Author Archives: Florida Public Media

WFSU, WLRN, WUFT Win National Murrow Awards

The Radio Television Digital News Association today announced the national winners of the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards. These awards recognize more than 100 outlets for outstanding work in digital, radio and television journalism in technical and editorial categories.

WLRN (Miami) was received a national award for Overall Excellence.

WUFT (Gainesville) won national recognition for video reporting in the small market radio and students categories. You can watch the feature story, Beyond the Finish Line.

WFSU (Tallahassee) won a national award for it series, Committed: How and Why Children Became The Fastest Growing Group Under Florida’s Baker Act.

“A core pillar of RTDNA is celebrating the best in journalism, and one of the ways we do that is through the Edward R. Murrow Awards,” said RTDNA Executive Director Dan Shelley.

“This year especially, we are honored to recognize outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital journalism. The past 18 months have been some of the most challenging in the history of our profession, and these recipients — among thousands of other journalists — clearly fulfilled their obligations to serve the public.”

There were more than 5,200 entries this year. In May, RTDNA recognized more than 750 winners of the Regional Murrow Awards, which automatically advanced to the national competition.

WJCT Wins Major CPB Grant to Address COVID-19 Misinformation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 19, 2021) – The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is awarding a total of $275,000 in emergency grants to 14 public media stations across the country to address COVID-19 misinformation in their communities. The grants – up to $20,000 each – are being awarded to public television and radio stations in areas with low vaccination and high infection rates, or in emerging hotspots for coronavirus infection.

“Public media stations, locally operated, work with their communities through partnerships of trust. General managers of stations serving America’s communities that are hard hit by the pandemic are committed to breaking through the cycle of misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and are providing information that is saving lives,” said Patricia Harrison, CPB president and CEO. “CPB is committed to funding their work as part of our stewardship and mission.”

WJCT Public Media will use digital engagement and texting tools to reach people in targeted areas with high levels of vaccine reluctance. WJCT will develop personalized, branching information trees to provide users accurate, accessible information on vaccine safety; connect users with coverage by their award-winning news team; and incorporate updates from local doctors and pharmacists to provide answers to specific questions.

Public media organizations are using the funding to produce or extend programming about the coronavirus pandemic, to develop multiplatform public service announcement campaigns, and to organize community outreach efforts regarding the pandemic and vaccines. Many stations are working with local partners to reach specific audiences with low vaccination rates, through communication methods ranging from public affairs programming to text messages to viral TikTok videos.

You can read more about the CPB grants here.

Hoffman Departs WUCF

Julian Wyllie. Current.

Phil Hoffman announced Monday that he is leaving his role as executive director and assistant VP of WUCF in Orlando, Fla.

In an announcement on Facebook, Hoffman cited personal reasons for his departure.

“The past 18 months have changed everyone’s lives, including mine. My wife and I have returned to visit our parents in Ohio 3-4 times per year, but that became unsustainable during the pandemic,” he said. “A 17-hour car ride each way was punishing. Something had to change. And Corona seems to be insistent on overstaying its welcome.”

Hoffman said he will work on national public media initiatives as a consultant, adding that “the time is right for my next public media adventure.”

Hoffman joined WUCF in 2016. During his tenure, he said, the station has more than tripled membership to nearly 26,000 and adopted ATSC 3.0.

Before joining WUCF, Hoffman was director of broadcast services and GM for KMOS in Warrensburg, Mo. He was also GM for ZTV, a student-run station at the University of Akron, and GM for WAPS in Akron, Ohio.

Jennifer Cook was named interim ED for WUCF after Hoffman’s departure. She previously worked as senior director of content and engagement.

Via the Current

President Biden Nominates Liz Sembler for CPB board

Elizabeth Sembler, Member, CPB Board of Directors | CPB

President Joe Biden has nominated three people to serve on CPB’s board of directors.

The nominees are Elizabeth Sembler, Kathy Im and Tom Rothman. They will join the board if confirmed by the U.S. Senate. CPB’s board has four vacant seats.

Sembler, a retired educator and administrator, most recently worked as director of engagement at Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg, Fla. She served on CPB’s board of directors from 2008–2020 and was board chair from 2014–16.

Sembler has also been a board chair for WEDU PBS in Tampa, Fla., where she is still a serving board member, and was a board member for America’s Public Television Stations.

More information about President Biden’s CPB nominees is available from the Current.

Weinstein Named Winner of Public Media Innovation Award

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – July 27, 2021

WFSU’s Tasha Weinstein was named the 2021 winner of the Janyth Righter Innovation Award by the board of Florida Public Media during the group’s July annual meeting. 

The award is given to a staff member at one of the organization’s 24 public radio and television stations for their entrepreneurial and innovative leadership. 

Weinstein is the Public Media Education and Engagement Manager at WFSU-TV/FM in Tallahassee. She was selected for her innovative response to delivering engaging educational content to educators and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Florida Public Media is delighted to honor Tasha Weinstein with this year’s award,”  said Patrick Yack, Executive Director of Florida Public Media. “She brings enthusiasm, passion, and a strong commitment to her job, to WFSU and most importantly – to the parents, students, and teachers of the Big Bend area.” 

Tasha Weinstein – WFSU-FM/TV

“She works tirelessly to tie the ongoing important work of PBS and WFSU to the Tallahassee community. Tasha is a nationally recognized leader in education, and we are fortunate to have her part of our public media family.”

A signature program for WFSU is the Summer Challenge, a program aimed at preventing summer learning loss in children. Weinstein produced a one-hour broadcast special around the theme of Mountains, Hills & Mounds that took children to various sites in the area to learn about the region’s geology. She linked the content to digital resources and worked with partner organizations to build on this theme. 

Weinstein is also credited with leading an effort to tie the PBS KIDS program Molly of Denali to the Muscogee people of Florida. She and her education team created a “virtual” museum that provided a wealth of resources and information about Native American people, their culture, history, and stories.

Pivoting this project from an in person “pop-up” museum to a virtual one allowed WFSU to reach more people with this project and she developed a workshop model for educators to better understand how to use this resource.

“Tasha is a dynamo who has taken the WFSU Education Program to new heights,” said Kim Kelling, WFSU Director of Content & Community Partners. 

“Everything she approaches is done with the mindset of how we can be more effective in reaching underserved children and families. With a pandemic impacting in person work for the past 16 months, Tasha has been instrumental in rethinking how we do our work and how we can engage the community. She has worked across all of our departments at WFSU to achieve that goal.”

Established in 2017, the award is named in honor of Janyth Righter, the former executive director of Florida Public Media and a pioneer in public broadcasting in Florida. 

Past winners include:

Jeff Huffman – WUFT-TV/FM. Gainesville/Ocala. 2017.

Catherine Hiles – WUCF-TV. Orlando. 2018.

Brent Burton – WSRE-TV. Pensacola. 2019.

Penelope Douglas. WPBT-TV. Miami. 2020.

WFSU TV/FM broadcasts throughout Florida panhandle and south Georgia. Florida Public Media is a professional association made up of the NPR and PBS stations in Florida. 

Hoffman Elected FPM Chair; Puorro At-Large Officer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fl. – July 27, 2021

The association of public media elected Phil Hoffman, Executive Director WUCF-TV/FM (Orlando), as its new chair during the group’s annual board meeting this month.

The board also added Chris Puorro, station manager of WQCS-FM (Ft. Pierce) as its At-Large member of the Executive Committee. 

“It’s an honor to be asked to serve Florida Public Media,” Hoffman said.

Phil Hoffman, Executive Director of WUCF TV/FM in Orlando, takes the helm of Florida Public Media.

“Public media plays a critically important role in bringing our local communities important information…whether it’s educational content for children, thoughtful programs from Ken Burns, Nova and Nature, or highly trusted reporting from some of the country’s best reporters. Public media has always had a mission to serve all people with great content. FPM enables Florida stations to do that well.” 

“I’m thankful to my colleagues across the state for choosing me to be a part of the executive team at Florida Public Media,” Puorro said. 

“We look forward to continuing the public media collaborations that have provided our listeners and viewers with a wide array of content, and helped to keep them safe and informed during challenges.”

The board also elected these others officers:

Chris Puorro, Station Manager, WQCS-FM.

– Vice Chair: David Mullins, General Manager, WUSF-FM/TV (Tallahassee)

– Treasurer: Amy Shumaker, Associate General Manager – Content, WGCU-FM/TV (Ft. Myers/Naples)

– Secretary: Paul Grove, President and CEO, WEDU-TV (Tampa/St. Petersburg) 

– Immediate Past Chair: Randy Wright, Executive Director, WUFT-FM/TV(Gainesville/Ocala)

Florida Public Media (FPM) is the organization of 24 public radio and public television stations in the state. The stations broadcast programming by NPR and PBS, and a wide range of news, public affairs, and music programs. 

TV members provide the main distribution of The Florida Channel, and radio members serve as the backbone of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN). FPREN is headquartered at WUFT on the campus of The University of Florida in Gainesville. 

FPM is the state’s leader in educational programming and emergency communications.

Pulley-Hayes Departs for WAMU.

Tyler Falk
Current

American University named Erika Pulley-Hayes as GM of its public radio station WAMU in Washington, D.C., Tuesday.

Pulley-Hayes

She comes to WAMU from Orlando, Fla., where she has been CEO of Community Communications Inc., the licensee of WMFE and WMFVsince January 2020. Pulley-Hayes was previously VP of radio at CPB, where she had worked since 2005.

Her first day at WAMU is Aug. 30. 

You can read more at Current.org.

Florida Public Media Names 2021 Champions

Florida’s association of public broadcasters recognized four members of the legislature for their important roles in supporting public broadcasting this past session. 

WQCS General Manager Chris Puorro, Rep. Randy Fine, WFIT General Manager Terri Wright

Winners of the 2021 Florida Public Media Champion Award include:

  • Senator Doug Broxson (Pensacola)
  • Senator Audrey Gibson (Jacksonville)
  • Representative Randy Fine (Palm Bay)
  • Representative Jay Trumbull (Panama City)

“On behalf of my colleagues in public media across the great state of Florida, I’m proud to congratulate the four recipients of the Florida Public Media Champion Award for 2021,” said Randy Wright, General Manager of WUFT in Gainesville-Ocala and chair of the organization.

“Senators Broxson and Gibson, and Representatives Fine and Trumbull, played significant parts in highlighting the extraordinary public safety and educational roles public media play in Florida.”

“We’re proud to recognize them for their valuable contributions to the communities we all serve,” Wright said.

Florida Public Media represents 24 public radio and television stations throughout the state.

The annual award is given to honor those who have championed support for public broadcasting in the legislature.

It is inscribed with a quote by the legendary Fred Rogers: “Anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me.”

Past winners have included:

  • Senator Rob Bradley (Orange Park)
  • Senator Manny Diaz (Hialeah Gardens)
  • Senator Kathleen Passidomo (Naples)
  • Senator Kelli Stargel (Lakeland)
  • Representative Travis Cummings (Orange Park)
  • Representative Heather Fitzenhagen (Ft. Myers)
  • Representative Jake Raburn (Valrico)
  • Representative Josie Tomkow (Auburndale)
  • Representative Susan Valdes (Tampa) 

Florida Broadcasters Name WUSF News The 2020 Radio Station Of The Year

WUSF News was named radio Station of the Year by the Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists for its journalism produced during 2020.

The team also collected six other first place awards (General Assignment, General Assignment (Long), Education (Single), Health Reporting (Single), Political, Government, Election Reporting (Single), and Political, Government, Election Reporting (Station) in the contest that includes commercial and public media broadcasters from across Florida.

Other Florida public radio stations won numerous first place awards, including:

WLRN – Miami. Continuing Coverage, Team Coverage, Series (Light), Series (Franchise), Feature Reporting (Cultural & Historical), Investigative Reporting, Individual Achievement (Writing), Individual Achievement and (Digital Journalist).

WGCU – Ft. Myers/Naples. Feature Reporting (Hard), Sports Reporting, and Traffic Reporting.

WMFE – Orlando. Digital Programming, Public Affairs, and Health Reporting (Series).

WFSU – Tallahassee. Environmental Reporting (Series), and Use of Sound.

WUFT – Gainesville/Ocala. Feature Reporting (Light).

WJCT Announced As Member Of National Climate Coverage Collaborative

The Local Media Association has announced 22 news outlets from across the country, including Jacksonville’s own WJCT News 89.9 and WJCT News partner News4Jax, that will be participating in its new Covering Climate Collaborative. WJCT produces ADAPT, a digital magazine focused on how climate change is impacting Northeast Florida and what’s being done about it, and the ADAPT Newsletter. 

This new collaboration will help participating newsrooms focus on covering the local impacts of climate change and how communities are responding to it.

“We’re thrilled to announce this group of newsrooms that are recognized for their commitment to reporting locally on the impacts of climate change,” said Frank Mungeam, chief information officer for the Local Media Association (LMA), one of the largest local media trade associations in North America. “This collaboration brings together newsrooms with diverse platform expertise — from print to digital to audio and video — and represents key regions directly affected by our changing climate.”

The partners are grouped into five regional hubs:

East/Southeast

  • Florida: WJCT Public Media, WJXT-TV, The Miami Herald, WKMG-TV Orlando and Florida International University’s South Florida Media Network
  • North Carolina: The News & Observer
  • South Carolina: The Post & Courier

Gulf Coast

  • Louisiana: The Times Picayune and WWNO/WRKF Radio
  • Texas: KPRC-TV Houston and KSAT-TV San Antonio

Great Lakes

  • Illinois: WBEZ Chicago
  • Michigan: Great Lakes Echoat Michigan State University, Planet Detroitand WDIV-TV

Southwest

  • Arizona: ABC15-TV Phoenix
  • New Mexico: The Paper (Albuquerque) and NMPBS Public Radio

West

  • California: The Sacramento Bee, KGO-TV San Francisco and Southern California Public Radio
  • Washington: Investigate West

Journalists from these news outlets will focus on the major threats climate change poses to their region, collaborating on local coverage and exchanging content with other members, both in their region and from across the country.

For more information, please see WJCT’s website.

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