WITF picks president, Kravetz leaves WBUR, and other comings and goings

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Ron Hetrick will succeed Kathleen Pavelko as president of WITF Public Media in Harrisburg, Pa.

Hetrick

Hetrick has been SVP of finance and administration at WITF since 2009. He joined the station in 2000 as director of technology. Hetrick will assume his new role April 2.

Search committee chair Mieke Driscoll said Hetrick was the group’s unanimous choice “because he combined technology and financial expertise with a demonstrated commitment to WITF’s mission and strategic vision.”

Hetrick currently chairs the board of the Public Media Business Association. He holds a doctorate in business administration from Temple University, where his research focused on the effects of corporate governance practices on nonprofit financial performance in institutions with accumulated wealth.

Pavelko announced her retirement in June after 19 years in leadership.

WBUR GM Charlie Kravetz has given up daily operation of the Boston public radio station and will resign June 30.

Kravetz (Photo: Liz Linder)

Kravetz’s departure, announced Monday by WBUR and licensee Boston University, comes after what a WBUR article called “more than a year of turmoil,” during which On Point host Tom Ashbrook was put on leave following allegations of abusive behavior with staff. An investigation and subsequent action plan underscored problems among WBUR management, according to the station’s report.

In a statement, Kravetz said “My eight years at WBUR have been the best in my 40-year career. … At a time of great challenge for journalism and media, WBUR has essentially doubled in impact, revenue and service to the community.”

Kravetz has led WBUR since 2011. Earlier in his career he worked as an executive at New England Cable News for 17 years.

Sam Fleming, news and programming managing director, will oversee the station until a new GM is hired.

New York Public Radio COO Depelsha McGruder will serve as interim CEO starting April 1.

McGruder

McGruder takes over from Laura Walker, who announced last year that she would depart in June.

McGruder will serve until a permanent CEO is named and then return to her role as COO, NYPR Board Chair Mayo Stuntz told staffers in a note March 4.

McGruder joined the station in the fall.

Content

The New York Times has hired several staffers for The Daily, its podcast that also airs on public radio. Lisa Chow is senior editor. Most recently she hosted the Gimlet documentary series StartUp. Marc Georges is editor; he just launched the third season of the podcast First Day Back,produced in collaboration with EW Scripps and Stitcher. Eric Krupke is a news producer. Most recently he was hosting, producing and editing a daily news program for The Financial Times. Adizah Eghan is also a news producer. Previously Eghan produced for Snap Judgment. And Kelly Prime is narrative producer. Prime has produced More Perfect, the Radiolab spinoff series about the Supreme Court.

Jerome Socolovsky has joined NPR Training to focus on audio storytelling. He’s former editor-in-chief of Religious News Service and previously reported as a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press.

Phyllis Brotherton retired last month after 19 years as executive VP/CFO at ValleyPBS in Fresno, Calif. She’ll especially miss “Cheesemas, in which we annually celebrate all things cheesy and my January birthday,” she wrote in a farewell column in the Fresno Bee.

Kaufmann

Chip Kaufmann, a host for nearly 36 years at Blue Ridge Public Radio, will retire May 31 from the Asheville, N.C., station where he began as a volunteer in 1983. “I came to Asheville to help start a dinner theater, not to be on public radio,” he said in an announcement. “The theater folded after two years but the public radio gig didn’t.” He was drafted as a classical host after station staff discovered he had a classical album collection. PD Barbara Sayer said his contributions “are enormous. Chip has been a source of continuity, inspiration and wit.”

Jessica Alpert has left her position as managing producer of program development at WBUR. This week she launched an independent podcast studio, Rococo Punch.

Eric Weddle, who reports on education for WFYI in Indianapolis, was mistaken for former NFL safety Eric Weddle online earlier this month when the Pro Bowl player was in the news after leaving the Baltimore Ravens. The mixup “caused this Weddle’s phone to vibrate continuously for 10 minutes straight,” reported ESPN. The pubmedia Weddle had a bit of Photoshop fun with the confusion.

Jim Burress, host on WABE-FM in Atlanta, has stepped away from the mic due to health issues affecting his voice. Christine Dempsey, VP for radio at Public Broadcasting Atlanta, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that Burress is now producing, editing and working behind the scenes. Producer Sascha Cordner is taking over on-air for Burress.

Nevada Public Radio has announced several staff changes for NV89, its music station serving Reno and Carson. Malayna Joy is the new operations/program manager. She joined NV89 at its launch in 2017. Gia De Santis is music director. De Santis created the NV89 show Cocktails in the Kiddie Pool. And David Hadel adds middays to his host duties.

Brittany Lind is the new host of the Duluth Local Show on The Current, Minnesota Public Radio’s Triple A station. She also oversees operations and leads audience engagement work and community partnerships at several stations. Lind is creator and executive director of Ellipsis, a local event promotion organization. She also co-produces Femn Fest, a Duluth music event highlighting female and nonbinary artists.

Engagement and outreach

Howard

Frontline has hired Erika Howard as impact producer, a new position in the investigative newsroom at WGBH in Boston. Howard will oversee outreach initiatives, partnership creation and events at conferences, film festivals and industry gatherings. Previously Howard was senior director of station marketing and audience engagement at POV in New York City, where she oversaw engagement initiatives including “Our America: Documentary in Dialogue” and “POV Presents.” She also managed marketing for film distributor Women Make Movies.

Fellowships

CPB has announced the first class of Public Media Editorial Integrity and Leadership Fellows. The 53 fellows will begin the program next month at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in Phoenix. Curriculum topics will include balance, objectivity, accuracy, fairness and transparency. “At a time when many news outlets are shrinking, we seek to train more public media editors to lead public media’s growing newsrooms while upholding the highest editorial standards,” said Kathy Merritt, CPB SVP, journalism and radio, in an announcement.

The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., has selected participants for its fifth annual Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media. Attending from public media organizations will be N’Jeri Eaton, deputy director of programming and new audience at NPR, and Erin Reynolds, audience engagement specialist at WHYY in Philadelphia.

Marketing

Cassidy

WGBH in Boston has hired Tina Cassidy as chief marketing officer. Previously Cassidy was EVP and chief content officer at InkHouse Media + Marketing, a PR firm in Waltham, Mass. She also reported for the Boston Globe and is author of several nonfiction books, including Mr. President How Long Must We Wait?: Alice Paul, Woodrow Wilson and the Fight for the Right to Vote. Cassidy is a board member for the New England Center for Investigative Reporting.

Member services

Margaret Ann Schneweis is the new member services manager at Vegas PBS. She will handle developing, coordinating and managing membership revenue. Previously she was a senior manager for the Nevada Commission on Tourism.

Governance

Members of the Association of Independents in Radio have elected four new board members. Joining the panel are producer Keisha TK Dutes, host of TK in the AM on Bondfire Radio, an online station in New York City; Emily Kwong, NPR Above the Fray fellow, Washington, D.C., and Mongolia; Brenda Salinas, Google News strategic partner management, London; and Maureen McMurray, director of innovative content, New Hampshire Public Radio, Concord.

Fudge

The board of WGBH in Boston has elected Ann M. Fudge as chair. She is former chair and CEO of Young & Rubicam brands, a global marketing communications firm. Fudge joined the board in 2015 and was elected vice chair last year.

The board of WITF in Harrisburg, Pa., has elected new leadership. Chair is Mark Van Blargan of the law firm McNees Wallace and Nurick. He has served on the board since 2008. Susan Eckert is vice chair; she is a retired president of United Way of Lancaster County. Eckert has been a board member since 2012.

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