Comings and goings: ideastream promotes Shafarenko, KRCC gets new manager …

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ideastream in Cleveland made leadership changes.


Michael Shafarenko was promoted to chief experience officer, a new position. He began serving in his new role June 1.

Shafarenko is a co-founder and former president of Civic Commons, a civic engagement platform funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. He joined ideastream in 2013 when the station acquired Civic Commons. He has since received several promotions and most recently served as director of digital experience.

Prior to ideastream and Civic Commons, Shafarenko served in various human resources and operations roles at Case Western Reserve University, Entrepreneurs’ EDGE and the Fund for Our Economic Future.

And Sara Hodgson was named director of employee experience. Her first day will be June 15. Hodgson previously served as VP of human resources at the Mandel Jewish Community Center and was the human resources manager at the Cleveland Museum of Art.



Jeff Bieri was promoted to station manager at KRCC in Colorado Springs, Colo., this month. Bieri joined the station, which is owned by Colorado College and operated by Colorado Public Radio, in 1989. He most recently served as a program manager and host of Air Check, a music show. “I am honored to have the opportunity to continue working with my friends and colleagues at KRCC, and now at Colorado Public Radio. KRCC has been a source of inspiration to me for most of my adult life, and I’m grateful for the partnership that CPR has offered us,” Bieri said in a news release. “The resources and broadcast knowledge of CPR are immense, and I believe the listeners of both KRCC and CPR will benefit greatly through our combined efforts.”

Matt DeRienzo became editor-in-chief of the Center for Public Integrity June 1. He previously served as VP of news at Hearst Connecticut and was editor of the New Haven Register. DeRienzo was the first full-time executive director of LION Publishers, a volunteer-run nonprofit that supports independent online news organizations. He also co-managed the Facebook Journalism Project’s COVID-19 relief grant program.



Jennifer Byrne, VP of corporate communications for PBS, left her position last month to join Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati. Byrne has also worked in public relations for CNN, AOL and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.


Ayesha Ahmad was named chief marketing officer of New York Public Radio. Her first day will be June 15. Ahmad previously served as the chief digital officer and GM of e-commerce for Chilewich, a direct-to-consumer textiles and home decor brand. Prior to Chilewich, Ahmad led marketing and e-commerce operations at, a food company, and Fiverr, a marketplace for freelance services. Ahmad was also a senior marketing executive for the clothing companies J.Crew and Gilt Groupe. She was also the founder of Trunkt, a wholesale marketplace for independent artisans that was acquired by Etsy.


Debbie Bleier was hired as the director of development for WPBS in Watertown, N.Y., last month. She most recently served as the director of marketing and development at the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park. Prior to that, she worked for various nonprofits including the American Red Cross and the Rochester Institute of Technology.


Paige Spears was named associate director of donor services of WUCF in Orlando, Fla., this month. Spears previously worked for the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on the donor services and community outreach team.



Gavin Dahl will leave his position as station manager of community radio station KDNK in Glenwood Springs, Colo. Dahl, who will leave the station at the end of June, is joining KVNF in Paonia, Colo., as a producer and on-air host. Dahl previously served as news director for KDNK. Before that, he worked for national radio programs Alternative Radio with David Barsamian and Nonprofit Radio with Tony Martignetti. To replace Dahl, KDNK is seeking its first executive director.

Mark Wheat, a host for Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current, left his position this month. Wheat has been a host for the station for 15 years. He began his career in radio at freeform station WFMU. He also volunteered at KFAI, worked for the station Zone 105 and was director of student programming at the University of Minnesota’s Radio K.

Shumita Basu, a host and reporter for WNYC in New York City, left the station last month. Basu first started working for the station in 2013 as an intern for The Brian Lehrer Show. She later rose to associate producer, podcast and host positions before becoming a reporter in 2018. 

Christina Turner was named an inaugural Jim Lehrer Journalism Fellow with PBS NewsHour. Turner, a graduate of the University of Alabama, was previously a student intern with Alabama Public Radio. Turner has held several positions at the University of Alabama’s college radio station WVUA, including station manager.


Public Media Women in Leadership announced an ambassador program to help women within the industry. The ambassadors are Liz Adeola, a host and producer for PBS Utah; Katie Briggs, a senior product designer for NPR; Aimee Crouch, news director for South Carolina ETV; Gayle Ewer, a membership services manager for Greater Public; Jessica Rugh Frantz, a fundraising, data and social consultant; Emily Julka, a multimedia producer, PBS Wisconsin; Chelan Lippincott, a major gifts officer for Boise State Public Radio; Erika Matsuda, a membership and events manager for Montana PBS; and Sarah Marie Thomas, director of membership for WVIA Public Media.

Send news of “comings and goings” to [email protected]

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