Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Orlando Radio: Judith Smelser Named WMFE Interim President, GM

Judith Smelser
Longtime public media journalist and consultant Judith Smelser will put her experience and expertise to work exclusively for her local public media station when she becomes Interim President and General Manager of WMFE and WMFV, the NPR affiliates serving much of Central Florida. Previous leader Erika Pulley-Hayes departed the organization August 13 to become President and General Manager of WAMU in Washington, DC.

The Chair of WMFE/WMFV’s Board of Trustees Donna Mackenzie announced Smelser’s selection to station staff on Tuesday; Smelser’s first day will be September 7.

“Judith is a great choice for this role for many reasons,” Mackenzie said, “not the least of which are her experience, her familiarity with, knowledge of, and passion for, the station and public radio, her approach to leadership, her ability to actively listen, and her excitement about and involvement in our community.”

Smelser is the Founder & CEO of Smelser Editing & Consulting, an Orlando-based business that has provided customized consulting, coaching, training, and editing services to more than 30 public media stations and collaborations and over 200 journalists and station leaders since 2013.

She is also no stranger to WMFE. Smelser served the station as News Director until 2011 and as an award-winning reporter from 2004-2007. In 2011, she was recruited by Colorado Public Radio in Denver, where she served as Assistant News Director and later as Managing Editor. She returned to Orlando in 2013 to launch her consulting business and has provided content and strategy consulting for WMFE on multiple occasions.

“Orlando is my home,” Smelser said, “and I consider WMFE my public media home. I care deeply about the future of our city and region and about the future of this station. I love my consulting work, and not much else could have convinced me to step away from it — in fact, I can’t think of anything else. WMFE holds a very special place in my heart.”

“I see incredible potential for WMFE,” Smelser said, “and I feel like my experience with public media organizations across the country has uniquely prepared me to help the station realize it. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to serve and support the organization, its talented staff, and my community.”

WMFE/WMFV’s Board of Trustees will launch a national search for a permanent President and General Manager, for which Smelser intends to be a candidate.

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