Comings and goings: PBS welcomes new board members, NETA names Simmons content VP …

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Five newly elected members joined the PBS board following its meeting this week in Arlington, Va. The new professional directors are Rob Dunlop, CEO of Cascade Public Media in Seattle; Susi Elkins, director of broadcasting and GM for WKAR Public Media in East Lansing, Mich.; and Courtney Pledger, CEO of Arkansas Educational Television Network.

Joining the board as general directors are Catherine Robb, media attorney and counsel in the business litigation practice group of Haynes and Boone in Austin, Texas; and Geoff Sands, an independent consultant and emeritus director of McKinsey & Co.

Gary Stokes, GM of KSPS-TV in Spokane, Wash., was reelected by the system as a professional director. The board also reelected three general directors: former Secretary of Defense and Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel; Erroll B. Davis Jr., senior advisor at TalentQuest; and Ramon Rodriguez, chairman of the board of directors of Republic Services Inc. and former managing partner and CEO of Madsen Sapp Mena Rodriguez & Co.

“As PBS navigates a complex media environment, it is critical that we have the guidance and counsel of leaders from across the nation who have expertise in a broad range of fields,” said PBS CEO Paula Kerger in a press release. “We are fortunate to have such an experienced and talented group of board members who are committed to advancing the essential mission of public television.”

Except in the case of filling vacancies created by resignations, PBS member stations elect professional directors. The full board elects general directors, the PBS president and professional directors filling vacancies on the board.

The National Educational Telecommunications Association has chosen Angee Simmons to be its VP, content.

Now VP for engagement and education at KCPT in Kansas City, Mo., Simmons will oversee the NETA Program Service and “usher in a new era of content distribution,” according to a NETA release.

Over 24 years with KCPT, Simmons has also worked as a producer, EP and VP for TV production. At NETA, she replaces Gayle Loeber, who left the organization this month. Simmons will begin working at NETA’s headquarters in Columbia, S.C., in late October.

Ohio’s WYSO has a new GM.

Dennis and Ellis (Photo: Andy Snow)

Leadership at the Yellow Springs radio station is changing as it transitions to independence from Antioch College. Former GM Neenah Ellis has become president, a role in which she will focus on launching a new Center for Community Voices. She had served as GM since 2009.

The station’s new GM is Luke Dennis, formerly development director. He had held that role since 2012.

WYSO also established a seven-member board of trustees to provide governance for Miami Valley Public Media, the station’s new nonprofit licensee. Chair William Linesch is a retired chief human resources officer and system VP for Premier Health Network.


Douris (Photo: Britney Townsend)

The new host of WXPN’s World Cafe is Raina Douris, who joins the show Oct. 7. Douris was previously host and writer for Mornings on CBC Music, a daily national show on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s radio stations. Since 2017, Douris has hosted the Polaris Music Prize Gala, for which she is also a jury member. WXPN announced in June that World Cafe‘s previous host, Talia Schlanger, would leave the show this fall to “pursue new creative endeavors.” Schlanger was also a CBC veteran.

Kat Chow is leaving NPR after six years with the network. A founding member of Code Switch, Chow has been on sabbatical working on “a memoir that digs into the questions about grief, race and identity that her mother’s sudden death triggered when Kat was young,” according to her NPR bio.

Meanwhile, Emily Kwong is joining NPR as reporter and backup host for Short Wave, a daily science podcast debuting next month. She has been reporting from Mongolia for NPR as part of the network’s Above the Fray international reporting fellowship. Before that she was a host and reporter for four years at KCAW-FM in Sitka, Alaska.

And N’Jeri Eaton has a new role at the network. She joined NPR in 2016 as senior manager for program acquisition.


John Dankosky will step down Nov. 1 as executive editor of the New England News Collaborative, a regional collaboration among eight pubcasters. He has held the position since 2016. Dankosky, an employee of Connecticut Public, accepted a voluntary buyout offered by the station in July, according to a memo to staff Monday from CEO Mark Contreras. “I hope to be very involved in the collaborative in New England moving forward past Nov. 1,” Dankosky told Connecticut Public.

WABE in Atlanta has hired Alex Helmick as managing editor of WABE News. Helmick has worked as senior/supervising editor at KQED in San Francisco since 2013. He starts in Atlanta Oct. 21.

Reginald Hardwick will join Illinois Public Media in Urbana next month as news and public affairs director. He is currently news director at WKAR Public Media.

A subsidiary of WXXI in Rochester, N.Y., has chosen David Andreatta as the new editor of City Newspaper, the alternative digital and print weekly that the station acquired in May. Andreatta is a reporter and news columnist for Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle newspaper. He is succeeding Mary Anna Towler, the retiring co-founder and co-publisher of City Newspaper. WXXI acquired City under Rochester Area Media Partners, a for-profit subsidiary.

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