Comings and goings: NewsHour Productions announces staff changes, WAMU CCO leaving station …

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NewsHour Productions, a subsidiary of WETA in Washington, D.C., announced changes to its public affairs programs.


Sara Just was promoted to senior EP of NewsHour Productions. Just, who is also an SVP at WETA, most recently worked as EP. PBS’ nightly news flagship took over production of Washington Week from WETA in late 2021 and will take over production of PBS NewsHour Weekend from the WNET Group in New York City in April.


Rachel Wellford was appointed EP of NewsHour Weekend. Wellford most recently worked as a producer for CNN+ and previously held several production roles for NewsHour from 2013–21. Wellford will also work as a senior producer for Washington Week.


Stephanie Kotuby was named EP of Washington Week. She succeeds Jeff Bieber, who resigned last year to start a production company. Kotuby joined NewsHour Productions in 2015 as senior editorial producer and will retain that role. Before NewsHour, Kotuby was a booking producer for Bloomberg and held production roles for CNN.

Monna Kashfi, chief content officer for WAMU in Washington, D.C., is leaving the station.


The station announced her departure Feb. 18. Starting Tuesday, Kashfi will be VP of content and communications for Welcome.US, a nonprofit that supports refugees from Afghanistan.

“It’s definitely bittersweet to leave my public media family — so many important initiatives & goals still in the works — I feel like I am getting off the train in between stops,” she said on Twitter. “But I am thrilled & excited to take on this new challenge … it is a cause that is deeply personal to me & I hope I can make an impact.”


Kashfi joined WAMU in 2018 and was previously EP for The Kojo Nnamdi Show. She has also been an EP for CGTN America, a senior producer for RT America and a producer for Voice of America.

Jonathan Blakley will be interim content director while WAMU leads a search for Kashfi’s successor. Blakley previously worked as executive director of radio programming for KQED in San Francisco. He has also been PD for Minnesota Public Radio News and a producer and editor for NPR.

Dual licensee WABE in Atlanta announced three promotions.

Aishah Rashied-Hyman became SVP of membership and business development. Rashied-Hyman most recently worked as VP of business development and planning. She joined the station in 2017 as director of individual giving. Before that, she led on-air fundraising for Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Glenda Davis steps up to VP of membership operations. Davis first joined WABE in 2007 as donor relations manager. She left the station for development positions at the Woodruff Arts Center, then rejoined WABE in 2019 as director of membership operations.

Santiago Perez-Varela was promoted to VP of finance. Perez-Varela, who joined the station in 2019, most recently worked as director of finance. He previously worked as a financial reporting manager for Invest Atlanta and held several financial roles for Turner Broadcasting.



John Celestand will leave his role as director of engagement for CPB. Celestand was hired as PD for a collaboration between the Local Media Association and the Knight Foundation. He will oversee Knight x LMA BloomLab, which supports Black-owned media organizations. His first day is March 9. Before joining CPB in 2019, Celestand was a program manager for Goodwill Industries and a program coordinator for a mentorship program at Rutgers University. He was also a professional basketball player in America and Europe, most notably for the championship-winning Los Angeles Lakers during the 1999–2000 season.



Brian Naylor, a correspondent for NPR’s Washington Desk, announced his retirement Friday. “Many thanks to the incredibly talented editors and producers who have made me sound smarter, and to my great, generous colleagues. I have been lucky to work with giants,” Naylor said on Twitter. Naylor joined NPR in 1982 and has served as National Desk correspondent, congressional correspondent, foreign correspondent and All Things Considered newscaster. He also filled in as host for many programs, including Morning Edition, Weekend Edition and Talk of the Nation.


Anne Ishii was hired as host for Movers & Makers, an arts program produced by WHYY in Philadelphia. Ishii is a writer and executive director for the Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia. She is also co-founder of Massive Goods, a lifestyle brand and arts agency representing queer and feminist artists from Japan.


Janaya Williams became an afternoon host for KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif. Williams most recently worked for NPR, where she was an All Things Considered producer. She has also been a reporter and host for WWNO in New Orleans and a reporter and producer for WNYC in New York City.


Steve Peck was hired as the public affairs producer for Wyoming PBS. Peck will host two weekly public affairs programs, Wyoming Chronicle and Capitol Outlook. Peck is a former owner and publisher of the Riverton Ranger, a newspaper. He sold the publication earlier this year, according to the station’s news release. Peck succeeds Craig Blumenshine, who left the position last month and will become director of communications and marketing for the National Museum of Military Vehicles, according to The Wyoming Tribune Eagle.


Ted Goldberg became a correspondent for NJ Spotlight News, produced by NJ PBS. Goldberg most recently worked as a multimedia journalist for Spectrum News in Buffalo, N.Y. He has also been a sports reporter for Spectrum and held additional journalism positions with commercial stations in Virginia and Syracuse, N.Y.


Sean McPherson is leaving his position as a host for The Current in St. Paul, Minn., to become music director and Afternoon Cruise host for Jazz88, a station owned by Minneapolis Public Schools. McPherson formally joined The Current in 2015 after assisting with morning show trivia for several years. He launched the music stream Purple Current, which explored funk, soul, hip-hop and R&B to honor Prince. At Jazz88, McPherson succeeds Kevin O’Connor, who left to become a host for Minnesota Public Radio’s YourClassical last month.

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