Two executives join NPR, groundbreaker Belva Davis leaves KQED-TV, Fajardo departs WMFE-TV and more . . .

By Dru Sefton

NPR added new positions to its executive ranks with two appointments announced Nov. 1 by President Gary Knell.

Carrasco

Mayor

Emma Carrasco, currently executive vice president of Republica, a Miami creative agency specializing in multiplatform marketing, takes over as NPR’s chief marketing officer Dec. 3. Carrasco has 30 years of experience in advertising, branding, digital, promotions, communications and media. She has worked for Fleishman-Hillard in Los Angeles and New York and at major firms such as Univision, McDonald’s and Nortel Networks. Carrasco serves on the board of directors of WPBT, the PBS member station in Miami. She will report directly to Knell and work to develop and lead implementation of a marketing strategy to expand the visibility of NPR and public radio.

Loren Mayor will join NPR as senior vice president of strategy. Since 2008, Mayor has been v.p. of strategy and ventures at PBS, where she oversees long-term and annual strategic planning, media strategy, corporate partnerships, major revenue initiatives, and licensing and sponsorship programs. Prior to PBS, Mayor spent five years at CPB, rising to vice president of media strategies and technologies. Her previous experience includes consulting for McKinsey & Co., primarily with clients in nonprofit and media.

Mayor will report directly to Knell as one of four executives assigned to the office of the president. Others are Joyce MacDonald, chief of staff and v.p. member audience partnership; Mike Riksen, v.p., policy and representation; and Keith Woods, v.p., diversity.

Carrasco will join Knell’s executive committee, whose members are McDonald; Debbie Cowan, c.f.o.; Dana Davis Rehm, s.v.p. of marketing and communications; Monique Hanson, chief development officer; Margaret Low Smith, s.v.p. of news; Steve Moss, c.o.o. of the underwriting sales unit National Public Media; Joyce Slocum, chief administrative officer; and Kinsey Wilson, chief content officer.

Belva Davis, a pioneering African-American journalist and host of KQED-TV’s public affairs show This Week in Northern California, will conclude her two-decade run on the program this week.

Her final show, airing Nov. 9, will feature an interview with famed writer Maya Angelou.

Davis

Davis began her journalism career in the Bay Area nearly 50 years ago. “Belva Davis is an icon of fair, thorough and local journalism,” said John Boland, KQED president, “and she has opened up so many doors for women and African Americans in television and beyond. We count ourselves lucky to have had such a trailblazer as part of the KQED family.” Davis has received more than a dozen journalism awards, including eight local Emmys.

She is widely recognized as the first female African-American broadcast journalist to rise to prominent on-air roles on West-Coast television. In her autobiography, Never in My Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman’s Life in Journalism (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2011), Davis recalls a San Francisco station manager dismissing her from an early job interview simply by saying he “wasn’t hiring any Negresses.” She endured racist insults and trash thrown at her while she covered the 1964 Republican convention in San Francisco.

Davis persevered and went on to report on many important stories of the time, including the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley; the birth of the Black Panthers; the People’s Temple cult and its mass suicides at Jonestown; assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk; the onset of the AIDS epidemic; and the terrorist attacks on the U.S. embassy in Tanzania that first put Osama bin Laden on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. She has interviewed an array of A-list newsmakers such as Malcolm X, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Nancy Reagan, Huey Newton, Muhammad Ali, Alex Haley, Fidel Castro, Dianne Feinstein and Condoleeza Rice.

Actor Bill Cosby, who had watched Davis on local television early in her career, wrote in her book’s foreword: “Belva Davis was someone who sustained us, who made us proud. She was the first woman of color that many viewers came to know and trust, and she met that challenge with integrity and dignity and grace.”

In a letter to viewers announcing her retirement, Davis said, “It was my interest in politics and fairness that fueled my career in broadcast journalism more than four decades ago. The need that the two remain intertwined is as important today as it was when I started.”

This Week continues and will have a series of guest hosts until a new host is announced in early 2013.

WMFE President José Fajardo, who initiated the sale of the Orlando station’s public television channel in 2011, is leaving Dec. 1.

Fajardo

Fajardo’s departure was announced last month after the sale of WMFE-TV to the University of Central Florida was finalized.

Early in those negotiations, Fajardo told the WMFE Board that he was considering a move, according to Chair Bob Showalter. Fajardo “made it clear . . . that once WMFE became a radio-only operation he would initiate a dialogue with the board about his future,” Showalter said in a statement. “José was clear that a new and smaller 90.7 would not need a highly compensated c.e.o. and to his credit he kept his word.”

Fajardo arrived at WMFE in 1996 as director of radio programming, and became president in 2007. Previously, he was g.m. of KNCT in Killeen, Texas, and sales executive and operations manager for KTEM/KPLE, a commercial radio operation in Texas.

Programming

Whiteside

Gregg Whiteside is now a classical music host at WRTI-FM in Philadelphia, on the air from 6 to 10 a.m. weekdays. Whiteside began his career at WQXR in New York City, where he was chief announcer and morning host for 23 years. He hosted the national broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic and was the commercial voice of many of the city’s top cultural institutions, including the Metropolitan Opera. For the past three months, Whiteside has served as interim morning host while the station conducted a national search to replace former morning host Dave Conant, who is now the station’s general manager.

WFPL News in Louisville has hired Jonathan Bastian of Aspen Public Radio as local host and producer of Morning Edition. In Aspen, Bastian hosted All Things Considered. He’s also the founder and host of Page by Page, a weekly author-interview program syndicated on pubradio stations across Colorado. Devin Katayama, who served as interim host of Morning Edition, is returning to full-time reporting.

Digital

Lord

Louisville Public Media also added two positions in its online division: technology director for its three radio stations, WFPL, WUOL and WFPK; and online managing editor for WFPL. Charles Spivey is the new technology director, overseeing all daily technical operations of broadcast transmitters and digital operations, as well as the licensee’s IT strategy. Previously, Spivey was the technology officer at the National Center for Family Literacy in Louisville, and assisted the Center for Nonprofit Excellence in Charlottesville, Va., in teaching IT strategic planning for nonprofits. WFPL’s new online managing editor is Joseph Lord. He will write and edit posts on WFPL.org, manage social media and facilitate the upcoming launch of the Public Insight Network. Lord reported for The Anniston Star in Alabama, the Tribune and Evening News in southern Indiana and Velocity, the weekly entertainment magazine for The Courier-Journal in Louisville. Most recently he was a digital news reporter for that newspaper. As Lord joins the staff, reporter Rick Howlett becomes WFPL broadcast managing editor.

Governance

Mayer

The Association of Independents in Radio has elected three directors. Incumbent Amy Mayer, a journalist based in Greenfield, Mass., and current board secretary, returns for another three-year term. New directors are Rob Rosenthal, an instructor in the Transom Story Workshop of Transom.org, and Laura Starecheski, producer of State of the Re:Union. Two station-based pubradio managers joined the board as appointees: Ellen Rocco, g.m. of North Country Public Radio in Canton, N.Y., who serves on AIR’s strategic development committee; and Bob Cross, head of finance at KUT in Austin, Texas, and chair of the human resource committee.

Michigan Radio News Director Vincent Duffy is the new chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), the first public media news director elected to the position. Duffy served as chair-elect of the RTDNA during 2011. He takes over from Kevin Benz of the daily digital news magazine CultureMap Austin, who will chair the Radio Television Digital News Foundation, the educational arm of the association. The RTDNA is the world’s largest organization serving the electronic-news profession, with more than 3,000 members including news directors, news associates, educators and students.

Management

Barbara Hamm Lee is the new project manager of the CPB-backed African American Public Radio Station (AAPRS) service grant at the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Hamm Lee will report directly to Ginny Z. Berson, NFCB’s v.p. and director of federation services, and work with an advisory council of station managers and industry executives. Under the CPB grant, NFCB procures service contracts for stations licensed to  Historically Black Colleges and Universities or that serve a predominantly African-American audience.

Please send People items to sefton@current.org

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