfa’s Michael moving to Boise, Dempsey leaves WHYY, and other comings and goings in public media

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Tom Michael, who founded and ran Marfa Public Radio and West Texas Public Radio, begins work July 6 as general manager at Boise State Public Radio.



Boise State University President Bob Kustra called Michael “an innovator in radio and storytelling” in a May 16 announcement.

In 2005 Michael oversaw construction and launched broadcast service on the Marfa station in far West Texas, bringing public radio service to 15,000 square miles previously unserved by terrestrial radio.

Michael grew that “into a million-dollar network of four stations covering issues important to that region’s citizens,” Kustra said.

A 2012 expansion began service to Odessa and Midland with West Texas Public Radio.

Michael also helped build and launch a news department that won eight regional Murrow Awards in 2015.

Mark Wheeler, the dean of extended studies who oversees Boise Public Radio, praised Michael’s “entrepreneurial spirit” and “journalistic integrity.”

Earlier in his career, Michael worked as a freelance writer and editor. He also edited for Encyclopedia Britannica in the 1990s.

Veteran public broadcaster Peter Morrill, who came out of retirement to lead BSPR for the past four months, steps down May 27 but will assist on a consulting basis. Morrill succeeded former GM John Hess, who resigned in December 2015.

Carrie Phillips is the first director of audience development for American Experience.



Phillips is responsible for bolstering the visibility, brand awareness and viewership across broadcast and digital platforms for the PBS history strand, produced at WGBH in Boston.

Previously she managed marketing and communications at Boston Lyric Opera and Historic Columbia, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the South Carolina city’s historic and cultural heritage.

Christine Dempsey, a former executive at Philadelphia’s WHYY, has taken over as v.p. of radio at WABE-FM in Atlanta.



Dempsey oversees all operational activities, program strategies, administration and business for Public Broadcasting Atlanta’s radio division.

She worked for 15 years at WHYY, most recently as v.p., chief content officer. In that role she supervised television, radio and online operations, as well as WHYY’s productions, which include the NPR-distributed series, Fresh Air.

“Her deep experience in broadcast news, digital media, newsroom management and strong leadership within the public media industry make her the perfect person to build on the strong work of the WABE News team,” said Wonya Lucas, PBA president, in the May 17 announcement.

Dempsey began her career at WHYY in 1999 as a producer for Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane. Previously she had worked at WDIY in Bethlehem, Pa., and WNYC in New York City.


Hildy Ko is the new television program director at Arizona Public Media in Tucson. Most recently Ko managed programming at KCTS-TV in Seattle. She joined KCTS in 1996 and worked in various roles in marketing and communications, development, traffic and programming.



WNET in New York City has hired Tyl Young to direct business development for its Interactive Engagement Group, a team of content producers, social media managers, designers and developers who work on web and mobile app development for WNET. The unit produces content for station sites, local productions, PBS national programs and other clients. Most recently Young worked as a business development executive at NewsCred, a content marketing software firm.

KMFA, Classical 89.5 in Austin, Texas, has hired Anthony McSpadden to direct broadcasting and content. McSpadden, who begins work May 31, will manage local scheduling, develop projects and partnerships and oversee the Listen Local series of live broadcasts. He will also expand digital and online content. Previously McSpadden hosted classical content on WHRO-FM in Norfolk, Va., and directed programming for its sister station WHRV since 2011.

Randy Reed is directing production at ValleyPBS in Fresno, Calif. Reed formerly worked as production supervisor at KNXT Catholic Television in Fresno and earlier in his career was the public affairs manager for the City of Fresno.




Reporter Ashlie Stevens is now covering arts and culture in Louisville, Ky., for WFPL News. She’s a former station intern and current contributor whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, National Geographic and Slate. Tara Anderson, who has been covering arts and culture part time for the past year, moves into long-form feature reporting and will pilot an upcoming podcast.


ValleyPBS in Fresno, Calif., has hired Shatera Sangster to manage digital services. She’s responsible for all the station’s social media accounts, monetization of the web site, digital marketing and graphic-design support. Sangster previously managed social media for Table Mountain Casino.




Audrey Johnson is the new senior director of development at WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C. Most recently Johnson worked as director of advancement for the University of Toronto’s $2 Billion campaign, managing major gifts and planned giving contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations. She also spent 10 years as executive director of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, a national Canadian advocacy organization. Johnson was a founding member of the Canadian Women’s Bobsleigh team.


Fourteen producers, journalists, filmmakers and poets will participate in the Summer 2016 Full Spectrum storytelling intensive from the Association of Independents in Radio. The program includes workshops with instructors from This American Life, StoryCorps, ProPublica and WNYC.

The summer class:

  • Shomial Ahmad, associate editor for the CUNY faculty and staff publication Clarion;
  • Erin Anderson, a multimedia storyteller and assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston;
  • Brooklyn-based freelancer Isabel Angell;
  • Ann Bennett, documentary filmmaker and multimedia producer;
  • Annie Corrigan, producer of Earth Eats and local Morning Edition host at WFIU in Bloomington, Ind.;
  • Leila Day, reporter and editor at KALW in San Francisco;
  • Keisha Dutes, a producer, event host and on-air personality on WBAI’s youth-oriented Rise Up Radio in New York City;
  • Maya Goldberg-Safir, freelance radio producer and organizer in Chicago;
  • Meissa Hampton, a writer, actor, filmmaker and resident artist at the MIT Media Lab;
  • Banchi Hanuse, founder and station manager of native Nuxalk Radio in Bella Coola, British Columbia;
  • Australian writer Evana Ho, creator and producer of the Love, Canberra podcast;
  • Miguel Macias, an associate professor and deputy chair for graduate studies in the Department of Television and Radio at Brooklyn College;
  • Documentary writer and director Francois Normandin; and
  • Paige Pfleger, a producer at WHYY’s The Pulse.

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