Comings and goings: Cincinnati Public Radio hires VP of content, New York Public Radio adds chief HR officer …

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Jenell Walton was hired as VP of content for Cincinnati Public Radio.


Walton most recently worked as VP of communications and strategic development for the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau. She has also been VP of marketing, communications and key initiatives for the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio and worked in external affairs for Cincinnati Metro. As a journalist from 2000–16, Walton was a reporter and anchor for commercial TV stations WCPO and WLWT. She started her career in public radio in 1994 at WVUB in Vincennes, Ind.

At Cincinnati Public Radio, Walton will replace Chris Phelps, who announced last year that she would leave the station. Phelps will transition into the role of content VP emeritus during the beginning of Walton’s tenure to assist with the transition, according to a news release.

“The travel industry took a big hit during COVID-19, and I was let go in December,” Walton said in the release, referring to her most recent job. “Everything in the Cincinnati Public Radio job description fit my wheelhouse. It was a perfect fit.”

Human resources


Monique Jefferson joined New York Public Radio as chief human resources officer. Jefferson most recently worked as head of HR at two divisions for the law firm Hogan Lovells. She was also a VP for New York Life Insurance and a human resources leader for Bank of America and BofA Securities, Inc. “Monique’s distinguished track record building and strengthening HR functions, as well as her deep commitment to DEI, make her a perfect fit to oversee HR strategy and operations at NYPR in 2021 and beyond,” said NYPR CEO Goli Sheikholeslami in a news release.



Cephas Ablakwa was hired as director of education and engagement for WCTE in Cookeville, Tenn. Ablakwa most recently completed a doctorate in exceptional learning with a concentration in program planning and evaluation from Tennessee Tech University. He also taught art at Cookeville High School and has been an artist in Ghana, Iceland and the Upper Cumberland in Tennessee.


Fernando Pizarro announced that he was hired as a supervising editor of NPR’s Morning Edition. Pizarro most recently worked as a Washington correspondent for Univision. Before that, he worked as an anchor for Panamerican Sports Network and ESPN. Pizarro is also an adjunct lecturer for American University.


Maureen McMurray announced that she is leaving New Hampshire Public Radio. “I’ll miss making great work with my beloved colleagues, but I’m excited to explore new opportunities,” she said on Twitter. McMurray joined the station in 2013 as an EP who oversaw production of podcasts including Outside/In and Civics 101. She most recently worked as director of content and audience development. Before joining NHPR, McMurray was an editor for NPR, a supervising producer for Sirius XM and a producer for WNYC in New York City.


Kaari Pitkin left her position as an EP of Radio Rookies, a workshop created by WNYC in New York City. Pitkin joined the station in 1998 as a producer. She later became a senior producer, including for the program Caught: The Lives of Juvenile Justice, which The New Yorker named one of the top 10 podcasts of 2018. Pitkin was also contributing editor for The Stakes, a social justice and politics podcast.


Andrew Ramsammy was hired as chief content and collaboration officer for the Local Media Association. Ramsammy most recently worked as director of digital content for the Global Sport Institute at Arizona State University. He previously worked as director of audience strategy for Arizona PBS and as executive director for the public media consulting firm UnitedPublic Strategies.

Craig Kopp was hired as news director for WEKU in Richmond, Ky. The station has not had a news director since the death of John Hingsbergen in 2017, according to a news release. “Craig Kopp was clearly the best candidate for this key position,” said GM Mike Savage in the release. “He brings significant editorial and journalistic experience that this station needs to better serve our central and eastern Kentucky audience.” Kopp most recently worked as GM of WMNF and was an on-air host for WUSF, both in Tampa, Fla. He was a host and producer for WKRC and news director for WEBN, both in Cincinnati, and was also news director for WNKU, which was sold by its university licensee to a religious broadcaster.



America’s Public Television Stations elected new leaders for its board of trustees, who will begin their terms Monday. Andrew Russell, CEO for the Public Media Group of Southern California, was elected chair. Susi Elkins, GM for WKAR in East Lansing, Mich., was elected professional vice chair. David Steward II, immediate past board chair for Nine PBS in St. Louis, was elected lay vice chair. APTS’ board also elected two trustees: Eric Easter, a lay trustee for WHUT in Washington, D.C., and Anthony Hayes, GM and COO for New England Public Media in Springfield, Mass.

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