Comings and goings: New board leaders at NPR, promotions at PBS …

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A new chair and vice chair of NPR’s board led their first meeting Friday.


Jeff Sine stepped up from vice chair to chair. Sine succeeds LaFontaine E. Oliver, who will be the next CEO of New York Public Radio.

Sine is co-founder and partner with the Raine Group, a banking group that invests in technology, media and telecommunications. He joined the board in 2017 and became vice chair earlier this year.


“I hope to have an impact in this role and I hope we can accelerate the growth in reach and relevance, audience and opportunities for everyone in the NPR family,” Sine said during the board meeting. “And we’ll do that by acting together, protecting the trust of audiences, leveraging our brand and bringing in the financial support we need to fuel our future.”

Jennifer Ferro, president of KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif., became vice chair. Ferro joined NPR’s board in 2018.

PBS announced leadership changes in four departments.


The network promoted Rachelle Byars-Sargent to VP of enterprise metadata management in the technology and operations department. In the newly created role, Byars-Sargent will manage implementation of a metadata strategy. She joined PBS in 1998 and most recently worked as senior director of enterprise metadata management.


Also under tech and operations, Jimmy Benoit steps up to VP of cybersecurity. He joined PBS earlier this year as senior director of cybersecurity and program management. He previously worked for Venture Global LNG, the Southwest Gas Corporation and ReliaQuest.

In the COO’s office, Kate Alany became VP of strategy and organizational performance. She joined PBS in 2013 as a senior manager of digital analytics. Most recently, she worked as senior director of operations and strategy.


Maria Vera Whelan was promoted to VP of marketing and brand engagement for PBS Kids. Whelan joined PBS in 2009 as a senior associate working on the Ready To Learn program. She most recently worked as senior director and head of marketing and brand engagement for PBS Kids.

Michae Godwin became VP of publicity. She joined PBS in 2011 as associate director of publicity and rose to director and most recently senior director.



Peter Kadzis, a politics editor for GBH in Boston, is retiring from full-time work in January. He will continue to work for the station as a political contributor. Kadzis joined GBH in 2012 as a special contributor. He has led the station’s politics coverage as an editor since 2014. Last year he helped launch a weekly television program, Talking Politics, hosted by Adam Reilly.


NPR promoted Elena Moore from production assistant to assistant producer for the NPR Politics Podcast. Moore joined the network in 2019 as an editorial assistant for the Washington Desk. She was also a production assistant for Morning Edition.

Colorado Public Radio hired Kabin Thomas and Patty Painter-Wakefield as classical music hosts. They succeed David Ginder and Marilyn Cooley, who were working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. Thomas, a tuba player and actor, was a professor of classical music for the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Painter-Wakefield previously worked for WUNC in Chapel Hill, N.C., in several positions, including classical host, producer and operations manager.

Marcus Aurelius Rosario, who DJs as Mawkus, will host alternate Monday nights from 10 p.m. to midnight for KALW in San Francisco. Rosario previously worked as a host and producer for Darker Than Wax, a Singapore-based label collective. He was also a host and producer for KSDS in San Diego. Maria Yates will be the other Monday night host. Yates is a host for KALX, a radio station at the University of California at Berkeley, and is also lead teacher for Uncuffed, a broadcast program produced at Solano State Prison.


Danielle Wilson joined NPR as senior director of external communications. Wilson previously worked as communications director for Pearson’s GED Testing Service. She also worked in communications for New America, a think tank. She will be based at NPR’s Washington, D.C., office, according to a staff memo.



Terence Samuel, VP and executive editor for NPR, was named a 2023 American University Sine Institute of Policy and Politics fellow. As part of the fellowship, which begins in February, Samuel will speak with the university’s students about disinformation and threats to democracy linked to the decline of local news organizations. “Those problems are likely to grow more dire without concerted efforts to find solutions,” Samuel said in a news release.


Nick Capezzera is the inaugural winner of the Leanne Kaʻiulani Ferrer Content Fellowship Award, presented Wednesday at the American Public Television Fall Marketplace in Naples, Fla. The Leanne Kaʻiulani Ferrer fellowship is named in honor of the former executive director of Pacific Islanders in Communications, who died last year. Capezzera will receive one year of mentoring and counsel from APT as he develops his next film, tentatively titled Many Oceans, which documents his experiences as a Korean adoptee. In an interview at the Fall Marketplace, Capezzera told Current that he’s aiming to create a feature-length film and is seeking co-producing partners. Capezzera is co-founder of Player Piano Productions and was co-producer and co-cinematographer of the American Masters short film Maia Cruz Palileo: Becoming the Moon.

Five of the 24 fellows selected for the 2023 Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism work in public media: Kari Anderson, SVP of audience and community for Vermont Public; Joanne Griffith, CCO for APM Studios at American Public Media; Gabrielle Jones, VP of content for Louisville Public Media in Kentucky; Amanda Mountain, CEO for Rocky Mountain Public Media in Denver; and Ki Sung, managing editor of digital news for KQED in San Francisco. During the 21-week program, each fellow will create a strategic project that is central to the mission of their organization, according to a news release.



Luke Runyon, managing editor and reporter for the Colorado River Reporting Project led by KUNC in Greeley, Colo., was elected board president for the Society of Environmental Journalists. He succeeds Sadie Babits, the new supervising climate editor for NPR. Runyon first joined KUNC in 2017 as a reporter and left last year to become a Ted Scripps Environmental Journalism Fellow at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Laura Wolf, CEO for Basin PBS in Midland, Texas, was elected board chair for Texas PBS, a group of 10 public TV stations in the state. Wolf, who will serve a one-year term on the board, became CEO of Basin PBS in 2018.

Current reporter Tyler Falk contributed reporting to this column.

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