People In Public Media

Blogger gets the hots for NPR’ers, Maine pubcaster appears on Family Feud, and more…

NPR anchor said to be "the thinking man's David Hasselhoff."Despite the phrase “a face made for radio,” a blogger has started appraising crush-worthy folks in public radio.

Babes Of NPR features public radio hosts, reporters and producers whose photos inspire a swoon or a snarky comment from the site’s North Carolina proprietor.

Morning Edition’s Steve Inskeep is “the thinking man’s David Hasselhoff.” Peter Breslow, a senior producer for Weekend Edition, is likened to actor Ted Danson. And Joe and Terry Graedon, hosts of The People’s Pharmacy, “look like they might be fun to take home from the middle-aged hippie swingers potluck.”

Babes of NPR was launched after a photo of NPR reporter Ari Shapiro popped up on the Facebook page of creator Katie Herzog. “I thought, ‘That guy is really good-looking, especially for an NPR nerd,’” says Herzog, who works for an academic press in Durham, N.C.

The blog started getting attention from people in public media. Mentions on Fresh Air’s blog brought another 80 followers to Babes of NPR and prompted Herzog to yell “I’ve gone viral!” to her coworkers. Shapiro, NPR’s Audie Cornish and Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal, among others, have all taken to Twitter to reference Babes of NPR or chat with Herzog (twitter.com/BabesofNPR).

Readers submit most of the babes, including station reporters as well as NPR names.

“I have all these pictures, but the captions are really hard to write,” Herzog says. “It’s not worth just putting up unless I have something to say about it.”

Herzog’s funny and sometime biting captions make the site more than just an album of photos, and a few have offended some readers. “Steve,” a commenter on Current’s website, called the blog “offensive” and said he felt “dirty” looking at it. Some readers criticized a post that identified a photo of black-rim-spectacled cable host Rachel Maddow as Ira Glass. Herzog admits that she can be offensive and “doesn’t have a very good filter in general,” but she is “trying to be kind-spirited.”

The posts seem to be contributed by “genuine fans of public radio,” says Shereen Marisol Meraji, a reporter for Southern California Public Radio in Los Angeles. Meraji was featured Feb. 3 with the caption, “United Colors of Benetton hot.”

At first, Meraji thought the blog was “sad” and out to mock people in public radio. But she’s since warmed up to it, acknowledging that postings give an ego boost. “It’s all in good fun,” she says, “and they’re funny.” — Mike Janssen

“Being on a syndicated television program was not on any life list that I ever had,” said Mark Vogelzang.

And yet there he was on Family Feud, Feb. 8, the new president of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network alongside his grown son and daughter and their spouses. Back in  spring 2011, the Vogelzangs heard about a regional audition for the show at a furniture store in Lynn, Mass., just north of Boston. Between all the kids and grandkids, “we have 16 people in the family, so we figured we could probably mount a team,” Vogelzang told Current.

Team Vogelzang included Mark, son Aaron and wife Alisha, and daughter Sarah and husband David Jones. Producers liked their audition and booked them for an August 2011 taping in Atlanta.

The Vogelzangs didn’t score high enough to move on to the next round, so their run for game-show prize money ended abruptly. “It was loads of fun to hang with my family,” Vogelzang said, “and great to watch them experience TV behind the scenes — and to see our name in lights.”

Management

Debra Fraser, ex-manager of radio operations at Houston Public Media, now oversees all three related stations — KUHT-TV, all-news KUHF-FM and classical KUHA-FM — as director of operations and station manager and supervisor of all news programming.

The reorganization by licensee University of Houston began with the ouster of top execs John Proffitt of KUHF-FM and John Hesse of KUHT-TV in December and the appointment of a single g.m., Lisa Trapani Shumate, over both TV and radio. Shumate announced 12 TV staff layoffs Jan. 30.

Programming/news

Michael Hagerty, a journalist with a decade of pubcasting experience, has been named news director at KUNR-FM in Reno, Nev. He comes to KUNR from KNPB-TV, Reno’s PBS member station, where he has worked as a reporter since 2008. His recent projects there include coverage of the Nevada legislature and the 2011 special congressional
election debate. He also guest-hosted KUNR’s Beyond the Headlines. Prior to his KNPB position, he was an on-air host and news producer at KACU/Abilene Public Radio and news and public affairs director at KWBUTV/FM in Waco, Texas.

Chicago’s WFMT hired Tony Macaluso as director of network and syndication. He will oversee syndication of more than three dozen WFMT Radio Network programs and concert series to hundreds of stations. He’ll also help develop and market new programs.

Macaluso previously worked as director of marketing and patron services at the Grant Park Music Festival in Millennium Park. He is the author of Sounds of Chicago’s Lakefront, about outdoor concerts in Grant Park, and the forthcoming Secret Spaces Atop Chicago, exploring upper ends of Chicago skyscrapers.

Arizona Public Media has hired Fernanda Echavarri, a former Arizona Daily Star reporter, to cover current events and education both on the radio and online. She began her career as a reporter with the Tucson Citizen, covering both daily breaking news and in-depth issues such as immigration.

Bob Giles, former curator of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, is now commentary editor for
the international news site GlobalPost. Giles will recruit contributors worldwide for a new Commentary section of the site. Giles has been a member of GlobalPost’s Editorial Advisory Board for the past three years. Giles retired in 2011 after 11 years as curator of the Nieman Foundation, one of the top fellowship programs for journalists. He spent four
decades as a print journalist, including as editor and publisher of The Detroit News, which he joined in 1986 as executive editor. Broadcaster and motivational speaker Lou Heckler will provide a weekly “business-oriented but light-hearted” commentary for Nightly Business Report and write a companion blog for the show’s website. “For me, coming
to NBR is like coming full circle,” Heckler said in an announcement. “I actually started in public television in 1966 at WUNC-TV in Chapel Hill.” Heckler served on the adjunct faculty at the University of Michigan’s Executive Education Center for 19 years. He was inducted into the National Speakers Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame in 1992 and has
spent 14 years in television in a variety of on-air and management positions.

Public/government relations

Eben Peck, CPB’s senior director of government affairs, is the new v.p. of government affairs for the American Society of Travel Agents. Peck was CPB’s primary liaison with the federal government, responsible for its
appropriation requests. In his new position, Peck will be responsible for all of ASTA’s federal and state lobbying, as well as its political action committee. Before joining CPB, Eben spent five years as a policy staffer for U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).

Michael Lupetin has been hired into the new position of v.p., marketing and brand, for KQED in San Francisco. He brings two decades of experience in marketing and digital initiatives. Most recently he was v.p., group program director, for marketer Moxie Interactive in Atlanta, where he served clients including BBC America, Cartoon Network,
CNN, Turner Broadcasting and 20th Century Fox. At KQED he will oversee the communications, creative services and membership departments.

Development

Chuck Bongiorno is the new major gifts director at Vermont Public Television. He has development experience at nonprofits including the regional chapter of the National MS Society, the Salvation Army, the American Lung Association of Vermont, and the Vermont Foundation of Children & Families.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT