Wisconsin Public Radio’s Michael Arnold will resign in April

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Michael Arnold, associate director and COO of Wisconsin Public Radio, will resign at the beginning of April after a decade at the station.

Arnold announced his resignation in a letter to colleagues, which was shared with Current by Wisconsin Public Media Interim Director Heather Reese. Interim Director of Radio Tom Luljak and Reese will work with Arnold on a transition plan over the next few weeks, Reese said in an internal email shared with Current. Luljak has agreed to extend his time in his interim role at WPR and will oversee the senior regional manager, marketing, engineering and operations, she added.

“I have been honored to serve in many rewarding roles during my tenure at WPR, and I will always remember the talented and creative colleagues whom I had the privilege to work with over the years,” Arnold wrote in his letter. “The future of WPR is bright. I respect and admire the professionals who work here and serve our listeners so well. I thank you all and our loyal supporters for the opportunity to be part of something so special.”

In an interview with Current, Arnold cited the stress of the pandemic and the death of Wisconsin Public Media director Gene Purcell in 2021 among the reasons for his departure.

“I never thought that I would be part of the Great Resignation, but I am, and it’s actually kind of exciting, I’m looking forward to what I’m doing next,” he said. “I’m just exploring a lot of things and I’m in a situation where I have time to figure it out, get a little rest, and we’ll see what happens.”

Arnold is the third WPR staff member to announce their departure this week. John Wilson, a digital news editor, will leave March 19 for a position as project coordinator at the University of Wisconsin Public History Project, he told Current. 

Reporter Shamane Mills will retire from WPR March 18 to explore other career options both within and outside of journalism, she said in an email to Current.

“Right now I want to help [my] husband with his business The Joy Trip Project, as the outdoors has always been a shared interest,” she said.

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