NPR completes board expansion, Savage leaves WBAA and other comings and goings

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Members of the NPR Board have elected global banker Jeff Sine to one the board’s new seats for public directors.

Sine is co-founder and partner of the Raine Group, an international merchant bank focused on commercial loans and investment in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors. He is eligible to serve through November 2020.

Sine is a member and past chair of the board of American University, licensee of WAMU in Washington, D.C.

With Sine’s election, the board completes an expansion approved by NPR membership in November 2015. The panel grew from 17 to 23 directors.

In other NPR Board news, Michael Savage is no longer serving as a director, nor as GM of Purdue University–owned public radio station WBAA.

“I have stepped away from my position at WBAA,” Savage told Current during an NPR board meeting Thursday. “It’s time for me to explore other opportunities.” Savage said he plans to start a consulting business.



Purdue has yet to name a replacement for Savage, according to a spokesperson. Julie Griffith, the university’s VP for public affairs and Savage’s supervisor, is running day-to-day operations.

Because Savage is no longer an authorized representative of a station, he was required to vacate his seat on the NPR board as well. The board passed a resolution Friday thanking Savage for his work and wishing him “the very best in his future endeavors.”

Savage is believed to be the only NPR board member even to be petitioned onto a ballot by his peers and elected to the board, according to the network. He gained attention last year when he announced on LinkedIn that WBAA would drop This American Life in response to a deal the show made with Pandora. The decision was later reversed.

Indianapolis Colts


Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is partnering with WFYI Public Radio on the Andrew Luck Book Club.

“WFYI and I share a passion for good storytelling,” Luck said in a statement, “and from here on out you’ll be able to read along with me whether you’re a rookie or a vet, then catch my podcast on 90.1 FM.”

Each month, Luck selects a book for youth (“Rookies”) and one for adults (“Veterans”). Readers can engage with Luck and other participants through social media using the hashtag #ALBOOKCLUB. The book club’s podcast will air Sunday nights on the Indianapolis station.

To help launch the partnership, Luck will host his first live, in-person book discussion Wednesday at WFYI.


Terence Samuel is a new deputy managing editor at NPR. Samuel is former Washington politics editor at the Washington Post; earlier in his career he was managing editor for Congress at National Journal. Samuel is the author of The Upper House: A Journey Behind the Closed Doors of the U.S. Senate, a 2010 book about how new senators adapt to the institution.



Jennifer Strachan joined KUOW in Seattle as chief content officer. KUOW President Caryn G. Mathes said in a statement that Strachan’s “portfolio of experience encompassing a broadcast background and digital savvy made her a singular choice for this position.” Strachan previously served as executive news director at KPLU (now KNKX), also in Seattle. Over the years she has consulted for many public media clients including NPR, Greater Public and KPBS in San Diego, and she led the systemwide Digital Engagement Council. Most recently Strachan served as acting vice president at KQED in San Francisco.

WFAE in Charlotte, N.C., hired Ju-Don Marshall as chief content officer. Marshall will oversee all news platforms. She spent more than a decade as an editor and executive across the Washington Post’s print and digital platforms, rising to managing editor for digital. Most recently Marshall served as chief operations officer at LifePosts Inc. in Brooklyn, where she co-led the conception, development and launch of the collaborative storytelling platform focused on personal milestones. She also directed the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University in New Jersey, helping to build a network of 130 media properties across the state.

Luke Groskin

Minoff and Feder

Science Friday announced co-hosts for its first podcast spinoff, Undiscovered. Annie Minoff and Elah Feder will also co-produce. Both are Science Friday producers. Undiscovered will cover “the left turns, false starts, harebrained ideas, and lucky breaks that go into scientific research.” The podcast launches Tuesday with new episodes through June 27.

Brooke Gladstone, co-host of WNYC Studios’ On the Media, has a new book out May 16. The Trouble With Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time deals with “the hijacking of reality in this post-truth era including the strategies President Trump and his team of advisers have mastered that seem straight out of an authoritarian playbook,” according to a press release. Gladstone has written for the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and Slate. She is also the author of The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone On the Media.

WESA in Pittsburgh announced several staff changes. Patrick Doyle, digital director, moves up to news director. Operations Manager Helen Wigger rises to director of programming operations. Larkin Page-Jacobs, local All Things Considered host, adds the role of interim managing editor. Megan Harris now produces the weekly news roundup The Confluence and continues her work as a digital editor and producer of the Criminal (In)Justice podcast. Reporter Margaret Krauss takes up the transportation and development beat, while Deanna Garcia concentrates on arts and culture and Sarah Schneider moves to the education beat. And Noah Brode is now local host of Weekend Edition. The station plans to add at least two more positions this year.

Daisy Rosario joined The Big Listen, WAMU’s radio show about podcasts, as managing producer. Rosario produced the first season of WNYC’s Sooo Many White Guys and co-hosted Serially Obsessed, a show about the podcast Serial. Previously Rosario worked at 60dB, a news and talk app that creates personalized audio feeds, and was a senior producer at NPR’s Latino USA.

Two staffers departed New England Public Radio in Springfield, Mass. Henry Epp, local Morning Edition host, will step into that role at Vermont Public Radio in Colchester. And Susan Kaplan, local All Things Considered host, is joining the newsroom of WGBH in Boston. Carrie Healy, NEPR’s Weekend Edition host, will fill in on Morning Edition, and longtime reporter and former All Things Considered host Kari Njiiri will return to those hosting duties temporarily.

Karen Foshay is now executive editor, news programming, for KCETLink Media Group, the national independent broadcast and digital network based in Los Angeles. In the new position, Foshay oversees all news content production and strategy across platforms. Foshay also serves as executive producer for the local news series SoCal Connected; she was a senior producer for the program from 2007–12. Most recently Foshay completed a yearlong investigative project for KCRW.

Selena Reder joined Cincinnati Public Radio as assistant producer of the daily talk show Cincinnati Edition. Reder has worked in local media for 14 years including as a production assistant, producer and writer.


PBS has hired two leaders in its digital division and announced that social media director Kevin Dando will depart. Dando, who has worked in communications at PBS for 22 years, exits May 17 and will spend time traveling before seeking new opportunities, a PBS spokesperson said. Lori Dicker is senior director, digital marketing. She’s overseeing digital marketing and social media, digital partnerships with firms including Roku and Apple TV, and marketing of digital products such as Passport. Most recently Dicker was SVP, digital and social, for marketer Walter Isaacson. David Tra, the new senior manager for social media, arrives after seven years at Discovery Communications, where he rose to social media manager and senior digital producer for Animal Planet content — including its popular Puppy Bowl that airs on Super Bowl Sundays.



Shane Guiter is leaving his position as PBS’s VP, development strategies, this month to start his own company. PBS hired him into that new position in August 2015. Guiter said his new firm will focus on “strategic planning, digital strategy, product development, organizational design, and change leadership for public media companies.” Before arriving at PBS, Guiter worked as COO at KCPT in Kansas City, Mo., and development director at KLRU in Austin.


The Affinity Group Coalition’s Public Television Major Market Group elected new board leadership. Jon Abbott, president of WGBH in Boston, is chair, with Lisa Shumate, associate VP and GM of Houston Public Media, as vice-chair. Andy Russell, president of PBS SoCal, also joined the board. And the organization, a consortium of the largest public TV stations, welcomed two new members: WTVI in Charlotte, N.C.; and KET in Louisville, Ky.

Nonprofit news

The Institute for Nonprofit News selected its first Emerging Leaders Council, which will meet for a year to study news industry challenges, build support networks and develop professional skills. Participating are Jahna Berry, director of news product, Mother Jones; Natalie Choate, director of media relations and partnerships, Texas Tribune; Lauren Fuhrmann, associate director, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism; Dave Levinthal, politics reporting team leader, Center for Public Integrity; Ben Nishimoto, director of philanthropy, Honolulu Civil Beat; Brad Racino, assistant director, inewsource; Amber Rivera, engagement editor, Inside Energy; Paula Saha, director, audience and donor Development, NJ Spotlight; and Halle Stockton, managing editor, PublicSource. The work is funded by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.


Two participants in the latest class of John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships come from public media. The 18 journalists from around the world will study at Stanford University during the 2017–18 academic year. Andre Natta, digital media producer at WBHM in Birmingham, Ala., will examine regional coverage as a way to better understand its potential impact on national dialogue. And Jennifer Dargan, Ideas Network assistant director at Wisconsin Public Radio in Madison, will research how to foster newsroom culture that prioritizes recognition of biases surrounding diversity.

A journalist at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor will participate in the University of Michigan’s Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowships for the 2017–18 academic year. Jennifer Guerra will study the role and responsibility of public media in fostering civil discourse. The group includes 12 American and seven international journalists.

Another Michigan Radio journalist, reporter/producer Dustin Dwyer, is one of 24 Nieman Fellows for the upcoming academic year at Harvard University. He’ll look at the personal, psychological and social upheavals that accompany changes in the nature of work. The Nieman Foundation is also hosting 11 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows. Those include Nicholas Quah, founder of the Hot Pod newsletter on the Nieman Lab website. Quah will explore how podcasts can help strengthen the position of public radio stations in their local communities and will develop a guide to create audience-focused and financially sustainable local podcast strategies.

Vision Maker Media selected Stacy Howard for its 2017 Public Media Internship, a CPB-backed initiative to increase opportunities for American Indian and Alaska Native youth in public broadcasting. Howard will participate in a paid internship at Arizona Public Media, working in development and production of television content. Howard is a graduating senior at the University of Arizona School of Theatre, Film and Television. She grew up on the Navajo Reservation with family ties to the Many Goat and Deer Spring clans. — With reporting from Tyler Falk and April Simpson

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