Comings and goings: WETA COO resigns, Neely elected PMJA president …

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Jason R. Daisey resigned as EVP and COO for WETA in Washington, D.C.


WETA CEO Sharon Rockefeller said in a July 21 memo to staff that she accepted Daisey’s resignation “effective immediately,” adding that she’s “grateful for Jason’s dedication during his tenure as COO.”

Daisey joined the station in 2017 as SVP, CFO and treasurer and was promoted in 2018. During his tenure, he led a station headquarters expansion.

Before WETA, Daisey worked as CFO for the Associated Builders and Contractors. He was also EVP and CFO for KERA in Dallas and VP of finance and planning for PBS.

Three WETA executives will take on the COO’s duties in the interim as the station searches for a successor: Lisa Lindstrom Delaney, SVP and general counsel; Ruby Aggarwal, SVP, CFO and treasurer; and Michael Rancilio, SVP and GM for NewsHour Productions.

Priska Neely was elected president of the Public Media Journalists Association.


Neely, managing editor of the Gulf States Newsroom, previously stepped up from VP to president after Johnathan Reaves left his public media job earlier this year.

Doug Nadvornick, PD, news director and Morning Edition host for Spokane Public Radio in Washington, became VP for PMJA. Joey Palacios, city hall reporter and internship coordinator for Texas Public Radio in San Antonio, became secretary. LaToya Dennis, news director for WMFE in Orlando, Fla., was elected treasurer.

In addition, Emily Alfin Johnson, growth editor of network initiatives for NPR, and Mary Shedden, news director for WUSF in Tampa, Fla., were elected to the board.

St. Louis Public Radio announced staff changes.


Ashley Lisenby resigned as news director. Lisenby declined comment to Current. Madalyn Painter, a spokesperson for the station, said Lisenby resigned for personal reasons. She was not asked to resign “and the change was not related to work performance,” Painter said.

“Over the last five months, Ashley brought training resources into our newsroom, started a monthly editor’s column to communicate STLPR’s journalistic ideals, and contributed to our strategic plan,” Painter said. “We wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

Before St. Louis Public Radio, Lisenby worked for NPR as a news producer, editor for Weekend Edition and editor for the network’s Up First podcast. Brian Heffernan, digital and special projects editor, will serve as interim news director. Heffernan, who joined the station in 2018, previously served in the same interim position prior to Lisenby’s hire. He is expected to serve in the interim role through the rest of 2023 as STLPR searches for a successor, according to a news release.

Photojournalist and multimedia reporter Brian Munoz will assume the role as digital editor in place of Heffernan during this period. Jonathan Ahl, newscast editor and Rolla correspondent, was named interim managing editor. Tristen Rouse, news visuals intern, will stay on as a photojournalist. Rouse previously interned at the Washington Post as a photo editor on the newspaper’s national desk.



Jess King was appointed executive director for the Steinman Institute for Civic Engagement, which is overseen by WITF in Harrisburg, Pa., and funded by a donation from the Steinman Foundation. The institute, which supports early-childhood education initiatives, STEM education, media literacy and other projects, was formed when WITF was given several publications earlier this year. King most recently worked as chief of staff for Danene Sorace, mayor of Lancaster, Pa. She was also executive director for ASSETS Lancaster, a nonprofit economic development organization. “With the survival of local news a growing concern nationwide and media literacy a challenge, we view the mission of The Steinman Institute for Civic Engagement as critically important to the well-being of communities and our democracy,” said Robert Krasne, founding board chair for the Steinman Institute, in a news release. “Jess shares that view and we are tremendously excited to welcome her as the institute’s first executive director.”

Shaquille Orlando Romblay joined the Association for Independents in Radio as an engagement coordinator. Romblay previously worked as a creative producer for Vox.



WXXI in Rochester, N.Y., appointed Ryan Yarmel as music director of its Triple A stations. Yarmel has been host of Radioland with Yarms on Thursday nights since 2019. Going forward, he will host Afternoons with Yarms weekdays from 2–6 p.m., bringing listeners a mix of rock, soul, folk, acoustic and blues music. As part of the changes, WXXI also announced plans to rebrand the Triple A stations, 88.5 FM in Rochester and 90.1 FM in Ithaca, as “The Route.”


Emilio Alvarez joined WRR, a classical music station operated by KERA in Dallas, as classical music director and host of The Homestretch, a daily program. Alvarez most recently worked as a host for KMFA in Austin, Texas. Before that he was operations manager for KRTU in San Antonio. In addition, two other WRR hosts will expand their weekend on-air presences: David Ginder will host the Saturday Evening Concert and the Sunday Evening Concert, and Nikki Velonis will host Saturday Classical and Sunday Classical.


Martin Austermuhle announced on Twitter that he will leave his position as a reporter for WAMU/DCist in Washington, D.C. “My family and I are also leaving D.C. And the country,” he said. “I was recently given a chance to return to Switzerland, where I was born and still have family. We jumped at the chance to do this while our kids are still young enough to adapt.” Austermuhle was editor-in-chief of DCist before joining WAMU’s staff in 2013.


Israel Smith joined WBUR in Boston as director of live listening on a part-time basis. Smith previously worked as managing director of programming and audience development for WBEZ in Chicago before becoming a strategic advisor for the station from January to July 2022. Smith joined WBEZ in 2018 after working as director of programming for NPR. He has also been president and founder of a consulting firm and held positions at Public Radio International and WBUR.

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