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Search underway for new Wisconsin Public Media executive director

February 17, 2022 By Käri Knutson

A search-and-screen committee has been appointed to help identify and select candidates for the next executive director of Wisconsin Public Media.

Committee co-chairs are Niles Berman, board chair of the Wisconsin Public Radio Association and member of the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board, and Kathy Bissen, chief operating officer of PBS Wisconsin.

The executive director of WPM, the division at the University of Wisconsin–Madison that oversees Wisconsin Public Radio and PBS Wisconsin, leads a unit of approximately 280 full-time and 60 part-time and student staff and oversees a budget of more than $35 million from multiple and variable revenue sources including: university, state and federal government; audience memberships; major and planned giving; grants; business sponsorships; special events; and sales of goods and services.

The executive director establishes and maintains relationships at the local, state and national level to advance and support public media through balancing the interests of multiple partners while focusing on meeting audience and stakeholder needs and preferences. The position initiates and guides collaborative efforts between WPR and PBS Wisconsin and content partners across the university and beyond. The executive director’s work is significantly focused on building organizational capacity and working with external partners and prospective partners, including diverse educational, not-for-profit and civic organizations.

Heather L. Reese was named interim director in August following the death of Gene Purcell, who had served in the role since 2018.

Joining the co-chairs on the committee are:

  • Lisa Barker, director, Professional Learning and Community Education (PLACE), School of Education
  • Jan Botz, president, Friends of PBS Wisconsin
  • Garry Denny, director of programming, PBS Wisconsin
  • Dom Johnson, audience services, WPM director’s office
  • Roger Mukasa, finance manager, PBS Wisconsin
  • Noah Ovshinsky, interim senior content director, WPR
  • Angie Rosas, human resources director, WPM
  • Veronica Rueckert, national media relations manager, Office of the Vice Chancellor for University Relations
  • Cynthia Woodland, senior giving advisor, WPR

The committee encourages applications and nominations. Please send nominations to Malcolm Brett or Skip Hinton with NETA Consulting at Please include “Wisconsin Public Media” in the subject line.

To read a full description of the position, visit the Jobs at UW website. To ensure consideration, applications must be received by April 8.

For questions or comments, contact Carole Kolb, administrative search coordinator, at