Comings and goings: PBS hires VP, all-digital Va. station selects GM …

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PBS hired Leili Boroumand as VP of business development.


She will report to PBS Chief Digital and Marketing Officer Ira Rubenstein.

Boroumand previously worked as head of business development for Amazon Key, a smart home sector for the company. She was also director of business development for Audible, an audiobook and podcast service owned by Amazon.

Before that, she led business development for the Washington Post and also worked for Groupon, Rosetta Stone, Freddie Mac and AOL.

Julie Newman became VP and GM for PBS Appalachia Virginia, an all-digital station that will launch in June 2023.


PBS Appalachia Virginia shares the same parent company as Blue Ridge PBS in Roanoke, Va. The digital station will be headquartered at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Center in Abingdon, Va.

Newman previously worked as an anchor for an NBC affiliate in Bristol, Va. From 2009–2012, she was an EP and host for Blue Ridge PBS. She has also worked at other commercial stations in Virginia; Syracuse, N.Y.; and Dayton, Ohio.

Nina Spensley became co-EP and GM for Our Body Politic, a podcast that also airs on public radio stations.


Spensley previously worked as program co-director for the Starfish Accelerator in Los Angeles. She was also a producer for Best Self Magazine and was a producer and consultant for the Sundance Institute.

Our Body Politic, hosted by Farai Chideya, has expanded into 93 radio markets, including recent additions Colorado Public Radio, Houston Public Media, WHYY in Philadelphia and WAMU in Washington, D.C. The program has an average of 350,000 weekly listeners.

WRTI, the classical music and jazz station in Philadelphia, announced two hires.

Chinen and Bryant

Nate Chinen became editorial director. Chinen previously worked as director of editorial content for WBGO in Newark, N.J. He has also written about jazz for the New York Times, JazzTimes, the Philadelphia City Paper and the Village Voice.

In addition, Greg Bryant was named host of Evening Jazz, which airs Monday through Thursday nights. Bryant succeeds Bob Perkins, who retired this summer.

Bryant previously worked as a host for the radio program Jazz After Hours and the podcast Jazz United for WBGO in Newark, N.J. He also hosted for Real Jazz on SiriusXM.



Lee Mergner was hired as an editorial content producer for jazz station WBGO in Newark, N.J. Mergner previously worked as an editor and publisher of JazzTimes. He has also organized and produced several jazz industry conferences, including Jazz Congress in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center. “I’m looking forward to jumping in with both feet at WBGO, a station that I have always considered the flagship station for jazz worldwide,” Mergner said in a news release. “I’m excited by the opportunity to create new cornerstones in digital content, working alongside my longtime friends and new colleagues at WBGO.”


Jim McGuinn rejoined WXPN in Philadelphia as assistant PD and will be a primary backup host. McGuinn most recently worked as PD for The Current in St. Paul, Minn. Before that, he was an afternoon host and PD of Y-Rock for WXPN. “My time at WXPN launched me into the non-comm radio world, and I took those fundamentals with me to help grow The Current,” McGuinn said in a news release. “It’s rare to get the opportunity to return to a place that’s as innovative and beloved nationally as WXPN. … Now it’s full circle to be able to contribute my skills and knowledge to XPN’s future, and help it continue to grow as a hub and destination for music fans and artists to congregate and connect.”


Danny McArthur announced that they were hired as an environmental justice reporter for the Gulf States Newsroom, a regional collaboration led by NPR and member stations in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. McArthur will be based in Tupelo, Miss. McArthur previously worked as a reporter for the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.


KRCC, a station operated by Colorado Public Radio in Colorado Springs, hired Jess Hazel as Morning Edition host. Hazel previously worked as a Morning Edition host and reporter for Yellowstone Public Radio in Billings, Mont. “I can’t wait to meet the people of Southern Colorado,” said Hazel in a news release. “I’m looking forward to building connections with listeners through a shared appreciation for storytelling and public radio.”


Black Public Media and the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln announced a new residency program. Three people were selected for the Black Public Media Residency at the Carson Center:

  • Johannes Barfield, an artist and postdoctoral scholar at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque is developing “Ancestral Plane,” a third-person action-adventure video game about a former archeologist who returns looted artifacts to the communities from which they originated.
  • Educator Rae Phillips is producing School Sagas, an oral-history project about past and present educational disparities and segregated schools. The project currently includes a traveling exhibition and a documentary.
  • Andrea Walls, an artist and poet who curated the Museum of Black Joy, is developing an archive and hybrid exhibition space. The site features her street photography and video collages.

In addition to one to three weeks on site at the Carson Center, the residency provides a $5,000 to $10,000 grant from Black Public Media to develop their projects further. The residency was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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