Comings and goings: New NPR digital VP comes from Microsoft, SCETV appoints assistant GM …

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Noelle LaCharite will join NPR next month as VP of Digital Technology, a new position. LaCharite will lead the NPR Digital Media team and “set the architectural vision and support for NPR’s digital platforms, services, and applications, support product strategy and business objectives, and drive innovation,” the network said Tuesday in a press release.

LaCharite (Courtesy of Noelle LaCharite)

LaCharite most recently worked for Microsoft, where she “drove the development of applied AI technologies from inception through deployment,” NPR said. In 2015 she co-founded the AI Leadership Institute, which facilities workshops and strategy sessions. 

“She additionally spent four years at Amazon, where she hired and managed the team charged with developing and deploying natural language understanding models for Alexa,” according to NPR.

“As a longtime NPR fan, I am excited to join this incredible team and help write a new chapter in NPR’s rich technical history,” LaCharite said. “I am honored to bring my expertise and passion to this incredible mission and I am looking forward to the opportunity that awaits.”

Two employees at South Carolina ETV have moved into newly created positions.

Adrienne Fairwell is the new assistant GM, and Tabitha Safdi has been named director of digital strategies.

Fairwell previously served as VP of marketing, communications and development. She began her career as an intern with the network and went on to work in public relations for various state agencies, most recently the South Carolina Department of Commerce, where she was director of marketing and communications. 

As assistant GM, Fairwell oversees departments including content, underwriting and marketing and communications. The content department now includes the newly created digital strategies division.

Safdi has worked at SCETV for 14 years. She is a member of the PBS Digital Media Advisory Council.


Juana Summers tweeted that she’s returning to NPR to cover demographics and culture. She was previously a congressional reporter for NPR from 2014–15. Most recently she was a national political reporter for The Associated Press since September 2018. She was also a senior political writer for CNN and a politics editor for Mashable.

Meanwhile, Deborah George is joining NPR as senior editor of Invisibilia. She previously was senior radio editor at Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting for more than four years. A contributing editor for Radio Diaries, George also worked as an editor and producer at NPR for 18 years.


Maryland Public Television’s Rhea Feikin will retire at the end of February 2020. Feikin has been a mainstay on MPT for more than 40 years. She currently hosts the programs Artworks and Chesapeake Collectibles and is the principal pledge-drive spokesperson. Feikin’s first job at MPT was on the series Consumer Survival Kit in the 1970s. She went on to host productions including MPT on Location (1991–96), ArtWorks This Week (2002–13) and Impressions with Rhea Feikin (2007–14). Feikin also serves as honorary chair of MPT’s current comprehensive fundraising campaign. When MPT created its outdoor Walk of Fame in 2010, hers was the first star to be unveiled. 

Emie Michaud Weinstock is joining PRX in Boston as director of brand marketing, while Kevin Cooney was named director of digital fundraising. Michaud Weinstock previously led campaigns at ReveledUp, a marketing firm for mission-driven organizations and nonprofits. She also served as a management consultant for Fidelity Investments and as an attorney for Greater Boston Legal Services. Cooney previously oversaw annual giving, major gifts and underwriting at WERS in Boston


Kelsey Brannan will join Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current Dec. 2 as assistant PD. She worked at the St. Paul station as a music assistant from 2014–16. Most recently, she was producer of the Afternoon Show and project manager at KEXP in Seattle. At The Current, she succeeds Lindsay Kimball, who was promoted to MPR’s regional director of membership earlier this year.

Acorn TV in Silver Spring, Md., hired Kevin Dando as senior director of social media and digital audience strategy. Dando left his role of senior director, social media strategy and digital communications at PBS in 2017 after 22 years at the network. He then worked in social media strategy and operations for QCatalyst.

Sarah Pineda is the new assistant producer to the community engagement team at KPCC in Pasadena, Calif. She was previously apprentice news clerk for the team since November 2018.


Cincinnati Public Radio hired Ilyce Meckler as producer for Cincinnati Edition. Meckler has more than 20 years of experience as a freelance video producer for ABC News, ESPN, PBS and other clients. At Cincinnati Public Radio, she replaces Pete Rightmire, the show’s original producer.

Joleene Moody is the new host of Whiz Quiz, an academic quiz show on WPBS in Watertown, N.Y., now entering its 40th year. Moody has more than 15 years of experience in TV news, production and filmmaking.


WFPK, the Triple A station at Kentucky’s Louisville Public Media, is adding host Otis Junior to its evenings Monday through Thursday. Junior will continue in his Saturday afternoon slot as well. In addition to his hosting duties, Junior performs as Dr. Dundiff and with his own band, The Jesse Lees. He’ll replace evening host Meg Samples, who is moving to Portland, Ore. To send her off, host Laura Shine will devote the 5 p.m. hour of programming Friday to playing all the Louisville bands for which Samples has played (including Bridge 19).

Marcus Green is now writing reported columns for Crosscut, a division of Cascade Public Media in Seattle. 

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