Sarah Ashworth hired to lead Wisconsin Public Radio

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Sarah Ashworth, a veteran public media journalist and newsroom manager, has been appointed director of Wisconsin Public Radio.

Ashworth (Photo: Daria Bishop)

Ashworth, who starts the job next month, is leaving her job as SVP of content at Vermont Public, where she has worked since 2018 in roles that included director of news and VP of news. At WPR, she takes over for Tom Luljak, a vice chancellor emeritus for the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, who has served as interim director since October 2021. 

Wisconsin Public Radio is a partnership of Wisconsin Public Media at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Educational Communications Board, the state agency that distributes public broadcasting in Wisconsin.

“This was a challenging decision with a very competitive field of candidates,” said Wisconsin Public Media Director Heather Reese in a news release. “We’re looking forward to working with Sarah and are confident that she will be a successful partner to staff and leadership as we continue to build our service for the people of Wisconsin.”

In addition to her leadership at Vermont Public, Ashworth has worked as an editor and producer for Minnesota Public Radio, news director for New Hampshire Public Radio and reporter for KBIA in Columbia, Mo.

“The breadth of Sarah’s background — including producing, reporting and editing roles at Minnesota Public Radio, New Hampshire Public Radio and Vermont Public — combined with her experience as a leader who implemented organizational change was compelling,” said Marta Bechtol, ECB executive director, in a news release. “Her record of collaborating with staff on big projects and her commitment to serving a statewide audience stood out.”

Ashworth has participated in the Sulzberger program in Executive Media Leadership at Columbia University in New York City and was a fellow in the CPB’s Editorial Integrity and Leadership Initiative. She recently completed a fellowship in the Public Media Women in Leadership CEO/COO Bootcamp.

“Public media is an exciting place to be right now,” Ashworth said. “The work we do strengthens communities and democracy and is needed more than ever. I look forward to working to build a strong WPR that connects even more deeply with communities and one that welcomes and represents even more Wisconsinites in its service.”

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