Elkins Named Interim Director of Broadcasting at WKAR

susi-elkins_300Susi Elkins has named Interim Director of Broadcasting and General Manager of WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University.

As WKAR-TV Station Manager, Elkins has overseen all programming, including original content production and partnerships for the station’s three broadcast channels and digital platforms.

“This is a critical time for WKAR,” said David. “With her leadership experience at the station and community engagement expertise, Susi Elkins is the right person to keep the momentum going as we move forward into what really is a new era of broadcasting for MSU and the state of Michigan.”

Prior to her appointment as TV station manager, Elkins served as Content and Community Engagement manager for WKAR, where she oversaw the convergence of media and programming in TV and Radio and the ongoing growth of original content across platforms. Under her direction, WKAR increased capacity for providing experiential learning opportunities for MSU students, offering one of the highest number of student paid positions available on campus. Elkins also increased WKAR’s commitment to early childhood education and solidified its reputation as a community institution through strategic partnerships and collaborations.

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

Elkins succeeds Gary Reid, who is stepping down from his position as Director of Broadcasting and General Manager.  Reid has headed the stations since July, 2011.  A hall-of-fame broadcaster and University Distinguished Senior Specialist, Reid will pursue new opportunities in the college, and will continue to consult with WKAR leadership through the transition ahead.

Gary Reid was named director of Broadcasting in July of 2011, as the WKAR stations were brought into the College of Communication Arts & Sciences.

In the nearly five years since, Reid’s accomplishments include:

The launch of award-winning radio and television programs such as Current State, Current Sports, Curious Crew, Forte, Beneath The Pines and a variety of specials, even as the operating budget was trimmed by a third.

A record number of awards for the stations, including two national television awards for Curious Crew and the coveted Marconi Award for Noncommercial Radio Station of the Year from the National Association of Broadcasters.

Five consecutive Public TV Station of the Year Awards from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, the most recent announced this past May at the Great Lakes Broadcast Conference.

Reid’s initiative also led to recent FCC approval for the acquisition of a new FM Translator license, which will expand the WKAR-AM programming to the FM band with a 24-hour programming schedule.

Reid began teaching in the Department of Telecommunication in 1976 and joined the faculty full-time in 1977. Teaching all the audio and video courses at the time, he also designed and built the departments two television and six audio studios. In addition, he served for 25 years as the internship director and 8 years as the director of Undergraduate Studies.

No stranger to broadcasting, Reid was the general manager for WDBM-FM, MSU’s student radio station, better known as The Impact. He put that station on the air in 1989 and led it for 25 years. During his tenure the station was named College State of the Year for eleven consecutive years. He was one of the founding members of the MAB Foundation, and is currently the Vice President of the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters.

In 1999 Reid received the Distinguished Senior Specialist award from MSU and in 2007 he was honored with the inaugural Faculty Impact Award from the college. That same year he was inducted into the Michigan Broadcast Hall of Fame and in 2011 was the youngest person to receive the MAB’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Reid will pursue new opportunities in the college, and will continue to consult with WKAR leadership through the transition ahead.

It was reported that a nationwide search for a permanent director is expected to take up to a year.  Elkins has been Station Manager of the TV station since 2012.

On January 11, the university announced that it will not participate in an FCC auction of television broadcast spectrum.  MSU also has formed a new partnership with Detroit Public Television to coordinate community outreach between WKAR and Detroit’s WTVS.

Elkins began her new position on May 15.

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