Comings and goings: Catherine Levene joins NPR’s board as public director, PBS announces 10 contestants in ‘The Great American Recipe’ …

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Catherine Levene, digital media executive, begins a two-year term this month that ends in November 2024, according to a news release.

Levene most recently worked as president of the National Media Group at Meredith Corporation, where she oversaw digital expansion of magazines like People, Entertainment Weekly, InStyle and Travel + Leisure. She joined the company in 2019 as chief strategy officer and also worked as chief digital officer.

Before that, Levene was co-founder and CEO of Artspace, an e-commerce site for fine arts. She also worked as VP of product, business development and strategy for the New York Times and director of strategy for Showtime.

PBS revealed details about the 10 home cooks who will compete in The Great American Recipe, its new series debuting next month.

The eight-part weekly series, co-produced by Objective Media Group America and VPM in Richmond, Va., premieres Friday, June 24 and ends Aug. 12. It will be hosted by Alejandra Ramos, a food and lifestyle contributor for Today. The judges are Leah Cohen, Tiffany Derry and Graham Elliot.

The 10 contestants, according to PBS’ announcement, are:

  • Irma Cádiz, an actor and member of the Chelsea Repertory Company in New York City, who grew up eating Dominican and Puerto Rican food and loves to prepare her mother’s recipes as a tribute to her family’s Caribbean heritage.
  • Bambi Daniels, from Winston-Salem, N.C., who describes her cooking as Southern “heart and soul” food. Daniels grew up on her family’s farms in South Carolina.
  • Robin Daumit, CEO and creative director of the food website Whisk and Dine, from Annapolis, Md. Her cooking style combines Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences from her mother’s Syrian heritage and the regional cuisine of Maryland.
  • Brian Leigh, owner of B.T. Leigh’s Sauces and Rubs from Bowling Green, Ky. His cooking style is inspired by his Hungarian and German heritage.
  • Christina McAlvey, an associate VP for Beneficial State Bank in Portland, Ore. McAlvey describes her food as “Fili-fusion,” a mash-up of Filipino flavors blended with her favorite cuisines.
  • Silvia Martinez, from San Luis Obispo, Calif. Martinez grew up in Guanajuato in central Mexico, cooking dishes she learned from her grandmother, aunts and mother. She has been a human resources executive and university instructor.
  • Foo Nguyen, from Orange County, Calif., who says his Vietnamese heritage and Midwest upbringing is his greatest culinary influence.
  • Dan Rinaldi, a firefighter from Providence, R.I., who was raised in a multi-generational Italian family. He learned to cook in his grandmother’s kitchen, where Sunday dinners were a staple of his childhood.
  • Tony Scherber, born in South Korea before being adopted with his brother and raised in Minnesota. His adoptive mother cooked recipes from an old Korean cookbook to help him stay connected to his birth culture. Scherber aspired to be a chef but culinary school wasn’t a feasible option for him. He’s a social media manager for Element Electronics in Minneapolis who blogs about food.
  • Nikki Tomaino-Allemand, raised in Seattle who now lives in Boise, Idaho, and runs a meal prep delivery service. Her cooking combines her family’s Italian roots with her Pacific Northwest upbringing.

Steve Humble and Zara Frankel are co-executives in charge for the series. Humble is a CCO for VPM and Frankel is director of current programming and development for PBS. At Objective Media Group America, Layla Smith and Jilly Pearce are co-EPs and Saterah Moore is SVP of current programming.

NPR announced changes to its Digital Media Products Audience team.

Chaplin and Yoo

Michael Chaplin became acting lead product manager of subscriptions and membership. He previously worked as senior product manager of digital fundraising. He has also held fundraising and sponsorship positions for New York Public Radio and National Public Media.

Joy Yoo was promoted to lead product manager of email and social. Yoo joined NPR in 2018 as senior manager of member communications and operations and most recently worked as director of member engagement and impact. She has also been director of marketing for WHRO Public Media in Norfolk, Va.

Li and Willis

Anne Li stepped up from emerging platforms lead to become product manager for voice platforms. She previously worked as an interactive audio producer for Washington Post and was news and public affairs reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Josh Willis was named senior product manager. Willis previously worked as senior digital product manager for WHYY in Philadelphia, where he managed the archive for Fresh Air among other duties.

Dacia Mitchell left her position as director of diversity, equity and inclusion for KQED in San Francisco.


Mitchell, who announced her departure this month, said on Twitter that her last day with the station was in February. “My resignation wasn’t that complicated: while there is so much work to do, sadly, the formula for my departure is predictably shared across the DEI profession: lack of leadership commitment + lack of resource support = end of tenure,” she said.

Mitchell joined KQED in 2019 as manager of learning, DEI, and moved into the director position in 2020. She has since become chief of staff and DEI for Daily Kos, a progressive media and activism hub.

Linda O’Bryon was named interim president and executive director for the Public Television Major Market Group.


O’Bryon will take over for Deanna Mackey, who is leaving the organization to become GM of KPBS in San Diego. The board for PTMMG board will launch a national search for a full-time president and executive director later this summer.

O’Bryon, a principal for O’Bryon Media, is a consultant for the National Educational Telecommunications Association and board member for American Public Television. She previously worked as president and CEO for South Carolina ETV and South Carolina Public Radio. She was also founding executive editor of Nightly Business Report, SVP of South Florida PBS and CCO for KQED in San Francisco.

Vox hired three audio workers from public media organizations.

Artsy and Hill

Avishay Artsy joined the company as a senior producer for the daily news podcast Today, Explained. Artsy most recently worked as a freelance producer and reporter who contributed to series produced by WDET in Detroit, WHYY in Philadelphia and KQED in San Francisco. He has also been a producer for KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif.

Jonquilyn Hill will work as a senior producer developing new programs for Vox’s explanatory series, including the science podcast Unexplainable. Hill starts the job next month. Hill is a producer for 1A, produced by WAMU in Washington, D.C., and is also a host for the investigative podcast Through the Cracks.

In addition, Vox hired Patrick Boyd as an engineer. Boyd most recently worked for NPR as a technical director for Morning Edition. Boyd joined NPR in 2017.


Julie Atkins joined PBS Fort Wayne in Indiana as a corporate development administrative assistant. Atkins most recently worked as a route accounting specialist for Prairie Farms Dairy in Fort Wayne.



Gabrielle Healy announced that she left her position as a digital news editor for New Hampshire Public Radio to become a producer for Here & Now, a national program produced at WBUR in Boston. On Twitter, Healy said she’ll be based in New York. She joined NHPR last year and previously worked as a digital editor for 1A, produced by WAMU in Washington, D.C.


Franziska Monahan will be a producer on the podcast team at WBUR in Boston. Monahan most recently worked as a freelancer for the station and has also been an assistant digital audio editor for the Project Citrus team.


Zshekinah Collier will join WYPR in Baltimore next month as an education and environmental reporter as part of the Report for America program. Collier is currently a producer for the weekly public affairs program Disrupted for Connecticut Public. She joined the station last year as an intern and has also been an investigative intern for USA Today and the Ida B. Wells Society.


Claire McInerny is leaving her position this month as an education reporter for KUT in Austin, Texas, to do freelance audio, writing and editing work. On Twitter, McInerny said “burnout has hit me hard and it’s affected my physical and mental health. Being a reporter and working in daily news has been a wonderful ride, but now I need a break.” McInerny joined KUT in 2017 and previously worked for Indiana Public Broadcasting and KCUR in Kansas City, Mo.

Send news of “comings and goings” to [email protected]

Correction: A previous version of this column incorrectly said that Dacia Mitchell became chief of staff for KOS Med Media. She is chief of staff and DEI for Daily Kos.

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