APTS restructures to support strategic goals for state-level advocacy, public service

The Association of Public Television Stations has restructured its staff to align with recently adopted strategic goals, including efforts to promote best practices, increase state and federal funding and support advocacy for the system at large. Two key staffers are stepping up to manage the expanding workload. Kate Riley, director of government relations, has been promoted to v.p., government and public affairs; she will focus on advocacy and state and federal funding. Emil Mara, v.p. for finance and administration, will direct member services. The reorganization follows through on a strategic plan adopted by the APTS board of trustees in November, according to Pat Butler, president.

New fellowships pair independent producers with coaches for entrepreneurial training

A new fellowship program from the Association of Independents in Radio pairs a dozen content creators with coaches in an incubator-style approach to training. The program, an extension of AIR’s long-running mentorship program, aims to boost the participants’ entrepreneurial skills, said Sue Schardt, executive director of AIR. “What we were looking for is people who have very clear goals for what they’re trying to achieve,” she said. “These are people with their chops in place and [who] are ready to launch in a new direction in their career or take on a new venture.”

AIR received about 36 applications and selected 12 from those. The certified professional coaches are Tom Livingston, Jackie Bsharah, Richard Gibson and Mark Sachs.

KCETLink selects former ABC Family executive as new president

Michael Riley, a former head of ABC Family, is the new president of Los Angeles-based KCETLink, the independent public media station and satellite TV channel. Riley succeeds Al Jerome, the KCET executive who led what had been PBS’s flagship station in Los Angeles through its acrimonious 2011 split from PBS. He spearheaded the station’s subsequent merger with noncommercial satellite broadcaster Link TV in October 2012. Dick Cook, board chair for KCETLink Media Group, cited Riley’s “strong track record in brand-defining content creation, strategic partnerships, acquisitions and digital leadership — both domestically and across international markets” in Monday’s announcement. Riley began in the job immediately.

Mike Starling’s farewell in verse to a career in public radio

When the Public Radio Regional Organizations presented Mike Starling with its annual PRRO Award last month, the former director of NPR Labs shared a poem he’d written for his sendoff. The award recognizes behind-the-scenes “heroes” whose work advances public radio. Starling had worked in NPR’s technology divisions since 1989 until taking a buyout earlier this year. He’s now starting a low-power FM station in Cambridge, Md. The following are his remarks delivered at the Public Radio Super-Regional conference in Las Vegas Nov.

Frontline creates cross-platform investigative unit with help from Ford Foundation

Frontline has hired two investigative reporters and promoted a digital specialist to create its first desk producing original investigative journalism across platforms.

The Enterprise Journalism Group, announced Wednesday, consists of new hires James Jacoby and Anya Bourg, who previously produced for CBS’s 60 Minutes. Frontline’s senior digital reporter, Sarah Childress, was promoted onto the team. The group is supported by an $800,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, announced in June. Over the next two years, the journalists will report major projects via text, video, photos, audio and graphics across Frontline’s platforms.

Raney Aronson-Rath, deputy executive producer, said journalistic flexibility is driving the project. “Maybe there’s a story that should go digital-first, so we get it up quickly,” she said.

Joyce MacDonald joins CPB as first v.p. of journalism

CPB has hired former NPR executive Joyce MacDonald for the new position of vice president of journalism, it announced Tuesday. MacDonald will work with Bruce Theriault, s.v.p., journalism and radio, on local and regional journalism strategy, planning and major initiatives. Since January, MacDonald has led National Public Media, a subsidiary of NPR, PBS and WGBH, as interim president. NPM is responsible for corporate sponsorship sales. After joining NPR in 1999, her positions included chief of staff, v.p. of member partnership and director of station relations.

Burson-Marsteller executive moves up to chair PBS Board of Directors

The PBS Board of Directors elected Don Baer of Burson-Marsteller Worldwide as its new chair Wednesday, promoting him from vice-chair during a meeting at headquarters in Arlington, Va. The board also confirmed Baer, c.e.o. of the public relations and communications firm, for a second term on the 27-member governing body. His career includes nearly a decade at Discovery Communications, in roles from producer to senior executive, and working as senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and as a journalist for publications including U.S. News & World Report. Continuing as general vice-chair is American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad, also re-elected to the board. Jack Galmiche, president of Nine Network in St.