Comings and goings: PBS board reelects Larry Irving as chair, KPCC/LAist hires VP of programming …

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The board of directors for PBS reelected Larry Irving and Molly Phillips to new terms as chair and vice chair Oct. 12.


Irving, CEO of the Irving Group consultancy, shaped telecommunications policy as an assistant secretary in the Commerce Department during the Clinton Administration. He joined the board last year. Phillips, executive director and GM for Iowa PBS, joined the board in 2017. She serves as professional vice chair.

Catherine Robb, a media attorney for Haynes and Boone who joined the board in 2019, was elected to serve as general vice chair after being reelected to a new board term. She succeeds Maxine Clark, CEO of the Clark-Fox Family Foundation, whose third term on the board ends next year.

Hopkins and Joachim

The elections coincided with the start of a new term for PBS directors, including station executives who have replaced professional directors who recently stepped down. The board elected Shae Hopkins, CEO for Kentucky Educational Television, to the seat held by Deborah Acklin until her resignation as CEO of WQED in Pittsburgh, and Franz Joachim, CEO of New Mexico PBS, who will serve instead of Paul Hunton, former GM of Texas Tech Public Media. Hunton, who had been reelected to a new term on the board in August, withdrew after taking a new job as GM of WUNC-FM in Chapel Hill, N.C.


The board reelected two additional general directors to new terms: Geoff Sands, EVP of corporate strategy for Comcast, and Chuck Hagel, former secretary of defense and Nebraska senator.

Professional directors who were elected or reelected by a vote of PBS member stations include Dolores (Sukhdeo) Fernandez Alonso, CEO of South Florida PBS, who began her first term on the board. In addition, Rob Dunlop, CEO of Cascade Public Media in Seattle, and Courtney Pledger, CEO of Arkansas PBS, began serving their second terms.

Gary Stokes, president of KSPS in Spokane, Wash., is retiring from the board.

Jeff Rowe was hired as VP of programming for Southern California Public Radio, which operates LAist and KPCC in Pasadena.


Rowe most recently worked as a consultant for NPR, where he helped member stations to improve their overall sound and coordinated promotions with NPR programs. He founded the consulting firm Okanjo in 2010 after working as an executive for NBC, Tribune Media and AOL.

“As we reach more audiences, we need to rethink the way we program across multiple platforms,” said SCPR CCO Kristin Muller in a news release. “Jeff brings an entrepreneurial spirit and innovative mindset. These are critical skills that will be a huge asset.”

Ronnie Agnew was named GM for NJ Advance Media, a subsidiary of Advance Publications, according to Advance’s


Agnew, who starts the job next month, most recently worked as GM for WOSU Public Media in Columbus, Ohio. He joined the station in January after leading Mississippi Public Broadcasting for more than a decade.

WOSU Chief Development Officer Laura Baker and Mary Alice Akins, director of business operations, have been named interim co-leaders as the organization searches for a successor.

PBS Reno in Nevada announced two hires.

Cho and Markward

Yunis Cho joined the station as a website specialist. She previously worked as brand design associate director for SBS Medianet in Korea and was also head of creative and content for Nickelodeon in Korea.

Brigdon Markward became content resource coordinator. Markward previously worked as music PD for The Holland Project, an arts organization in Reno. He was also a part-time PD for KWNK, a community radio station.



Amanda Hickman, former interim executive director for the Association of Independents in Radio, was named COO for the journalism and transparency nonprofit MuckRock Foundation. Hickman became the interim leader for AIR last year after Ken Ikeda resigned. She left the organization after Keisha Salmon was named executive director last month.



Isabella Gomez Sarmiento announced that she became a producer for NPR’s Culture Desk, where she will help mix the network’s Book of the Day podcast, among other duties. Sarmiento first joined NPR as a Kroc Fellow in 2019 and most recently worked as an assistant producer for Weekend Edition.


John Notarianni announced that he left his position as a host and producer for Weekend Edition at Oregon Public Broadcasting. “Thanks for listening, and more from me soon: in the meantime, I’m sleeping in :),” he said on Twitter. Notarianni joined the station in 2015.

DJ Shani

Shani Hebert, who performs as DJ Shani, will host The Groove Temple, a house music program on Friday nights for KUTX in Austin, Texas. She originally created the program for WLUW in Chicago when she was a student at Loyola University. “When people tune in, they’ll experience a sound zone between the mid-neck and the mid-thigh,” said DJ Shani in a news release. “… It’s not all fist bumps and big drops. It’s music that hits you at your core and makes you feel sexy.”

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