Tag Archives: wmfe
Veteran journalist and broadcaster Judith Smelser has been named President and General Manager of WMFE-FM in Orlando.
Smelser had been serving as WMFE/WMFV’s interim President and General Manager since September 2021.
She has a long history with the station as an award-winning reporter and news director, according to an announcement by the station’s board.
“After a nationwide search and interviewing a number of well qualified candidates, we have selected Judith as the person to lead the station on a permanent basis,” said Donna Mackenzie, Chair of WMFE/WMFV’s Board of Trustees.
“Judith embodies the qualities and experience we believe will allow the station to reach its full potential, enhancing and building the focus on journalism and service to our community.”
Mackenzie announced Smelser’s permanent position to station staff on February 8.
“My ambition was never to lead a station,” Smelser said. “But for me, WMFE is not just any station. My career has taken me all over the country and given me a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing public media and journalism; now I get to put that experience to work for an organization and a community I love and consider my home.”
WMFE broadcasts throughout the greater Orlando area. WMFV broadcasts in The Villages and surrounding communities.
WMFE is a member of Florida Public Media, the professional association of public broadcasters in the state.
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).
WMFE REPORTER AMY GREEN’S ‘DRAINED’ PRODUCED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH FLORIDA CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING
ORLANDO — In 2000, President Bill Clinton quietly signed into law a plan to restore the Everglades. Twenty years and $17 billion later, the grandiose vision of reversing decades of environmental damage remains stuck in the swamp.
In DRAINED, a new four-part podcast out Dec. 8 from WMFE and the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, host Amy Green wades into the controversy around one of the most ambitious environmental restoration efforts ever undertaken.
From rivers of toxic slime to a mind-boggling plan to inject a giant bubble of freshwater a thousand feet underground, DRAINED examines the massive plan to restore the river of grass and poses the big question about the future of this natural wonder: Can it be saved?
WMFE environmental reporter Amy Green
“The plan to save the Everglades is enormous and enormously complicated, but it’s so important to Florida’s future,” Green said. “I have dedicated much of the last 10 years of my career to telling this story, one that embodies humankind’s relationship — and conquest — of nature and all the consequences associated with that. In many ways the story is personal for me, having grown up in Florida and now that I am raising my 6-year-old daughter here. I thank WMFE and the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting for their continued support of my work and for providing a platform for this important story.”
Trevor Aaronson, executive director of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, said the Everglades deserves our attention.
“For Florida, the Everglades are iconic. But I suspect that few Floridians realize how badly we’ve messed up the wetlands that have come to symbolize our state — and how our efforts to restore the Everglades, now going on 20 years, have been both enormously ambitious and jaw-droppingly harebrained,” Aaronson said. “In this four-episode podcast, Amy Green masterfully explains our destructive relationship with the Everglades. As a nonprofit journalism organization, FCIR is proud to partner with Amy and WMFE for this in-depth reporting and storytelling.”
This is the third partnership for WMFE and FCIR. In 2018, WMFE and FCIR partnered on an investigative series about climate change and state government inaction. Green’s reporting for the series won awards from the SPJ Sunshine State Awards and the Florida Associated Press Professional Broadcasters Contest. In 2012, WMFE and FCIR partnered on a print and radio package about Big Sugar and government subsidies. Green’s reporting for that partnership won honors from the Green Eyeshade Awards, a journalism competition throughout the Southeast.
“WMFE is proud to partner with the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting to shine a light on another important but often overlooked environmental issue in our state,” said Erika Pulley-Hayes, president and CEO of WMFE. “Amy’s immersive reporting and the voices and natural sounds bring this story to life for the listener and make the pressing issues of the River of Grass hard to ignore.”
DRAINED is reported and hosted by Amy Green, and edited by FCIR Executive Director Trevor Aaronson and WMFE News Director Matthew Peddie. Mix and sound design by Paul Vaitkus. Mac Dula, Jenny Babcock and Ryan Ellison provided additional production help. Cliff Tumetel also contributed. Special thanks to Johns Hopkins University Press.
About Amy Green
Amy Green covers the environment for WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist whose work has been heard on NPR and seen in PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor. She began her career at The Associated Press. Her book on the Everglades will be published in March 2021 by Johns Hopkins University Press. Green was raised in Florida and lives in Orlando with her 6-year-old daughter. Learn more and read her latest stories at wmfe.org/author/agreen
The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting is a nonprofit news organization supported by foundations and individual contributions. Founded in 2010, FCIR produces award-winning public-service journalism in partnership with traditional and ethnic news media in Florida and across the nation. For more information, visit fcir.org.
Community Communications Inc. is a locally owned, and operated, non-profit public media organization that operates 90.7 WMFE-FM, metro Orlando’s primary provider of NPR programming; 90.7-2 Classical; and 89.5 WMFV, public radio for The Villages, Ocala and surrounding counties. Listener-supported Community Communications has been serving the community since 1980 with trusted news and programming from a local, national and international perspective. Visit wmfe.orgfor more information.
# # #
MEDIA INQUIRIES: Please contact Communications & Marketing Specialist Jenny Babcock at email@example.com or 407-273-2300 ext. 112.
WMFE PRESIDENT ELECTED TO NPR BOARD OF DIRECTORS ERIKA PULLEY-HAYES FILLS THE POSITION OF MEMBER DIRECTOR
ORLANDO — Erika Pulley-Hayes, president and CEO of WMFE/WMFV in Orlando, has been elected to the NPR Board of Directors.
Pulley-Hayes joined WMFE/WMFV in January after a long tenure at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, where she served as radio vice president.
“I’m excited to serve on the NPR board at this moment in time,” Pulley-Hayes said. “Journalism is essential to our democracy, and I am committed to ensuring the news and information NPR provides to our country remains strong.”
Pulley-Hayes was elected Sept. 11 to fill an unexpired term vacancy on the board due to the departure of Wonya Lucas, former CEO of Public Broadcasting Atlanta, according to Current. The board’s Governance Committee nominated Pulley-Hayes to a three-year term beginning in November, subject to election by the network’s membership in a ballot that opens next month.
The NPR Board of Directors sets the policies and overall direction for NPR management, monitors the performance of NPR, and provides financial oversight. NPR’s 23-member Board of Directors is comprised of 12 Member Directors who are managers of NPR Member stations and are elected to the Board by their fellow Member stations, 9 Public Directors, the NPR Foundation Chair, and the NPR President & CEO.
Erika Pulley-Hayes joined WMFE/WMFV in January 2020 as president and CEO after a long tenure at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) where she served as radio vice president. In this capacity, she provided strategic leadership to the public radio system by developing initiatives designed to drive innovation and advance public media service. She has worked to enhance local service and sustainability by identifying new business opportunities and operating models that engage audiences across platforms and increase organizational capacity. She was instrumental in the development of journalism collaborations among public media organizations in local regions. She was also responsible for developing the policies that govern CPB’s Community Service Grant program which, as public media’s largest funding source, supports over 400 organizations operating public radio stations nationwide.
Erika began her career at a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company, where she worked under the general counsel and corporate secretary. In this role, she worked closely with the board of directors, negotiated corporate agreements for commercial transactions, and ensured political and regulatory compliance. Erika later managed legal operations of a small clinical research organization overseeing risk management, corporate housekeeping and commercial contracts generating approximately $40 million annually. Erika serves on the board of directors of 826 National, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students improve their expository and creative writing skills in nine cities across the United States. She is also a member of the Alliance of Women in Media. Erika holds an MBA and an MS in Nonprofit Management.
About Community Communications Inc.:
Community Communications Inc. is a locally owned, and operated, non-profit public media organization that operates 90.7 WMFE-FM, metro Orlando’s primary provider of NPR programming; 90.7-2 Classical; and 89.5 WMFV, public radio for The Villages, Ocala and surrounding counties. Listener-supported Community Communications has been serving the community since 1980 with trusted news and programming from a local, national and international perspective. Visit wmfe.org and wmfv.org for more information.
NPR’s rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Get more information at npr.org/about and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
# # #
ORLANDO – 90.7 WMFE has begun an ongoing collaboration with InsideClimate News, a Pulitzer Prize-winning, non-profit, non-partisan news organization dedicated to covering climate change, energy and the environment. WJCT Public Media in Jacksonville also participates in the collaborative.
WMFE environmental reporter Amy Green is a part of ICN’s new project Caught Off Guard: The Southeast Struggles with Climate Change, which features Southeast reporters’ stories on the progress and problems their communities face related to climate change. Journalists from nine newsrooms found communities struggling with funding or a lack of political will, and an urgent need for technological breakthroughs to meet global warming head-on.
Green’s story, Orlando Aims High With Emissions Cuts, Despite Uncertain Path, focuses on the city of Orlando’s promise to achieve 100% clean energy by 2050.
“As its population grows, the Southeast region is facing some of the biggest global warming threats in the United States. And it’s having a hard time rising to that challenge,” ICN Southeast reporter James Bruggers wrote. “We’re proud to bring you these stories, and proud of our work to revive and strengthen local environmental journalism.”
WMFE is part of the Southeast hub of ICN’s national environmental reporting network. The other members are fellow Florida station WJCT Public Media in Jacksonville, Raleigh News and Observer, West Virginia Public Broadcasting/Ohio Valley Resource, The Post and Courier, The State, BirminghamWatch, Georgia Public Broadcasting and WFAE.
WMFE is also part of the Florida Climate Reporting Network, a multi-newsroom initiative founded by the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun Sentinel, The Palm Beach Post, the Orlando Sentinel, WLRN Public Media and the Tampa Bay Times to report about climate change.
Green shared her Orlando emissions story with the Florida network, and the Orlando Sentinel published it in their print edition on Jan. 27.
NEW LEADER COMES TO CENTRAL FLORIDA FROM CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING, WHERE SHE SERVED AS VP OF RADIO
ORLANDO – The Board of Trustees of 90.7 WMFE | 89.5 WMFV announced today the appointment of Erika Pulley-Hayes as President and CEO.
Pulley-Hayes succeeds LaFontaine E. Oliver, who led the station since 2013, before returning to Baltimore in July to lead NPR member station WYPR.
Pulley-Hayes is currently vice president of Radio at the Washington, D.C.-based Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the nonprofit steward of the federal government’s investment in public media, which supports the operations of over 1,500 locally owned public TV and radio stations. She will assume her new role on Jan. 13.
“WMFE|WMFV provides an important service to Central Florida, and this is an incredible opportunity to build upon the quality journalism and programming this organization delivers to the community,” Pulley-Hayes said. “I am very excited to join this team and continue working to enhance the local service that engages audiences across platforms.”
In her role at the CPB, Pulley-Hayes has provided strategic leadership to the public radio system by developing initiatives that sustain and advance public media service. She has driven innovation in a legacy industry through programs that enable public media organizations to respond to disruption and prepare for the future. She has extended public media to new audiences across platforms by providing podcasting expertise to local stations and developing a new format for multicultural millennials.
“We are excited to welcome Erika Pulley-Hayes to Central Florida,” WMFE|WMFV Board Chair Anne E. Kelley said. “She is uniquely positioned to continue her record of driving innovation, now on the local level, and to further our stations’ mission to engage new communities, both on our terrestrial airwaves as well as our growing number of digital platforms.”
More about Pulley-Hayes
Pulley-Hayes has worked at CPB since 2005 and has been responsible for managing daily operations, financial administration, grant programs, funding decisions and impact evaluation. She has worked to enhance local service and sustainability by identifying new business opportunities and operating models that increase organizational capacity.
She began her career as a legal assistant at a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company. She later managed legal operations of a small clinical research organization in Virginia.
Pulley-Hayes holds an MBA and an MS in nonprofit management from the University of Maryland University College. She also holds a BA from William Paterson University in her home state of New Jersey. In her spare time, she enjoys practicing yoga, attending live events and traveling. She has two adult sons.
About Community Communications Inc.:
Community Communications Inc. is a non-profit, member-supported, community-based public broadcasting company that operates 90.7 WMFE-FM, metro Orlando’s primary provider of NPR programming; 90.7-2 Classical; and 89.5 WMFV, public radio for The Villages, Leesburg and The Golden Triangle. Part of the community since 1980, Community Communications focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. Visit wmfe.org and wmfv.org for more information.
$10,000 Seed Grants to Spur Education Innovation
Jun 14, 2018
(WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 14, 2018) – The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has awarded $500,000 to 50 public media stations across the country to explore innovative education programs. The grants of $10,000 per station will help fund research and planning, a crucial first step for stations to assess local needs and opportunities and to innovate on a local level.
“Through these pilot grants, we want stations to consider innovative ways to use media to meet pressing educational needs in their communities,” said Deb Sanchez, CPB senior vice president, education and children’s content. “The needs assessment and planning process will give stations the opportunity to discover today’s teaching and learning challenges and how public media can serve as a trusted educational media partner to serve their communities.”
CPB announced the grant opportunity at the Public Media Thought Leader Forum, at the 2018 National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) conference in January. Forum speakers inspired public media leaders to think about their education work in new and different ways. For example, Michael Horn of the Clayton Christensen Institute challenged stations to identify individual needs when developing educational content, as well as service and engagement strategies to better connect resources to those individuals.
The 50 stations receiving grants include public television and radio stations as well as joint licensees of all sizes, including WNET in New York City, New England Public Radio, KRWG in Las Cruces, N.M., and a collaboration between East Tennessee PBS and WUOT-FM. CPB will supplement the grants with professional learning activities, including an in-person meeting, needs assessments and personalized technical assistance, and a series of webinars showcasing tools and processes stations can use to build and implement a new vision of their education service. After six months, participating stations should have a fully developed project or service that they can bring to CPB or other partners for funding.
The stations include the following, alphabetically by state:
- KHSU-FM, Arcata, Calif.
- PBS SoCal, Costa Mesa, Calif.
- Rocky Mountain PBS, Denver, Colo.
- Connecticut Public, Hartford, Conn.
- WJCT, Jacksonville, Fla.
- WUCF-TV, Orlando, Fla.
- WMFE-FM, Orlando, Fla.
- WFSU, Tallahassee, Fla.
- WUSF, Tampa, Fla.
- Iowa Public Television, Johnston, Iowa
- Idaho Public Television, Boise, Idaho
- WKU Public Broadcasting, Bowling Green. Ky.
- Louisiana Public Broadcasting, Baton Rouge, La.
- WGBY, Springfield, Mass.
- New England Public Radio, Springfield, Mass.
- Maryland Public Television, Owings Mills, Md.
- WKAR, East Lansing, Mich.
- WGVU, Grand Rapids, Mich.
- Detroit Public Television, Wixom, Mich.
- WCMU Public Media, Mount Pleasant, Mich.
- Twin Cities Public Television, St. Paul, Minn.
- KCPT, Kansas City, Mo.
- Nine Network of Public Media, St. Louis, Mo.
- Montana PBS, Bozeman, Mont.
- UNC-TV, Research/Triangle Park, N.C.
- Prairie Public Broadcasting, Fargo, N.D.
- KRWG, Las Cruces, N.M.
- Vegas PBS, Las Vegas, Nev.
- WSKG, Binghamton, N.Y.
- WNED/WBFO-FM, Buffalo, N.Y.
- WCNY/Public Broadcasting Council of Central New York, Syracuse, N.Y.
- WNET/Educational Broadcasting Corporation, New York City, N.Y.
- WMHT, Troy, N.Y.
- WPBS, Watertown, N.Y.
- WGTE, Toledo, Ohio
- Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, Oklahoma City, Okla.
- WLVT-TV, Bethlehem, Pa.
- WQED, Pittsburgh, Pa.
- WVIA, Pittston, Pa.
- WHYY, Philadelphia, Pa.
- WPSU, University Park, Pa.
- WSBE/Rhode Island PBS, Providence, R.I.
- WCTE, Cookeville, Tenn.
- East Tennessee PBS/WUOT-FM, Knoxville, Tenn.
- Nashville Public Television, Nashville, Tenn.
- Panhandle PBS, Amarillo, Texas
- KERA, Dallas, Texas
- KLRU, Austin, Texas
- KUEN, Salt Lake City, Utah
- WHRO Public Media, Norfolk, Va.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of nearly 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related online services. For more information, visit www.cpb.org and follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook, LinkedIn, and subscribe for other updates.