People in Public Media

Stanton joins KPCC, MPR vet honored by governor, Alaska pubradio icon retires, and more…

A former top editor of the Los Angeles Times, Russ Stanton, has joined APM’s Los Angeles station

KPCC in Pasadena, Calif., announced a major hire last week: Former Los Angeles Times Editor Russ Stanton has joined the station as its new v.p. of content.

Stanton’s arrival “is part of an aggressive effort by the nonprofit news organization to become the preeminent regional source for both broadcast and online news — with deeper, more enterprising and investigative coverage,” KPCC declared on its website.

Stanton had left the newspaper last month in what was announced as a “mutual decision” with Times President Kathy Thomson.

In his four years at the helm, the Times won three Pulitzer Prizes, including a prestigious Public Service award. At KPCC, Stanton will be responsible for the station’s broadcast, website and live events coverage; one of his first duties will be to select an executive editor to supervise daily radio and digital news operations.

The station, managed by American Public Media, plans to more than double its 57-person newsroom by July 2014, in response to the Knight Commission’s 2009 assertion that pubcasting’s commitment to local journalism as inadequate (Current, Oct. 13, 2009). The station has approved a $24 million plan to fund the newsroom expansion and has raised some $8 million so far. Twenty staffers joined its news department in 2011 and 13 more will come aboard this year.

Mikel Ellcessor, g.m. of Detroit’s WDET, was elected DEI Board chair.

Other board officers of the Minneapolis-based fundraising association are Vice Chair Joaquin Alvarado, senior v.p. of digital innovation at American Public Media, and Secretary Don Derheim, c.o.o. of KQED in San Francisco. Robin Turnau, president of Vermont Public Radio, was reelected as treasurer.

New DEI Board members are Paul Jacobs, v.p. and g.m. of Jacobs Media, a prominent radio consulting firm; and Norm Silverstein, president of WXXI in Rochester, N.Y. DEI serves 275 member stations and produces the Public Media Development and Marketing Conference each July.

Minnesota’s governor declared Gary Eichten Day, honoring the 45-year MPR broadcaster.

Jan. 20 was Gary Eichten Day in Minnesota, proclaimed by Gov. Mark Dayton to honor the retiring Minnesota Public Radio host and producer after a 45-year career. The proclamation noted that Eichten began his career at MPR as a student announcer at KSJR, Minnesota’s first public radio station, in 1967. Over the years he has served as news director, special events producer, and station manager; for 20 years he has hosted Midday. A “Heckuva Farewell” for Eichten took place Jan. 19 at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, during which Eichten broadcast his last Midday program. At the farewell show, Eichten interviewed Gov. Dayton as well as former Vice President and Minnesota senior statesman Walter Mondale. At the beginning of his last broadcast, Gov. Dayton presented Eichten with the proclamation, surprising the veteran radio host. “Holy cow!” Eichten said. “I’m deeply honored, but I’m a little worried we’re going to have a blizzard.”

An Alaska pubradio vet, a.k.a. White Owl, retired last week after 40 years.

Len Anderson, 67, a public radio institution in Alaska and KSKA’s local news reporter in Anchorage since 2003, announced his retirement Jan. 22. Daysha Eaton, morning host and reporter at pubradio KDLG in Dillingham, Alaska, will replace him. Anderson’s first pubcasting job was at KEYA on the Turtle Mountain Indian Chippewa Reservation in North Dakota. In 1979 he moved to Alaska as manager of the Kotzebue radio station, KOTZ, in a native village 33 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

“I gained my Inupiaq name through an on-air mispronunciation in Kotzebue,” Anderson told the Anchorage Daily News. While reading through a stack of “Tundra Messages” — friendly shout-outs submitted by listeners to be announced on-air — he came to a message from a grandson to his grandmother about picking salmonberries in Point Hope.

The boy used the Inupiaq word for salmonberries, and Anderson flubbed the pronunciation as he rushed through the announcements. “I could hear the Inupiat laughter through two closed doors,” he recalled. “I had the grandmother scouring the tundra outside Point Hope picking white owls. The next Monday, Nellie Moore announced on the air that White Owl was my new name.” KSKA planned a retirement ceremony for Anderson on Jan. 27.

Management

Robert Culkeen, former v.p. of technology and operations at dual licensee WJCT in Jacksonville, Fla., has been named station manager of WILL TV and radio at Illinois Public Media, Champaign-Urbana. He succeeds Kate Dobrovolny, who retired as station manager in May. Culkeen had worked in distance learning at Westfield State University in Massachusetts and was chief videographer at WUFT in Gainesville, Fla.

Peg Arnold starts work this month as station manager of WXPR Public Radio in Rhinelander, Wis. Longtime station manager Mick Fiocchi will continue at WXPR, focusing on its Hear the Future capital campaign, among other projects.

Development/marketing

Robert B. Budelman III, a 14-year development pro who has managed nonprofit fundraising in education, health care and social services, is the new director of development for NJTV. Budelman will oversee individual as well as foundation fundraising at New Jersey’s pubcasting network, now managed by New York’s WNET. He had been a special projects fundraiser for WNET.

WSIU, dual licensee at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, has hired Ellen Carlson as assistant director of corporate support. Carlson previously worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Greater Media Detroit, Mississippi River Radio and KBSI Fox 23 in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

DMW Direct Fundraising, a Plymouth, Mass.-based service firm for stations and other nonprofits, has promoted five staffers: Tracy MacDonald to senior v.p., operations; Eileen Kagan, director of client services; Leanne Folan, senior account exec; Christina Hurley, associate account exec; and Wendy

Keller, list strategist, buyer and planner. Erin Martin Kane, former public relations chief for Frontline, is the new associate v.p. for public relations at Syracuse University. Kane recently ran EMK Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm near Boston.

Programming/journalism

On Feb. 11, Brad Cresswell, radio program manager at WGTE in Toledo, Ohio, returns to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City to host the popular “Opera Quiz” feature during the second intermission of Richard Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. This is Cresswell’s first time hosting the quiz, on which he has appeared regularly for four years.

MPR reporter Tom Weber will co-host The Daily Circuit, a new three-hour morning show that replaces the news network’s Midmorning show starting Feb. 21. Weber joined MPR News in 2008 as an education reporter. Last year he was the lead reporter on an investigation into a state anti-bullying law. He reported and anchored for KWMU in St. Louis for more than five years. He’ll be joined on The Daily Circuit by current Midmorning host Kerri Miller.

Meanwhile, MPR’s Midday, which now follows Midmorning, will shrink from two hours to one and be recast as MPR News Presents, featuring speeches, documentaries and news events. Former Midday producer Sara Meyer has been named MPR News’ senior producer for public affairs and will direct and product MPR News Presents. The change in Midday comes as former host Gary Eichten retires as the show’s host.

Two news team members are leaving KUT-FM in Austin, Texas, for new jobs. Producer Crystal Chavez now hosts Morning Edition for Texas Public Radio in San

Antonio. Ian Crawford, a news editor, is becoming an AmeriCorps VISTA community engagement coordinator in Washington, D.C.

NPR National Correspondent Alex P. Kellogg has left the network after 14 months on the job, he told Richard Prince’s Journal-isms blog Jan. 16. “We’re parting ways amicably,” Kellogg said. The blog noted that Kellogg is “one of NPR’s two black male on-air journalists.” The Harvard-educated Kellogg had previously reported for the Wall Street Journal and the Detroit Free Press.

Rhys Heyden, a journalism major at American University, has begun writing and researching for Current as an editorial intern. Heyden in a member of the Online News Association and will help shape our social media and web strategies.

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