Category Archives: MAPB

Elkins Elected to America’s Public Television Stations Board

Susi Elkins

By: Julie Sochay, WKAR Public Media

Susi Elkins, director of broadcasting and general manager of WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University, has been elected to the board of directors of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS). The announcement was made on February 7. Her three-year term begins Monday, February 25, 2019.

APTS is a nonprofit membership organization that works to ensure a strong and financially sound public television system and help member stations provide essential public services in education, public safety and civic leadership to the American people.

“It is an honor to be elected by my public television peers as a new trustee of the APTS board,” said Elkins. “I’m thrilled to serve an organization dedicated to helping member stations provide essential public services in communities across the country.”

Under Elkins’ leadership, WKAR has solidified its reputation as a community institution through strategic partnerships and collaborations, and significantly increased its commitment to early childhood education. University partnerships at Michigan State have increased the station’s capacity for providing award-winning research-based content, as well as experiential learning opportunities for students.

In collaboration with MSU, Elkins led the effort to launch the first ATSC 3.0 experimental station licensed to a public media organization. Granted the FCC experimental license in June 2018, the test station is designed to explore the potential of NextGen TV to build stronger communities through education, news and information, arts, science and culture. Prior to her appointment in March 2017, Elkins served in a variety of roles at the station, including Interim Director, Television Station Manager, Content and Community Engagement Manager, public television Producer and instructional television multi-media Producer.

Elkins holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication and a master’s degree in educational technology, both from MSU.

Elkins joins other newly-elected trustees: Carolyn Edwards, Lay Trustee, Vegas PBS in Las Vegas, Nevada; Franz Joachim, General Manager & CEO of New Mexico PBS; Garrett T. King, III, Board Chair of Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA); Vickie Lawson, President & CEO of East Tennessee PBS in Knoxville, Tennessee; and David Steward II, Board Chair of Nine Network of Public Media in St. Louis, Missouri. Newly elected as an at-large trustee to the APTS board is Larry D. Unger, President & Chief Executive Officer of Maryland Public Television.

Visit for a full list of new board members and leaders.

WKAR’S Curious Crew Begins Season 5!

Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney / WKAR-MSU

WKAR Public Media (East Lansing) has announced that the 5th season of Curious Crew debuted this past Monday, February 4.  The Emmy Award-winning science show, produced by the station, is seen on public television stations nationwide.

Dr. Rob Stephenson and his crew of inquisitive kids continue to take a hands-on approach to scientific exploration. Join them as they investigate electromagnetism, bioplastics, soccer science and more!

The new season includes 10 new episodes, each featuring a Curious About Career with Curious Crew cast member Janellyn and Genesis. In these segments, fans can look forward to learning about careers with female professionals working in a wide variety of STEM-related fields.

Each Curious Crew episode in the series also includes a set of Curiosity Guides, a step-by-step guide that kids, parents and educators can use to do their own investigations at home or school.

Steven Karl Meuché: 1944-2019

Steven Meuché in 2003

The MAB has learned that former WKAR Director of Broadcasting Steven Meuché, passed away January 23 at age 74.

He received both a B.A. and M.A. in telecommunications from Michigan State University. He spent his career, beginning in 1965, at MSU, where he eventually became the general manager of WKAR radio stations and director of Broadcasting Services. He was a member of the board of directors of National Public Radio and the president of the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters among other distinguished positions in radio and television communications.

He retired in 2004.

Undated file photo from the MAB archive

Susi Elkins, the station’s current director of broadcasting and GM, described Meuché as a “champion of WKAR’s education efforts,” specifically through his role in launching Ready to Learn on WKAR-TV in 1996. The federally funded initiative expanded public TV’s involvement in preschool education through programming and local outreach programs. Meuche remained “committed to that work” even after the U.S. Department of Education program reduced its funding to local station projects.

“WKAR is the community institution it is today because of Steve’s leadership, innovative spirit and business acumen,” Elkins said. “He was skilled at spotting and encouraging potential in employees, and many of us attribute his time and attention to the positive development of our careers.”

He is survived by his wife Susan Meuché, his two sons Matthew (Grace) and Patrick (Natalie) Meuché, his brother Robert (Kim) Meuché, his grandchildren Alexis (fiancé Nicholas Goodman), Peyton, Melanie and Abigail Meuché.

No formal service has been planned because Meuché “was a man who preferred to celebrate life,” according to an obituary. The family requests memorial donations to the Greater Lansing Food Bank’s Garden Project.

WKAR & WGVU Win 2018 NETA Awards

Group photo of all winners at the 2018 NETA Awards ceremony

Public media’s achievements in instructional media, community engagement, promotion and general audience content were honored this past Monday night, January 21 in Salt Lake City at the National Educational Telecommunications Assocation (NETA) Awards presentation.  Two Michigan public television stations were recipients of awards.

WKAR Public Media (East Lansing) was recognized in the category Community Engagement Based on a Local Initiative. The award was for the Playtime Pad Research Project.  The Playtime Pad Research Project investigates the effectiveness of tablet-based learning initiatives in early childhood math literacy, while providing access to the latest digital learning tools for students, teachers and parents.

WGVU Public Media (Grand Rapids) received honors in the Performance category for the program Hope College Christmas Vespers.  The program is a celebration of the true spirit of Christmas and features some of the most beautiful choral and instrumental music of the season.  The program is produced by WGVU and is seen on public television stations nationwide.

The gala evening was the opening event for the 2019 NETA
Conference and CPB Public Media Thought Leaders Forum.

“Every one of us working in public media today can be proud of the NETA Award winners,” said NETA president Eric Hyyppa. “When you look at the achievements that these projects represent, making our services relevant and valuable to our communities, you can’t help but be inspired for the future.”

The NETA Awards are an annual recognition of public broadcasting’s finest work, a tradition established in the 1960s by NETA’s precursor, the pioneering Southern Educational Communications Association.


WKAR to Host PBS Kids Day January 26

WKAR Public Media will be hosting “PBS Kids Day” on Saturday, January 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The event is free for viewers and their families and will feature hands-on activities for kids, resources for parents and a visit from Super WHY!

The event will also celebrate the 5th birthday of Curious Crew, a program produced by WKAR where inquisitive kids take a hands-on approach to investigating principles of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with Emmy award-winner Dr. Rob Stephenson.

Families will also get to experience a live Curious Crew demonstration with Dr. Rob, as well as opportunities to participate in investigations.

The event hosts over twenty community partners and activity tables.

Michigan Radio’s ‘Believed’ Podcast Named Best Coverage of a News Story by The A.V. Club

Via Steve Chrypinski, Michigan Radio

The A.V. Club has named the “Believed” podcast from Michigan Radio and NPR as the “Best Coverage of a News Story” podcast on its annual “Podmass Superlatives” list, 2018. The entertainment webzine gives this nod to the investigative reporting podcast just as the series wraps up with its Epilogue episode, “No Pretty Bows,” to be released this week.

Each year, The A.V. Club puts out their recommendations of the must-listen podcasts of the year, hand-picked by media junkies out of hundreds of new releases and individual episodes of the ever-growing medium.

An episode highlighted in the “Podmass” pick is, Believed’s Episode 6: “The Parents.” In this installment, reporters Kate Wells and Lindsey Smith talk to the parents of girls and women who were sexually assaulted by former-USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and answer the question, how did this even happen?

The A.V. Club describes the Michigan Radio reporters’ work as “unflinching” and applauds their examination of the question of believing women in the era of the #MeToo movement. The webzine’s staff proclaim, “Believed is a gutting listen but, by working from that seemingly simple presumption of believing women, is also the best, and maybe most important, news coverage of 2018.”

See this and the rest of their 2018 Superlatives list at The A.V. Club’s website.

You can subscribe to Believed on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, NPR One, Pocket Casts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also listen at


WDET Receives $76,000 to Continue the Detroit Documenters Project

WDET-FM (Detroit) has announced that it has received a $76,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan in partnership with City Bureau and Citizen Detroit to expand the Detroit Documenters pilot, a citizen and local media partnership that aims to increase awareness and coverage of Detroit’s public meetings.

In addition to WDET’s Documenters pilot nine journalism projects, representing collaborations of 18 Southeast Michigan organizations, will receive a share of $333,952 from the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund. The Fund seeks to address civic concerns by supporting innovative approaches to local reporting and community engagement.

Led by a range of journalism organizations and community nonprofits, the projects focus on highlighting the stories of Detroit residents from all backgrounds, while creating more options for them to shape the local information landscape. They range from a race and justice reporting initiative that highlights issues affecting communities of color to workshops that advance citizen journalism. They all work to promote a better future for Detroit driven by and in partnership with residents, expanding the capacity and impact of those working to create positive change.

Thomas Robert Kinney: 1961-2018

Thomas Kinney

The MAB was sad to learn that on December 1, WKAR Public Media Telecommunications Engineer Tom Kinney passed away at age 57.  Kinney was a 25-year veteran of the station.

Kinney graduated from East Lansing High School in 1979 and proudly served seven years in the U.S. Navy as an Interior Communications Electrician from 1982 to 1989.

In a Facebook post, the station notes that “Tom was a dedicated employee with passion for his work and a good friend to so many.”

Tom is survived by his wife, Kristin; stepchildren, Ted and Emma McGinn; father, John “Jack;” and siblings, Kathy Lorenz, Kevin (Patty), Tim (Debbie), Nancy (Mark) Twichell, Jane (Patrick) Huber, and John. Tom was preceded in death by his mother, Jill (2018).

Kinney’s life will be celebrated with a Memorial Mass at St. John Catholic Church and Student Center, 327 MAC, East Lansing, on Monday, January 14 at 1:30 pm.

WKAR Welcomes Abigail Censky to Reporting Team

Abigail Censky

WKAR Public Media (East Lansing) has announced that it is expanding its political and government reporting in mid-Michigan with the addition of Abigail Censky.

Censky joins the station from St. Louis Public Radio where she served as news intern and worked heavily with the politics team covering the 2018 midterms and the primary races there.  Prior to that she worked for the Gazette in Colorado Springs, covering Colorado politics.

She was also a Washington Desk Intern at NPR, attended George Washington University and has a Bachelor’s Degree from Colorado College.

Warm Hearts, Warm Homes Returns to WCMU

WCMU Public Radio has launched its fifth annual Warm Hearts, Warm Homes campaign to fuel home-heating assistance across central and northern Michigan.

An important collaboration continues with Consumers Energy, Isabella Bank and WCMU Public Radio listeners. Through this season of giving, WCMU listeners will support their community two-fold with access to quality public radio programming, while triggering home-heating assistance through the matching funds from Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank. Matching funds will be distributed back to the listener’s community through their local Michigan Community Action agency.

“As winter weather settles in across Michigan, the generosity and compassion of WCMU Public Radio listeners, combined with the financial support of Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank, will allow us to address a critical need facing the people living in the communities we serve,” said Ken Kolbe, general manager of WCMU Public Media.

“It’s sobering to think of having to choose between turning up the thermostat, and paying a car or medical bill. Any one of us could find ourselves in need of assistance through a series of unfortunate events. WCMU listeners should be proud to know that decision has been eased for thousands of families through the first four years of Warm Hearts, Warm Homes,” Rick Westover, radio director for WCMU Public Media, said.

Giving Tuesday (12/3) made for a great kickoff to the with over $25,000 in listener donations to WCMU Public Radio, matched by Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank that day. Matching funds make their way back to those in need of heating assistance through the Michigan Community Action agency. Nearly $40,000 in matching funds remain.

“Michigan Community Action deeply appreciates the commitment by Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank to help families and seniors stay safe and warm in their homes this winter,” Kate White, Michigan Community Action’s executive director, said. “The Warm Hearts, Warm Homes Campaign has been a wonderful and effective community collaboration.”

Warm Hearts, Warm Homes has provided over $200,000 in matching funds to assist with winter heating bills in its first four years, and is on track this year to crest a quarter of a million dollars in matching support for some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. WCMU Public Radio received the 2017 Community Service Award from MCA for the December 2016 campaign.

For more information, see the station’s Warm Hearts, Warm Homes webpage here.