Pavelko sets retirement from WITF, WGBH hires new COO and more comings and goings

Print More

Kathleen Pavelko, president of dual licensee WITF in Harrisburg, Pa., plans to retire at the end of the year.


Pavelko has led the station since 1999. In an interview Tuesday on WITF, she recalled highlights of her tenure, including the opening of its $21 million Public Media Center headquarters in 2007 and the launch of Smart Talk, a popular radio show, in 2008.

She also backed the news collaborations StateImpact Pennsylvania and Keystone Crossroads. Since Pavelko’s arrival, WITF has been awarded 13 national Edward R. Murrow Awards and the duPont-Columbia Silver Baton for Multimedia Excellence.

The station also weathered cutbacks, including layoffs of 18 staffers in 2011.

But Pavelko said WITF is now “in a sound financial position and is at a peak of both quantity and quality in the amount of public service that we provide.”

Earlier in her career Pavelko also led Prairie Public Broadcasting in Fargo, N.D., and Penn State Public Broadcasting in University Park, Pa.

WGBH in Boston has hired Reuters executive Claudia Palmer as its new COO.

Ben Godley, who served in the position since 2008, recently transitioned to president of the new WGBH Business Services unit.


Palmer spent the past four years as CFO and chief business officer at the global news company Reuters, a division of Thomson Reuters. Based in London, Palmer supervised all editorial and commercial activities of the organization.

Earlier in her career, Palmer spent more than 15 years at the music business EMI, where she was European region EVP and COO for its music publishing division.

At WGBH, Palmer will oversee finance and administration, corporate sponsorship, digital services, human resources, marketing and communications, regional television and radio services, legal and technology, as well as the Media Access Group and the National Center for Accessible Media.


Yo Ann Martinez


KQED in San Francisco has promoted Susie Hernandez to executive director of TV programming. Hernandez arrived at the station in 2013 as associate program director. Earlier in her career she directed TV programming at Arizona Public Media in Tucson and headed broadcast and distribution work at the Independent Television Service in San Francisco.

Bill Littlefield, longtime host of Only a Game from WBUR in Boston, will retire after the show’s July 28 broadcast. Littlefield was the program’s original host when it premiered in 1993. In the 1980s, Littlefield contributed weekly commentary to NPR’s Morning Edition. He has also authored several books, including Take Me Out, a collection of sports verse. Only a Game remains NPR’s only sports program. WBUR is conducting a national search for Littlefield’s replacement.

Clemency Burton-Hill will join New York Public Radio this fall as its first creative director of music and arts. Burton-Hill is a BBC Radio 3 presenter.

Ed Schoenfeld, regional news director for the public radio news collaborative CoastAlaska for the past 15 years, retired May 31. Earlier in his career he worked as the city editor and reported for the Juneau Empire newspaper. Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan recognized Schoenfeld for his career accomplishments in a Senate floor speech June 7.

St. Louis Public Radio recently hired several journalists. Reporter Jeremy D. Goodwin is covering arts and culture and co-hosting the Cut & Paste podcast. Most recently he was a freelance arts editor at WBUR in Boston. Brian Heffernan is digital and special projects editor. Heffernan previously reported for several outlets including Al Jazeera America, St. Louis Magazine and newspapers in South Carolina. And Sarah Fentem is health reporter. She spent five years reporting for Indiana stations WFYI in Indianapolis, WBAA in West Lafayette and WFIU in Bloomington.

Kenneth Burns, who covered Baltimore city politics at WYPR, is now hosting Sunday morning programming at WHYY-FM in Philadelphia.


Marty Durlin, station manager at KZMU Community Radio in Moab, Utah, for the past three years, has announced her retirement. “Marty took over KZMU at a time of uncertainty when the station was hindered by a major funding cut from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,” the station board of trustees said in a statement. “Marty rallied the KZMU audience and made sure that our station would not only survive, but thrive.” Durlin introduced a daily news broadcast and produced and directed three original radio plays. “This is the second time I’ve attempted to retire, so we’ll see how it goes,” Durlin said, adding that “we’ll have a party before I go.” Serah Mead, music director, rises to station manager. Mead has been a DJ at KZMU for five years.


Melissa Ostrow

Schiavone and Barone

Karen Barone of City Square Associates recently became a partner in the marketing research and consulting firm for public broadcasters and other nonprofits. “This is no mere title change,” founder Chris Schiavone said in an announcement. “It’s a recognition of the kind of contribution to our identity and success that Karen has made over the years.” Barone first worked as research director at the Cambridge, Mass., consultancy from 2001–04. She returned in 2014 as senior strategist. “Since her return, Karen has expanded our client portfolio, reinvented our internal professional development and project management processes, and led our rebranding efforts,” Schiavone said. Schiavone’s title has also changed from president to managing partner.


NPR/Eric Lee


NPR promoted Stacey Foxwell to VP of operations. In her new role, Foxwell adds security and facilities oversight to her portfolio. She also leads executive assistants and operations managers who support the senior leadership teams, newsroom and offices in New York City; Chicago; Culver City, Calif.; and Washington, D.C. Foxwell’s most recent title was senior director of content administration. She joined NPR in 2002 as an executive assistant.


Maryland Public Television has promoted Erin Chrest to managing director, major and planned giving. Before joining the development team at the Owings Mills station in 2013, Chrest spent nine years in development positions at the Maryland Institute College of Art.



The board of America’s Public Television Stations has elected attorney Sherrese M. Smith as an at-large trustee. Smith, a partner at the law firm of Paul Hastings in Washington, D.C., will serve a three-year term. APTS President Pat Butler said in an announcement that Smith “has a brilliant legal mind, and she is a well-recognized expert in telecommunications policy.” Smith previously served as chief counsel to the FCC chair and is a member of Hastings’ Telecommunications, Media and Technology practice and its Privacy and Cybersecurity practice. She will also serve as an at-large director on the APTS Action Board, which promotes the legislative and regulatory interests of noncommercial television.


Bridget Thoreson has joined the audience engagement platform Hearken as an engagement consultant. Her background includes working as an audience development specialist at Kalmbach Media in Waukesha, Wisc.


Former NPR intern Khalon Richard is now a full-time news assistant.


Firelight Media has announced the second round of recipients for its Impact Producer Fellowships, launched last year. Fellows participate in three retreats and monthly workshops and attend the International Documentary Association’s Getting Real Conference. The 2018 fellows: Nadia Awad, a Brooklyn-based filmmaker who produces short videos for Lambda Legal; Ben-Alex Dupris, a producer who focuses on Native American issues; Elbert Garcia, a Dominican-American content and communications strategist based in Miami; Rajal Pitroda, a San Francisco–based producer; Rahi, an educator, organizer and multimedia artist; Set Hernandez Rongkilyo, an undocumented immigrant filmmaker and organizer from Bicol, Philippines; Ahlam Said, a digital strategist and producer from Yemen now based in New York City; and Paige Wood, a producer, writer and creative strategist.

Recipients of Radio Television Digital News Foundation fellowships include two with public media backgrounds. In addition to their monetary awards, honorees will be invited to attend the fall Excellence in Journalism conference in Baltimore. Among the recipients: Jessica Mezaros, host/reporter for WUSF News in Tampa, receives the $2,500 N.S. Bienstock Fellowship for a new professional minority broadcast journalist; and the $6,000 George Foreman Tribute to Lyndon B. Johnson Scholarship for a student at the University of Texas at Austin goes to Dani Matias, a senior studying broadcast journalism who interned for KUT in Austin, The Texas Standard radio magazine and KERA in Dallas. She was also part of NPR’s Next Generation Radio Project.


Eliza Maciag recently joined America’s Public Television Stations as legislative and communications assistant. Previously Maciag was a junior lobbying compliance specialist at Perkins Coie LLP.

Send People items to [email protected]

One thought on “Pavelko sets retirement from WITF, WGBH hires new COO and more comings and goings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *