Comings and goings: Two execs leave Chicago Public Media, KUT deputy GM retires …

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Two Chicago Public Media executives are leaving the organization.

LeCompte and Berger

Celeste LeCompte, chief audience officer, is stepping down. LeCompte joined the organization last year after holding several positions with ProPublica, including VP of strategy and operations.

Betsy Berger, VP of communications, is also leaving. She joined in 2018 as director of communications and later worked as senior director before stepping into the VP role in 2021.

Sylvia Ponce-Carson will retire from her position Dec. 31 as deputy GM of KUT and KUTX in Austin, Texas.

Ponce-Carson

When she started working for KUT in January 2002, the station aired a mix of national news programming and locally hosted music. Within her first year, KUT launched a local newsroom. A decade later, she led a fundraising campaign to build KUT Public Media Studios and launch KUTX 98.9, the Austin Music Experience. In 2015, she led the fundraising campaign to launch Texas Standard, a daily public affairs program.

“It has been an honor to be a part of the growth and success of KUT for the past 23 years. With almost 35 years in the industry, I can honestly say this has been my most cherished role. The growth and changes here have been monumental — from one station with no newsroom, to having one of the largest newsrooms in Texas, two thriving stations and a beautiful new building to call home,” Ponce-Carson said in the news release. “The staff of KUT and KUTX are some of the most talented leaders in the industry. I know great things are on the horizon.”

As part of Ponce-Carson’s departure, Wade Lee, director of development, will take on additional responsibilities in strategy and audience development. Gerald Johnson, executive director for program/center innovation and partnerships at the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin, will oversee underwriting revenue.

Ann Alquist will be radio director for Prairie Public Broadcasting, effective Jan. 8.

Alquist

Alquist previously worked as executive director and GM of WBHM in Birmingham, Ala., which she left in January 2022. As part of that role, she oversaw the Gulf States Newsroom, the CPB-supported collaboration among WBHM, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, WWNO in New Orleans and WRKF in Baton Rouge, La.

She has also been assistant GM and chief progress officer for The Public’s Radio in Providence, R.I. Before that, Alquist was director of membership for Alaska Public Media, director of radio engagement for the National Center for Media Engagement and news director for KFAI, a community radio station in Minneapolis.

WGVU Public Media in Grand Rapids, Mich., announced hires and promotions in several departments.

  • Molly O’Brien was appointed major gifts officer. She previously worked as a development and donor relations manager for the National Peace Corps Association. She joined the organization as a community outreach coordinator in 2020.
  • Joel Beltman was hired as a broadcast maintenance engineer after working as a technician for Viasat. He has also been a satellite transmission supervisor for the U.S. Marine Corps.
  • Spencer Irvine joined as a video production specialist. He previously worked as a creative services videographer for an NBC affiliate in Grand Rapids.
  • Melina Talentino was hired as a video production specialist after graduating from Grand Valley State University in the spring.
  • Joe Perin became a membership specialist. He previously worked as an account director for the Bohlsen Group and held manager roles for TechPoint, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Indianapolis City Market.
  • Kasey Young was appointed family engagement specialist. She previously worked as a resource development coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of Henderson County. She also held several positions for Head Start Kent County.
  • Joe Bielecki stepped up from production assistant to audio and digital producer. He first joined the station in 2014.
  • Brookly Chaffee moved up from her marketing and design assistant internship to become a full-time graphic designer.
  • David Limbaugh and Dee Morrision were hired as general assignment reporters.
  • Simon Wagner became an audience and member services coordinator.

Content

Snell

Kelsey Snell was appointed congressional editor for NPR. Snell first joined NPR in 2010 as a National Desk intern and was also an assistant producer for Weekend All Things Considered. She rejoined NPR in 2017 as a congressional reporter focusing on budget, tax and economic policy. She has also worked as a reporter for the Washington Post and covered taxes for Politico and the National Journal.

Stephen Fowler was hired as a Washington Desk reporter for NPR. He most recently worked as a political reporter and host of Battleground: Ballot Box, a Georgia Public Broadcasting podcast. He joined the station in 2016 as a producer and fill-in host for All Things Considered

Schapitl

Lexie Schapitl will work as a producer and editor on the congressional and politics teams for NPR. She first joined NPR as a Washington Desk intern and news assistant in 2017. She had a stint as social media manager for Vox before returning to NPR in 2019 to work as a production assistant and later as associate producer.

Kaplow

Larry Kaplow joined NPR’s National Desk as an editor for the States Team, which covers state governments across the country. Kaplow most recently worked as NPR’s lead editor on coverage of the Middle East since 2014. He joined NPR in 2013 as overnight news editor.

Henninger

Danya Henninger left her position as director and editor of Billy Penn, an online news site owned by WHYY in Philadelphia. Henninger was hired to be editorial director for Technical.ly, a technology-focused news site based in Philadelphia, according to a news release. She joined Billy Penn in 2015 as weekend editor and later worked as culture editor and acting editor before becoming top editor in 2018. She was named director last year.

Ahmed

Beenish Ahmed, a criminal justice reporter for Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor, joined ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network. She will be part of the program for two years starting Jan. 2. Ahmed joined the station in 2021.

Rodriguez

Anaridis Rodriguez will join Rhode Island PBS as a host of Generation Rising, a biweekly public affairs program that covers inequities in the state. Rodriguez, a senior account executive for The Perry Group, most recently worked as a news anchor for CBS Boston and was also an anchor and correspondent for The Weather Channel. Ted Nesi will also join the station in January as a contributor to Rhode Island PBS Weekly, a public affairs program. Nesi is a politics editor, investigative reporter, co-host and columnist for a CBS affiliate in Providence.

Send news of “comings and goings” to people@current.org

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