Monday, December 14, 2015


I don’t often get a chance to talk about the state where I was born and raised: South Dakota.  I left there in the mid-1980s but I still have many friends and business associates in the state. Most people don’t know much about “SoDak” but it is in many ways a wonderful place.  But, it is not for everyone.

Last week on PubRadio there was a post regarding a job opening at South Dakota Public Broadcasting: Director of Radio. I’d to see someone who is a good match get the gig. Scroll down to see the job description and contact info.
Neuharth Media Center

SD Public Broadcasting (SDPB) [link] is the only statewide media service and thus plays a central role in the state. Martin Busch, a pubmedia pioneer, wisely built the public radio and PBS TV networks in the 1970s and 1980s. SDPB is a joint licensee with 11 radio and 9 television stations, aggressive internet presence and a mission to serve the entire state. Both radio and TV originate from the Al Neuharth Media Center on the campus of the University of South Dakota (USD) located in Vermillion.

SDPB Radio has new state-of-the-art studios and offices on the campus of the University of Sioux Falls, the state’s largest city (metro area: 250,000 and growing.) Radio programming frequently originates from Sioux Falls.  

In Sioux Falls, SD Public Radio competes with repeaters of Minnesota Public Radio news and classical music networks. SD Public Radio has a diverse schedule of NPR News, classical, jazz and Triple A music. It excels in local programming including its daily talk show Dakota Midday [link].

Joe Tlustos

Many people in public radio know Joe Tlustos.  Joe retired as Director of Radio in October after over eight years. Joe is a solid radio pro and has the radio network sounding excellent. Other folks you might know from SD Public Radio include Greg Schnirring, VP at CPB and Paul Guggenheimer, host of the talk/interview program Essential Pittsburgh at WESA. Guggenheimer was the host of Dakota Midday.


Like I said, the job and life is a rural state is not for everyone. SDPB is licensed to the State of South Dakota. The state provides substantial funding for SDPB. State funding has been a political issue in the past but SDPB has avoided the draconian cuts seen in other states. SDPB has had wise, politically neutral leadership and even its most severe critics want it to continue.

As you probably know, South Dakota is a very “red” state with exceptions like former Senators George McGovern and James Abourezk and former Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Voters tend to be pragmatic. There is a strong “we are all in this together” vibe.  One of things I liked about living in South Dakota is that a person gets to know the movers and shakers on a first name basis. I still get holiday cards from Senator John Thune and former Governor Bill Janklow was a friend of mine, though I disagreed with many of his policies.

Culturally SoDak is sometimes challenging.  A friend of mine in Sioux Falls told me once that the most frequent question asked of newbies is “What church do you attend?” People in SoDak are tolerant and band together when challenged by the variable weather and outsiders with agendas.

The Black Hills, where SDPB has a strong presence, is a magical, spiritual place. Sioux Falls, my hometown, is an economic boomtown.  Citibank and Sanford Health have brought thousands of jobs to the city. South Dakota is a place where people have life-long friends.

Public media is loved, appreciated and supported because it brings people together. A person can make a difference in South Dakota. The open Director of Radio gig likely doesn’t pay big bucks but it is truly a public service. If the mission of public radio is important to you, consider applying to become SDPB’s Director of Radio.


From: Hanson, Susan (SDPB)﴿
Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2015 10:31 AM To: ''
Subject: Director of Radio opportunity
Hello – the Radio division of South Dakota Public Broadcasting is searching for a new Director. There’s an extremely strong work ethic, independent spirit and quality of life here that might surprise you...! Job description and application link are below. If you are interested and have specific questions, please reply to me and I will put you in touch with our Content Director/Assistant Executive Director.
SDPB Radio is a Statewide Network providing a full-service format airing NPR, APM, PRI, PRX and local programs. SDPB Radio is recognized for excellence in news and public affairs and as a strong broadcast partner to the local music community and cultural institutions. The Director of Radio is a member of the SDPB Management Team; reports regularly to the Assistant Executive Director, meets and collaborates with other division heads to establish short and long-term goals for the organization; provides direction and oversight of departmental work, and participates in radio programming, and develops policies and procedures for SDPB Radio.
A successful candidate will have a proven track record of leadership and staff development; broad knowledge of the broadcast industry, industry trends, and emerging media. Experience in on-air broadcasting; broadcasting supervision and management; knowledge or experience in public broadcasting. Ability to effectively communicate the goals and vision of the department to organizational boards, state and community leaders, partner organizations and potential funders.
For more information and to apply for this position, visit and search the Job ID, 5478.

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