Comings and goings: Mendenhall signs off in Austin, ‘Frontline’ expands team …

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Hawk Mendenhall will retire Dec. 31 from his position of associate director of broadcast and content at KUT/KUTX in Austin, Texas. 

Mendenhall

Mendenhall joined the radio station in 2001 and oversaw changes in programming that “brought in new audiences and increased overall listening,” according to a station press release. He has also been involved in development of a four-station news collaboration in Texas.

“Hawk was instrumental in helping to create the station’s newsroom, launch KUTX 98.9 as an all-music station, launch ‘Texas Standard’ and kick-start digital operations,” said Debbie Hiott, KUT/KUTX director and GM.

Mendenhall has worked in radio for more than 40 years. He served two terms on the board of the Public Radio Program Directors Association.

“It’s been a great ride in Austin and beyond anything else I want to say how proud I am of what the people working at KUT and KUTX have accomplished over the years,” said Mendenhall said in the release. “These are two of best public radio stations in the country and all credit goes to the staff’s hard work and the amazing support of our listeners.

“As for me, I can finally start working toward that dream job as a Jungle Cruise guide at Disneyland.”

Frontline’ is adding journalists and fellows to its reporting team.

The investigative PBS series has hired Ben C. Solomon as its first Abrams Filmmaker-in-Residence, a new yearlong position supported by the Abrams Foundation. Solomon previously served as the first visual-first correspondent for the New York Times, where he was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone. He will produce at least three films as Frontline’s filmmaker-in-residence.

Ko Bragg is also joining the show as lead reporter on a new interactive documentary project focusing on civil rights cold cases. Bragg has previously covered criminal justice issues in Mississippi. She was an investigative fellow for Reveal and reported for the Jackson Free Press.

In addition, Frontline is welcoming 2019 Columbia Journalism School graduates Zoe Todd and Karen Pinchin as Frontline/Columbia Journalism School Fellows. Todd has reported for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in Alberta. Pinchin most recently worked as a freelance journalist in New Brunswick, Canada.

Content

Kim

Liliana Kim will join American Public Media as managing director of podcasts starting Aug. 19. Previously she was VP of international content strategy and brand management at MTV, leading multiplatform content planning and programming strategy. She also oversaw product development and digital distribution of premium content releases at HBO. Kim began her career in production working on NOW with Bill Moyers.

Jim Schachter, VP of news at WNYC in New York City, left the station Tuesday. “With all the change here, I’ve been thinking for at least a year about my next adventure,” Schachter wrote in a post on Facebook. “Now I’ve decided that I want to try something completely different in the next phase of my career — much as I did when I left The New York Times to join WNYC seven mind-expanding years ago. WNYC has new leaders, and I want to give them a chance to bust some moves of their own, too.” Executive Editor Sean Bowditch has stepped into the role of interim news director.

Zori

88Nine Radio Milwaukee named Dori Zori assistant PD. Zori was previously promotions manager. She will continue to host the station’s weekday morning show, which she has anchored since 2012. Before joining 88Nine, she was underwriting director of WMSE in Milwaukee.

Craig Kopp will join Aspen Public Radio in Colorado next month as managing editor. Kopp previously served as GM of WMNF in Tampa, Fla., and as news director of WNKU in Highland Heights, Ky. He also taught podcasting at the University of South Florida and hosts Everyday Ethics, a weekly podcast.

Fellowships

Several journalists at public and nonprofit media outlets are among the American Press Institute’s 2019–20 Community Listening Fellows. They are Steve Mencher, news director at Northern California Public Media in Rohnert Park, Calif.; Eric Whitney, news director at Montana Public Radio in Missoula; and Mazin Sidahmed, co-founder of Documented, a New York City–based nonprofit website that covers immigration issues. They will receive training and support “on how to employ listening strategies to inform their journalism and to help them represent and serve their communities better,” according to API.

Education

Rotenberg

Parents as Teachers named Lesli Rotenberg, chief programing executive and GM of children’s media and education at PBS, to its board of directors. The St. Louis–based organization “matches parents and caregivers with trained professionals who make regular personal home visits during a child’s earliest years in life,” according to a release.

Send news of hirings, departures and other peregrinations to people@current.org

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