Comings and goings: Richard Bland named VP at WETA, Hawaii Public Radio shuffles newsroom …

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Richard Bland was hired as VP for foundation and government development for WETA in Washington, D.C., effective Jan. 4.


“I am very happy and proud to welcome Rich to WETA,” said CEO Sharon Percy Rockefeller in a news release. “Rich is deeply intellectual and equally devoted to public service, as well as being a collaborative leader. He is the ideal development partner for PBS NewsHour, Ken Burns and Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Rich’s extensive expertise in fundraising for non-profit organizations and working with the federal government will further advance WETA’s trusted mission locally and nationally.”  

Bland most recently worked as COO for the Washington National Cathedral. He has also been COO for the Faith and Politics Institute; national director of policy, advocacy and development for Save the Children; and a director of federal government relations for the YMCA of the USA. Bland was also deputy chief of staff for former U.S. Sen. Patrick Moynihan.

 “As a lifelong Washingtonian, I have been formed in no small part by WETA,” Bland said. “I look forward to advancing WETA’s mission of public service, particularly now, when journalism of integrity, documentaries delving into our cultural history, and accessible educational programming for all children are more important than ever.”

Hawaii Public Radio announced changes to its news department.

  • Jason Ubay, a producer for the weekday public affairs program The Conversation, was named news editor. Ubay joined the station in 2019. He has also been a managing editor for Hawaii Business Magazine and a reporter for Pacific Business News.
  • Russell Subiono, a pledge and listener experience producer, will become EP of The Conversation. Subiono joined the station in 2016 as a production assistant for the program. He has also been a producer for KITV, an ABC affiliate in Honolulu.
  • Harrison Patiño, a producer for The Conversation, will work as a digital producer for the news department. Patino joined the station in 2018 as a production intern. He has also been a board operator and co-host for Bridging the Gap, a weekly alternative music program.
  • Casey Harlow, a producer of digital content, was named a news producer. Harlow joined the station in 2012 as a board operator, then worked as a fellow and associate producer of digital content. He has also been the host of a soul/R&B Sunday morning program for KTUH, which is owned by the University of Hawaii.
  • Savannah Harriman-Pote was named a producer for The Conversation. She was a summer intern for the station in 2018 and 2019 and was a part-time producer in 2020.

Thirteen staffers at WAMU in Washington, D.C., and sister publication DCist are leaving the organization.

The employees are DCist editor Morgan Baskin and writer Nathan Diller; DCist/WAMU writers Matt Blitz and Andrew Giambrone; editor Naomi Starobin; digital news producers Dawnthea Price Lisco, Julie Strupp and Christian Zapata; and reporters Eliza Berkon, Kavitha Cardoza, Victoria Chamberlin, Colleen Grablick and Hannah Schuster.

The full- and part-time staffers did not have their contracts renewed, according to a WAMU spokesperson. “Several individuals were hired on fixed-term appointments to work on a grant-funded project while others were hired for a specific project,” the spokesperson said in an email. “Those individuals’ employment ended when the grant concluded or when the project concluded.”

Other journalists were hired on a temporary basis “to meet the surge in news coverage during the early months of the pandemic,” the spokesperson said. 



Tom Rogers retired as director of engineering for Mountain Lakes PBS in Plattsburgh, N.Y. He will continue to work with the station part-time as an engineering consultant. Rogers joined the station in 1990 as a maintenance technician after serving in the U.S. Air Force. He has led the engineering and operations departments since 2014. In a news release, CEO Bill McColgan credited Rogers and former director of engineering Charlie Zarbo with helping the station recover after its transmission tower collapsed in 2007. McColgan added that Rogers postponed his retirement in 2019 to assist the station. “Because of Tom’s efforts during this very challenging period, Mountain Lake PBS has a much stronger infrastructure and is well-positioned for future success,” McColgan said. Kurt Lanning, who joined the station in 2019 as a broadcast operations technician, will become director of engineering and technical services.


Corey Schreppel, a technical director for American Public Media/Minnesota Public Radio, left the organization to become a senior audio systems engineer for The New York Times. Schreppel joined APM/MPR in 2014. He previously worked as an audio production instructor at Boston University and a recording engineer for the New England Conservatory of Music. He was also a senior recording engineer for the Aspen Music Festival and School and an assistant engineer for Mix One Studios.



Jonathan Capehart joined PBS NewsHour as a regular contributor, succeeding Mark Shields, who stepped down from the role last month. Capehart is an opinion writer for the Washington Post and anchor of The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart, an MSNBC program. He will appear Fridays with New York Times columnist David Brooks during a segment that will be renamed “Brooks & Capehart.”


James F. Blue III is leaving his role as a senior content and special projects senior producer for PBS NewsHour to work as an SVP and head of the Smithsonian Channel. He will also oversee factual and unscripted content for MTV Entertainment. Before joining NewsHour in 2015, Blue was a White House correspondent, Washington bureau chief and head of special events for Arise News.


Nsikan Akpan was hired as health and science editor for WNYC in New York City. His first day will be Monday. Akpan previously worked as science editor for National Geographic. He has also been a digital producer in science for PBS NewsHour and a global health news intern for NPR.

De Los Santos

Brian De Los Santos was hired as an editor for LAist, which is overseen by Southern California Public Radio. His first day will be Jan. 11. De Los Santos is currently a digital strategist for The Desert Sun. He has had multiple stints working for LAist sibling KPCC. In 2011, he worked as a digital media intern, and he was a digital news intern for NPR in 2013. He later became a producer for KCRW in Los Angeles and returned to KPCC as a fill-in producer before leaving again in 2015. De Los Santos has also been a digital editor for the Los Angeles Times. “Growing up in Los Angeles as an undocumented, queer immigrant, I had a keen interest on how media tells the story of our communities,” he said in a LAist profile. “As an Angeleno, I’m excited to return to the city and continue exploring journalism through diverse experiences that only L.A. can offer.”

Feldhaus Adams

Rebecca Feldhaus Adams will join Louisville Public Media as news director this month. Feldhaus Adams previously worked as news director for WHRO in Norfolk, Va. She has also been an editor for WAMU in Washington, D.C.; a part-time reporter and editor for NPR; an education reporter for the Paducah Sun; and a talent director for the Association of Independents in Radio. Her first job in public media was as a reporter for WKMS in Murray, Ky. At LPM she fills one of the roles previously held by Erica Peterson, who left the station to become managing editor of Mountain State Spotlight, a nonprofit newsroom based in West Virginia.

Maddie Schwappach and Zeke Salo were hired as hosts for Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current. Schwappach previously worked as music director for the University of Minnesota’s Radio K. She has also been a columnist and intern for The Current. Salo previously worked for Minneapolis radio stations Go 95.3 and 96.3 as an on-air personality.


Danielle Bainbridge announced that Origin of Everything, a PBS Digital Studios series produced by Complexly, will end after three seasons. In a YouTube video, the show’s host and creator said that though the program is funded in part by donations from viewers on Patreon, it is still largely supported by public media. “Sadly, PBS can’t renew every show it launches,” Bainbridge said. The program’s YouTube page and other social media accounts will be preserved so viewers can revisit the show’s episodes, which focused on popular culture, history and identity. Bainbridge is an assistant professor of theatre and African American studies at Northwestern University.


Kendall Smith is leaving his position as partnership and events manager for Colorado Public Radio to become director of programming at the Arts Campus at Willits in Basalt. Smith joined the station in 2019 after working as VP of events and partnerships at Denverite.

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