AIR Names New Executive Director

P R E S S  R E L E A S E

   DATE:  August 27, 2007    Contact:  Sid Selvidge, 901-527-4666

AIR Names New Executive Director

Sue Schardt steps up on September 1, names advisors


Boston:  Sid Selvidge, President of Board of the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR) today named Boston-based radio veteran and AIR Board member Sue Schardt as the organization’s new Executive Director.  Outgoing Executive Director Dolores Brandon leaves the post after eight years of an unprecedented 140% increase in membership, the establishment of a mentor program, expansion of internet-based services, and instituting professional development seminars across the country.  AIR, incubated 19 years ago by station-based and independent producers in New York City, has grown to be the largest professional organization in public radio with 600 members representing virtually every corner of public radio’s program-making community. Organizational headquarters will relocate from New York City to Boston.

Schardt brings nearly 20 years of experience in commercial, college/volunteer, international, and public radio.  She launched her independent business, SchardtMEDIA Strategies in 1998 to focus on idea-driven media projects.  As its principle, Schardt leads collaborative teams of producers, stations, funders, researchers, and marketers and has contributed to or launched dozens of industry initiatives, including From the Top, World Radio Network from NPR, Public Interactive, Weekend America, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, and The World.  Current clients include Native Voice One, SoundVision Productions/The DNA Files and the Poetry Foundation. SchardtMEDIA’s report on a 2006 benchmark study, Opportunities for Innovation: Mapping Public Radio’s Independent Landscape, provides new insight into public radio’s program making culture and the dynamic shifts of supply and demand.
“Our mandate was to bring in a leader who would forge collaborative partnerships for AIR, and explore new opportunities for producers,” said Selvidge.  “I speak for the entire board when I say we could not be more pleased to have Sue accept our offer to lead the organization at this exciting time in our history.”

Schardt has invited a group of industry leaders to serve as advisors to her and in support of AIR's membership, Board of Directors, and new initiatives.  Members include Dean Cappello, WNYC’s Chief Creative Officer; Terry Clifford, Co-CEO of the Station Resource Group; Dana Davis Rehm, NPR’s Senior VP Strategy & Partnerships; David Isay, President of Sound Portraits Productions; Tom Kigin, MPR’s Senior VP; Torey Malatia, GM at Chicago Public Radio; Ruth Seymour, GM at KCRW; Joanne Wallace, GM at KQED; and Melinda Ward, PRI’s Senior VP of Content.

AIR, established in 1988, supports and advances its membership of 600 audio professionals, raising visibility and extending the impact of producers whose work enhances life and American culture in a 21st-century world.  AIR counts members from six countries representing more than 300 radio programs, podcasts, and blogs.  AIR members are a driving force in the industry, working in broad capacity in virtually every corner of the business, from sole proprietors, to station-based reporters, to the heads of independent production companies and radio stations – large and small – marketers, authors, editors, poets, and archivists. AIR’s on-line home is a rich repository of services, directories, and new membership information. Funding for AIR is provided by its members, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, NYSCA, and the NEA.

AIR Board of Directors:  President Sid Selvidge, Beale Street Caravan; VP Tony Dec, Bloomberg; Secretary Robynn Takayama, independent producer; Treasurer; Joan Rabinowitz, Jack Straw Productions; David Freedman, WWOZ; Karen Lewellen, G.A.F. Entertainment; Matthew Payne; Barry Rueger,; Jim Russell, The Program Doctor; and Jake Shapiro, PRX.   

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