PBS hired Susi Elkins, former GM of WKAR Public Media in East Lansing, Mich., as SVP of station services.
Elkins succeeds James Dunford, who left PBS earlier this year to become CEO of American Public Television, the syndication and program exchange service.
Elkins, who spent much of her career in public media, became chief community development officer at Michigan State University Federal Credit Union in 2022. She had led dual licensee WKAR as GM and director of broadcasting since 2017. She started working at the station, which is licensed to MSU, in 1998.
Elkins also has experience in public TV’s national leadership. She has served on the boards of both PBS and America’s Public Television Stations.
“As a membership organization, serving stations is critical to our mission,” PBS President Paula Kerger said in a statement. “Susi is uniquely suited to spearhead these efforts on behalf of our system, drawing on her experiences at every level of station programming and operations. We look forward to Susi’s contributions to our team, to continue to strengthen our services to stations and the American people.”
NPR promoted Nik Khilnani to SVP of product and audience technology.
“In this expanded role, Khilnani will oversee the product, design, and audience technology teams, drive the roadmap and development of audience products, station tools, and engineering initiatives, and join NPR’s executive committee,” according to a news release.
Khilnani joined NPR in 2021 in roles that included VP of audience technology and VP of engineering. He previously worked in product and engineering positions at National Geographic and Gannett.
“In this rapidly evolving digital landscape, it’s crucial that we continue to innovate and adapt our Product, Design, and Technology strategies to meet the needs of NPR and Member Stations across the country,” Khilnani said in a news release. “In partnership with Member Stations, I look forward to leading our talented teams towards expanding our reach while maintaining NPR’s commitment to quality journalism.”
Grist, a climate-focused publication, expanded its journalism partnership with public media stations.
Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco joined WBEZ in Chicago and will cover climate change, energy, and the environment in conjunction with Grist. Previously, Ramirez-Franco was an environmental reporter at WNIJ in DeKalb, Ill., where he covered wildlife and the environment. He also worked as the Illinois reporter for Harvest Public Media and the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk.
For Grist and Interlochen Public Radio in Michigan, Isabelle Ross will cover ecosystems, energy and climate solutions for communities in Northern Michigan. She has spent the past five years at KDLG in Dillingham, Alaska, as a reporter and news director.
Susan Wolfinger Schmitt was promoted to VP of human resources for Maryland Public Television. Wolfinger Schmitt joined MPT in 1998 as a part-time human resources personnel assistant. Since 2005, she has moved up through jobs that included benefits manager, director of benefits and compensation and managing director of human resources.
Nicole Cox was named radio PD for Arizona Public Media after taking the job on an interim basis. Cox joined the station as senior radio TV announcer in 2016 and later served as radio operations manager. She succeeds Ed Kesterson, who retired in May.
Joanne Elgart Jennings joined The Middle, a new weekly radio series, as senior producer. Jennings joins Jeremy Hobson, former co-host of NPR’s Here & Now, to launch the series. The Middle, a live call-in broadcast that completed its pilot run during the 2022 midterm elections, will be distributed by Illinois Public Media in partnership with Nashville Public Radio. Jennings most recently worked as an independent EP and editor and has previous production experience with CBC in Canada, PBS NewsHour and KQED in Francisco.
Georgiana Lee-Ausan joined the digital multicast service World as a project manager for acquisition and distribution. “We believe Georgiana’s addition to our team will strengthen our efforts to bring powerful stories to a wider audience, supporting our shared mission to promote inclusivity and representation in the media landscape,” said World EP Chris Hastings in a news release. Lee-Ausan, a member of the Diné (Navajo) tribe, departs Vision Maker Media, where she has directed programs and projects since 2021.
Treye Green joined NPR as digital manager for Morning Edition. Green previously worked as trends editor for The New York Times. He was also editorial director for the New York Post, editor for BuzzFeed and an entertainment reporter and editor for OK! Magazine.
PBS Reno in Nevada hired Kris Vagner as a columnist for Arts Views, a weekly online publication that launched last year as an extension of the station’s Arteffects television series. Vagner is founder of Double Scoop, a nonprofit news site covering Nevada’s visual arts community. “There’s so much happening in the Reno art world,” Vagner said in a news release. “We have a thriving DIY gallery scene, some great homegrown institutions, and museums that bring us the world. Plus, our region is home to artists of all stripes. … I’m excited to share some of their stories with the PBS Reno audience.”
Hawaii Public Radio announced leadership changes from its recent board elections. Kathryn Matayoshi, SVP and chief community engagement officer for the HMSA Foundation, was elected board chair. She succeeds immediate past chair Francis Oda. Joe Uno, owner of a construction company, stepped up to vice chair. Cissy Farm will serve as treasurer.
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