Wednesday, April 25, 2018


According to Boise State Public Radio (BSPR) GM Tom Michael, having a daily talk and interview program has been on BSPR’s wish list for over a year.   

Michael, who joined BSPR [link] in 2016, has made it happen. Idaho Matters debuted BSPR’s 24/7 news channel on Monday, April 23rd.

Idaho Matters [link] is hosted by Boise journalist Gemma Gaudette. 

The show is on Monday through Friday from Noon to 1:00pm. Gaudette comes from a television news background. She anchored newscasts in Tampa before moving with her family to Boise in 1999 to build a news presence for the local FOX affiliate.

During the first edition of Idaho Matters, Gaudett talked on-air with Tom Michael about the new program.  Michael told her and the listeners:

Tom Michael

"Idaho Matters has a structure similar to NPR’s 1A. The one-hour clock has four twelve-minute segments. The defining characteristic of Idaho Matters is its emphasis on Idaho’s sense of place, local stories that matter."

The program combines in depth interviews and occasional call-ins with field reports from BSPR journalists and the Mountain West News Bureau.  

In a posting on PRPD’s Facebook page, Michael said the inspiration for Idaho Matters include KUT’s Texas Standard, KOPB’s Think Out Loud and tips from WUNC, WILL, WITF, KNPR, KERA and Michael's previous station KRTS, Marfa.


Tanya Ott
As you may have heard, Tanya Ott, GPB’s VP of Radio is hanging up here station management duties to focus on content creation, academic research and teaching at the University of Alabama. 

Few people were surprised that the multi-talented Ott, chose to work with content rather than climbing the corporate ladder.

She has been a creator, an innovator, teacher and team leader wherever she has been.

But now she has come to a fork in the road. She is pursuing the path closest to her heart.

We received the following email from Ott describing this turning point in her life and career: 


I’ve been in public radio for almost 30 years, having started as a volunteer in the University of Florida’s student newsroom, WUFT-FM.  I learned my craft there covering city and county commission, doing live elections coverage, reporting feature stories and eventually hosting Morning Edition.  

After a two-year stint post-college hosting All Things Considered at Colorado Public Radio I returned to WUFT on faculty helping run the newsroom.  

I discovered that I love teaching and I’ve have managed to continue doing it in one capacity or another for the last two decades.  I’ve served as a mentor for AIR, a newsroom trainer for PRNDI and a member of the MEGS team for many years. 

I took the VP job at GPB five years because it offered me the opportunity to learn about the business side of what we do.  It has been an incredible experience.  We launched Atlanta’s first news/talk public radio station, as well as three local talk shows.  Our audience numbers continue to climb and the minority audience numbers are especially encouraging.  Our reporters have filed hundreds of features and spots for national and international programs and we’ve grown our internship program dramatically.  

I have learned so much about the sausage making of programming, promotion, fundraising, deal making, partnership growing and the like — but I miss teaching and I miss content making.  

I know my move may seem unusual from the outside, but when I left my last gig at WBHM and several friends in the business asked if I wanted to be a CEO one day I said “maybe” or “maybe I’ll go back to being a public radio host/reporters again.”  

Would I rule out a C-Suite management job?  Absolutely not.  There’s great reward in doing the work that’s required to help your team make great content.  But for now I’m craving a break from developing policies and signing papers and sitting in meetings.  

I want, rather need, to get back out into the field and start telling stories and doing hands-on teaching of those who tell stories. 

(hope that’s helpful!) 


One of Ott’s most rewarding creations, On Second Thought, GPB’s daily talk and interview program, is being left with a new team of MVP's handpicked by Ott:

Virginia Prescott
The new host of On Second Thought is Virginia Prescott from New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR). Prescott follows Celeste Headlee, who relocated to Washington D.C. to expand her career as a successful speaker and author.

At NHPR, Prescott was host of Word of Mouth, a program that explores emerging and under-reported stories. She also is the creator and host of two popular podcasts: Civics 101 and The 10-Minute Writer’s Workshop, a show for writers share perspectives on their craft and creative process.

According to Ott, Prescott was awarded a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University, ‪where she explored how storytelling could be used in solving community conflicts related to the built environment.

Susan Davis
Susan Davis is the new Executive Producer of On Second Thought.  

Most recently, Davis has been freelance consultant specializing in radio documentary work, podcast development and host training.  

Before becoming an indpendent, Davis was the Senior Supervising Producer for WUNC’s The State of Things. She was also an associate producer for NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

Sara Shahriari

Sara Shahriari has been named as Managing Editor for Georgia Public Broadcasting’s news department. 

Before moving to Atlanta, Shahriari was assistant news director at KBIA-FM in Columbia, Missouri. It is one of the best small-market public media news shops in the country. 

She was also an assistant professor at the highly respected University of Missouri School of Journalism.

All three women are in many ways similar to Ott. Like her, they are no-nonsense journalists that also have entrepreneurial interests. 

All three bring their deep love of storytelling to new media platforms. All three are teachers, at heart. Public media is in good hands with these folks.


There was very little change in the May 2018 Nielsen Audio ratings for Atlanta compared to March 2017.

Both NPR News/Talk stations – giant WABE and upstart GPB’s WRAS – are holding estimated weekly listeners from the 2016 elections.

WRAS is still two stations on one frequency. GPB programs the daytimes while Georgia State University students play their own blend of alternative rock during the nights.

Looking at Atlanta’s entire news/talk radio market, it is doubtful that either public radio station will challenge the venerable WSB for the top news position any time soon. WSB recently added an FM frequency that covers a nice slice of the metro.

Add Cumulus-owned WYAY-FM to the list of right-wing commercial talk stations that have fewer estimated weekly listeners than the local NPR News shop.  We are working on a deeper analysis of this pattern.

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