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Author Archives: Florida Public Media

WFSU Wins NETA Award for Community Engagement

WFSU Public Media won a NETA Award for its “Summer Challenge 2021 Mountains, Hills and Mounds.”

The Summer Challenge was “interactive virtual event for kids and families to watch and do engaging and educational activities, while also learning from WFSU’s many friends and partner organizations.

Each year, this event launches your PBS KIDS station’s longest-running summer learning initiative – and a major tool for parent and teacher toolboxes for combatting the summer slide! Read on to learn about the Summer Challenge checklist and how it can keep the fun going all summer long.”

Public media’s achievements were celebrated at the 53rd Annual Public Media Awards Gala on January 25, held virtually at the NETA Conference and CPB Public Media Thought Leader Forum.

The National Educational Telecommunications Association is a professional organization of public media stations.

Florida Public Media Stations Win Suncoast Emmys

Five Florida Public Media stations were honored with 14 Suncoast Emmy Awards this year.

They included: WEDU PBS, WFSU Public Media, WLRN Public Radio and Television, WPBT2 South Florida PBS, and WUCF TV.

The Suncoast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is a nonprofit Florida corporation dedicated to excellence in television.

It offers the annual Regional EMMY® Awards called The Suncoast Regional EMMY® Awards to television markets in the entire State of Florida, Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles and New Orleans, Louisiana, Mobile, Alabama, Thomasville, Georgia and Puerto Rico.

“The Chapter is composed of professional people who work in television or students who are studying television in colleges or universities and aspire to become professionals.”

WUSF, WUWF Chosen for CPB’s Digital Transformation Program

WUSF Public Media (Tampa/St. Petersburg) and WUWF Public Media (Pensacola) were chosen by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to take part in the 2022 Digital Transformation Program, a “virtual program developed by the Poynter Institute to educate, assist, and coach public media senior leaders and their staff on the best strategies and tactics to transform their organization’s digital operations and culture. “

“The program includes online coaching and training to the station CEOs, along with the leaders of the five National Multicultural Alliance organizations, and their staff members, to accelerate their digital transformation efforts.”

“CPB’s commitment to advancing innovation and diversity continues to be reflected through our strategic investments helping system leaders advance a digital-first, audience-centric approach,” said CPB President/CEO Patricia Harrison in a release.

“The program will provide coaching and resources to help stations become more agile and leverage digital content, platforms, and data to grow and engage new and existing public media audiences,” she said.

FPM Elects Mullins Chair, Grove Vice Chair, Adds McGowan

The board of Florida Public Media elected David Mullins, General Manager, WFSU Public Media, as its new chair in a special election. Mullins succeeds Phil Hoffman, former Executive Director of WUCF-FM/TV (Orlando).

David Mullins. General Manager. WFSU. The Florida Channel.

The board also added David McGowan, President and CEO of WJCT Public Media (Jacksonville) as its At-Large member of the Executive Committee. 

Other members chosen for the Executive Committee include:

  • Vice Chair. Paul Grove. President and CEO. WEDU-TV. (Tampa-St. Petersburg)
  • Treasurer. Amy Shumaker, Associate General Manager – Content, WGCU-FM/TV (Ft. Myers/Naples)
  • Secretary. Chris Puorro, Station Manager of WQCS-FM (Ft. Pierce)
  • 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.

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.