Heather L. Reese to lead Wisconsin Public Media

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Heather L. Reese was named executive director of Wisconsin Public Media, the organization that manages Wisconsin Public Radio and PBS Wisconsin’s statewide network of radio and television stations. 


Reese succeeds Gene Purcell, who died last year at the age of 61 due to injuries sustained in a traffic crash. Reese has been interim director since Purcell’s death.

“PBS Wisconsin and Wisconsin Public Radio are nationally recognized for their outstanding quality of programming,” said John Karl Scholz, interim chancellor for the University of Wisconsin–Madison, which oversees the stations. “We also understand they’re a jewel for the campus and our state. We are excited about the energy and experience that Heather will bring to this position as WPM colleagues navigate the rapidly changing media landscape.”

Reese joined WPM in 2010 as manager of compliance and contracts. She was also director of strategic initiatives and compliance and associate director before starting the interim position.

Reese received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She worked as an associate for two law firms before working in public media.

“Public media is an essential public service in the tradition of the Wisconsin Idea,” Reese said in the news release. “As media continues to evolve at a rapid pace, I look forward to building on our strong legacy to adapt and enhance our services to meet the needs of our audiences well into the future.”

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