Comings and goings: Andrea Downing named president of PBS Distribution, Brenda Williams-Butts promoted at New York Public Radio …

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Andrea Downing was named president of PBS Distribution, the joint operation owned by PBS and GBH in Boston.

Downing joined the organization as co-president in 2009. She previously worked as VP of home entertainment and partnerships for PBS and was a director of operations for Discovery Communications.

“Andrea is an accomplished executive who has guided PBS Distribution’s path from a startup to a global company with far-reaching impact,” said PBS President Paula Kerger in a statement. “We are grateful for her ongoing leadership to ensure that PBSd continues to adapt, evolve and thrive in the modern media landscape.”

David Bernstein, a VP and GM for GBH Enterprises, also worked as co-president with Downing. A publicist for GBH said that in a new role of president for strategic partnerships for PBS Distribution, Bernstein will focus on Masterpiece and scripted dramas.

Human resources


Brenda Williams-Butts was promoted to SVP of diversity, equity and inclusion for New York Public Radio. Williams-Butts joined the organization in 1996 as manager of community affairs. She has also been a senior director of community engagement and audience development and VP for DEI. Before that, she was a project manager for Sesame Workshop.



Emma Glenn was promoted to development officer for PBS Reno in Nevada. Glenn joined the station in 2018 as grant coordinator. She previously worked as development coordinator for the Nevada Cancer Coalition, marketing review specialist for Financial Engines and business operations coordinator for Mountain View Montessori School. “[Glenn] facilitated more than $1 million per year in grants for several years, helping to grow the station’s education programs and local productions significantly. We are delighted to have her as the station’s primary grant writer and taking a leadership role in station events,” said Peter Stanton, VP of development.



Talesha Reynolds was hired as senior content and special projects producer for PBS NewsHour. Reynolds will replace James F. Blue III, who left the program to become an SVP and head of the Smithsonian Channel. Reynolds most recently worked as a producer for NBC News and also managed the network’s Washington, D.C., internship program. She has also been a producer for ABC News.


Mariam Sobh was hired to host All IN, a statewide weekday talk show produced by WFYI in Indianapolis. All IN, which launched in 2019, is distributed to most members of Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations. Sobh previously worked as an anchor and reporter for WBBM, a commercial radio station, and as a host, reporter and producer for WBEZ in Chicago.

Lilly Ana Fowler announced that she left her position as a reporter for Crosscut, a news website operated by Cascade Public Media in Seattle, to become a social justice reporter for KNKX in Tacoma, Wash. Fowler joined Crosscut in 2017 and said on Twitter that she was proud to participate in union contract negotiations with the station. She previously worked as a producer for Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, a public television series, and as a reporter for the St. Louis Dispatch.


Sean Powers announced that he is leaving his role as director of podcasting for Georgia Public Broadcasting. He was hired as a senior producer for the investigative podcast Verified, co-produced by Scripps and Stitcher. Powers, whose last day is Tuesday, joined GPB in 2014 as a producer and reporter for On Second Thought, a radio program.


Vicky Gregor will retire as a music coordinator and host for KRCC in Colorado Springs, Colo. Gregor participated in the station’s volunteer training program in 1994, which led to her becoming a volunteer host in 1995. During her tenure, she has emceed nearly all of the station’s live concerts. “Vicky has truly been the inspiration behind all of the music that has been broadcast on KRCC, and has made KRCC much of what it is today,” said Station Manager Jeff Bieri in a news release. “Her absence will be felt deeply by the staff here, as well as the community she has so lovingly befriended over the years.” Gregor plans to continue writing a weekly music newsletter for the station and will occasionally appear on the air for features and artist interviews, according to the station.


Andrea Swensson announced that she is leaving her role as host and producer of The Local Show for Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current. Her last day on the air is April 4. “It’s time for a new chapter, and I’m eager and daunted to become a self-employed music writer, author, and podcaster,” she said on Twitter. “I can’t wait to write more books and tell more stories, and to be my own boss! Slingshot Annie, LLC is now open for business.” Swensson joined the station in 2012 and previously worked as the music editor for the defunct alternative newspaper City Pages.


Dalia Colón was named full-time host for the culinary podcast The Zest, produced by WUSF in Tampa, Fla. Colón, who has worked two separate stints for the station, previously worked as producer and occasional host of the podcast. From 2010 to 2014, she was a health and features reporter for the station. She was also a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and Cleveland Magazine.


Marianne Combs announced that she was hired to be managing news editor for Ampers Radio for Diverse Communities, an association of community stations in Minnesota. Combs is a former host, producer and reporter for American Public Media/Minnesota Public Radio. When she resigned from the organization last year, she said editors would not move forward with her investigation into a DJ at MPR’s The Current who had been accused of sexual misconduct. “When I resigned from MPR News in September, I was so drained and disheartened by my last few months there that I felt sure I was done with working in the news business for good. Then a project came along that spoke straight to my heart,” Combs said on LinkedIn. Combs will work on “Racial Reckoning: The Arc of Justice,” a collaboration with KMOJ Radio and the Minnesota Humanities Center. “My job is to support a talented and diverse (majority Black, majority women) team of reporters, producers and hosts as they examine the criminal justice system and community response,” Combs said.


Marlon Hyde was hired as the first news fellow for Vermont Public Radio. The yearlong fellowship was created as part of VPR’s Diverse Voices Initiative, which is funded by donors. Hyde, who will join the station in May, is graduating from Saint Michael’s College this spring with a degree in media studies, journalism and digital arts. While studying abroad, Hyde wrote news stories last year for Reporting Morocco, an online news magazine led by the School for International Training.


Three public media journalists are in the 2021 cohort for the Online News Association’s Women’s Leadership Accelerator. The yearlong program provides management training for women in digital journalism. The public media employees participating are Ana Campbell, an editor for Denverite, which is owned by Colorado Public Radio; Dana Amihere, a data editor for KPCC/LAist in Pasadena, Calif.; and Diana Fraser, a media project manager for TPT in St. Paul, Minn.

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