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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — New England Public Media (NEPM) promoted Elizabeth Román into the role of managing editor – daily and digital news. Although her title did not dramatically change, her responsibilities have evolved, and she will now take the lead on delivering daily news programming on the radio, NEPM’s website, and social-media channels.

“As a lifelong Springfield resident and Western Massachusetts native, I’m excited to continue working with our skilled news department to bring you even more stories that highlight the needs, concerns, and successes of the people living and working in this community,” she said.

Among those needs, Román is continuing to focus on expanding the diversity of sources in news coverage and opportunities to create more Spanish-language news content. As the daughter of Puerto Rican parents who migrated to Massachusetts more than 40 years ago, she has intended throughout her career as a journalist to provide accurate representation of communities of color in Western Mass. She has felt empowered to do this at NEPM, and in this new role, with the addition of supervisory responsibilities, she looks forward to sharing her expertise with other journalists.

Román is a graduate of Holyoke Community College and UMass Amherst. Prior to working at NEPM, she was a reporter at the Republican for almost two decades, edited El Pueblo Latino, co-founded Colectivo de Medios Latinos, and appeared as a panelist on NEPM’s “The Short List” and “Connecting Point.” She joined NEPM in 2022.

“I can’t believe it’s been almost two years since Elizabeth joined the NEPM news team,” said Sam Hudzik, NEPM news director. “She is a joy to work with and brought with her a high level of regional knowledge, local connections, and journalistic skill that’s helped NEPM fulfill its role as an essential news source for Western Mass. I’m so excited she’s moving into this new position, where she can further put her stamp on stories in NEPM’s newscasts and on our website.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The late Walter Wolnik of Amherst has bequeathed New England Public Media $3 million, the largest gift in NEPM’s history. The transformational gift will support NEPM’s ongoing commitment to presenting classical music on the radio in Western Mass., with a specific focus on access to classical music overnight.

“We are honored by the trust that Walter Wolnik has placed in us with this wonderful gift,” said Matt Abramovitz, president of NEPM. “A gift of this magnitude not only has a significant impact on our organization for many years to come, but truly benefits the entire classical community.”

Wolnik passed away on Sept. 20, 2022 at the age of 76. He was born and raised in Indian Orchard, where he attended a local high school before graduating from Harvard University in 1969. Wolnik then studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a systems programming consultant for labs at several hospitals in the Boston area and spent a significant portion of time researching and managing his investments. He lived in Newton before moving to Amherst in 2000, where he was active in local politics and enjoyed gardening.

He was a longtime listener to NEPM and was especially fond of classical music in the overnight hours. Wolnik never married, but had a strong bond with his nieces, Susan Jongeneel and Cindy Peters, throughout his life.

“He was very smart, he was shy, and he moved carefully around people, but this did not prevent him from being involved in his community,” Jongeneel said. “He was a very good and decent person.”

Added Patrick Carpenter, senior director of Development for NEPM, “to know Mr. Wolnik believed deeply enough in NEPM, our mission, and our people to invest in the organization in the way he did is truly inspiring. We are honored to be a part of his legacy, and we look forward to stewarding the funds and intentions he entrusted to us at the very highest level possible.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — New England Public Media announced that six professionals recently joined the staff.

“What a joy it is to see our team grow,” said Matt Abramovitz, president of New England Public Media. “We’re lucky to welcome a group of such talented and energetic co-workers from across the region, ready to roll up their sleeves and serve all the people of Western Mass. It’s been inspiring to get to know each of them and see their commitment to our mission.”

Vanessa Lima is NEPM’s new senior business manager. She comes to NEPM from the city of Springfield’s Administration and Finance Division, where she was a deputy project director. Prior to that, she worked with the Springfield Police Department, Baystate Health, and Boston Public Schools. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst.

Cathy Zimmerman joins NEPM as accounts payable clerk. She has been an accountant for more than 20 years, serving nonprofit and for-profit organizations, including the United Way of the Franklin and Hampshire Region, Argotec in Greenfield, and the Sisters of Providence Health in Holyoke. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Elms College.

Maria Burke is stepping into the role of senior major gifts officer. An experienced fundraising strategist, she served as director of Development at Springfield Symphony Orchestra for several years. She is also the founder of the WillPower Foundation, a regional nonprofit serving individuals living with disabilities in Western Mass.

Nancy Dieterich is NEPM’s interim director of corporate sponsorship. She has more than 40 years of experience working in public and commercial media, including serving as managing director of Local Corporate Sponsorship at GBH and general manager of Boston’s WCRB. She attended the College of Liberal Arts at Pennsylvania State University at McKeesport.

Jonthany Rivera and Jill McNally join NEPM as multimedia account executives. Rivera is a recent graduate from Westfield State University with a degree in communications focusing on journalism. McNally joins NEPM after spending 30 years in the broadcast industry in various roles. Most recently, she worked for Saga Communications for WRSI/WHMP, Rock 102, and other radio stations in marketing and sales. Before that, she worked at Connecticut stations WTIC and WTRC as an account executive.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — New England Public Media has hired local radio personality Monte Belmonte as host and executive producer of a new radio show and podcast celebrating life in Western Mass. Belmonte comes to New England Public Media (NEPM) from 93.9 the River/WRSI, where he’s hosted the popular “Mornings with Monte” since 2006. The new show and podcast will launch later this winter.

“When you listen to Monte Belmonte, you hear not only a great host with a devotion to his craft, but also a person who is committed to building and bolstering his community,” said NEPM President Matt Abramovitz, who came to NEPM in February 2022. “Sharing the unique voices and stories of our region and using the airwaves for the common good is what public media is all about. We are excited to have Monte bring his enthusiasm and love of Western Massachusetts to NEPM each day.”

Belmonte will be joined by Kaliis Smith, who also comes to NEPM from the River, where she hosted weekday evenings and was a regular guest on “Mornings with Monte.” Smith will be the show’s digital producer and will join Belmonte on air. Belmonte plans to bring some of his regular guests and popular segments to the live, daily program, along with new segments and opportunity for regular audience call-ins. The show will be available as a podcast and on YouTube. Belmonte will also have a presence at NEPM events and other station initiatives.

“I’ve been a huge fan of New England Public Media since I moved west of Worcester 20 years ago,” Belmonte said. “The station’s trusted reputation and broad reach was a big draw for me, as was the opportunity to work alongside people I’ve known and admired for years. I’m excited to get to work building a new show that’s all about celebrating what’s good about living here, meeting interesting neighbors and being a better community because of it.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — With extensive experience in resource development at Holyoke Community College, Boston College, Elms College, and Westfield State University, Patrick Carpenter is joining New England Public Media (NEPM) as senior director of Development.

Most recently, he served as director in Institutional Advancement at HCC, where, under his leadership, annual giving increased dramatically, new-donor participation grew substantially, and a multi-year capital campaign was designed. Carpenter was the first Major Gifts officer at Westfield State University and increased private support of endowed funds through his major and planned giving work.

He is a sponsor liaison for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education District 1, president of the Southampton Youth Athletic Assoc. board of directors, and has served as president of the Elms College Alumni Assoc.

Carpenter holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Elms College and a master’s degree in higher education administration from Bay Path University. He currently teaches sociology at Elms College as a member of its adjunct faculty.

“I am thrilled to be joining New England Public Media as the new senior director of Development. I am impressed by the work of the development team at NEPM, as well as the leadership of President Matt Abramovitz,” Carpenter said. “NEPM’s goals are quite impressive, and I look forward to working with the development team, Matt, the NEPM board, and others from within the organization to help bring the vision for the organization to fruition.”

Abramovitz added that “we’re all looking forward to working with Patrick. He has had tremendous success as a fundraiser, even during the pandemic, because he has a knack for building relationships and rallying people to a cause. He’s a creative, passionate team builder who is as dedicated to public media as he is to our region.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Elizabeth Román will New England Public Media’s newsroom as managing editor for news after reporting for nearly two decades at the Republican. In recent years, she has also edited El Pueblo Latino, co-founded Colectivo de Medios Latinos, and appeared as a panelist on NEPM’s “The Short List” and “Connecting Point.” In her role at NEPM, she will edit daily news stories, work to expand the diversity of sources in news coverage, and explore ways to create more Spanish-language news content.

“I am thrilled to welcome Liz to the newsroom,” said Sam Hudzik, NEPM news director. “She is a consummate professional with almost two decades of experience covering the stories of our region.”

Elizabeth is a lifelong resident of Springfield and the daughter of Puerto Rican parents who migrated to Massachusetts from the island more than 40 years ago. She is a graduate of Holyoke Community College and UMass Amherst. Throughout her career as a print journalist, it has been her objective to provide accurate representation of communities of color in Western Mass., and she is excited to continue that work at NEPM. She will join New England Public Media on Monday, March 14.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — New England Public Media has named Deepa Krishna director of Finance and Accounting. Krishna will oversee the nonprofit media organization’s $10 million budget, working directly with internal departments as well as community funders and grantors.

“Deepa brings a wealth of experience in nonprofit accounting and grants management,” said Susan Fentin, chair of NEPM’s board of directors. “We are looking forward to having her share her expertise with us as we move forward under the leadership of our new president.”

A licensed certified public accountant, Krishna joins NEPM from the Connecticut Airport Authority in Windsor Locks, where she served as the accounting manager for Bradley International Airport and five general aviation airports, overseeing annual budgets and managing federal and state grants for the nonprofit organization. Prior to that, she was the finance manager for Bristol Hospital and Healthcare Group.

She received her master’s degree in commerce and accounting from Madurai Kamaraj University, India, and her bachelor’s degree in commerce and accounting from Mahatma Gandhi University, India.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Following a rigorous national search, the New England Public Media (NEPM) board of directors selected Matt Abramovitz as the new president of NEPM, starting Feb. 1.

Abramovitz joins NEPM from New York Public Radio, where he is currently serving as vice president of Programming for WQXR, one of the nation’s leading classical-music stations. During his tenure, he developed new digital content, diversified programming, and established innovative partnerships, including a collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera that produced the critically acclaimed podcast “Aria Code.”

“Matt impressed us with his outstanding leadership qualities and his passion for public-service media,” said Bob Feldman, chair of the search committee, and Susan Fentin, chair of the NEPM board of directors, in a statement. “He is committed to the mission and goals of public media and the role that it plays in creating and supporting a strong, vibrant local community. We could not be more excited to have him lead our next chapter as a vital public-media organization.”

Abramovitz is a graduate of Wesleyan University and received his master’s degree from Cornell University.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — After a career spanning more than three decades in public broadcasting, Martin Miller is stepping down from his position as president of New England Public Media (NEPM). He will continue in his role until a successor is named, and then will move into a senior counsel role focused on new fundraising efforts for NEPM’s music endowment, journalism, and engagement priorities.

Miller led WFCR radio for more than two decades, expanding it into the 13-station New England Public Radio network and relocating its main broadcast facility from the UMass Amherst campus to state-of-the-art studios in Springfield. The Five College Studios, rebuilt in 2016, remain at UMass in Hampshire House.

In 2019, Miller became president of NEPM after helping to orchestrate an alliance with public-television station WGBY to create New England Public Media, thus expanding journalism, community-engagement, cultural, and educational programs through multi-platform services. The successful merger of NEPR with WGBY brought together the resources of public radio and TV, creating a robust public-media organization positioned to continue its public-service mission well into the future.

“Martin leaves an outstanding legacy of service to public media in Western New England,” said Robert Feldman, NEPM board chair. “From his dedicated leadership at WFCR to his vision for uniting with WGBY TV, he has led with principle, insight, and wisdom, building and strengthening public media on behalf of audiences and communities across our region.”

Miller began his public-media career in 1979 at WNYC Radio in New York and continued it at WGBH Radio in Boston beginning in 1985. He served in a variety of capacities, completing his career there as program director. During his tenure, he was instrumental in helping launch The World, the first international news program for an American audience. He also produced award-winning programming including “Oy Chanukah! with the Klezmer Conservatory Band.”

In 1995, he joined WFCR in Amherst as general manager. During his nearly 26 years leading WFCR, NEPR, and now NEPM, he helped raise more than $11 million for capital improvements and new programming, developed NEPR’s Media Lab, was responsible for significant revenue and audience growth for radio, increased investments in journalism, developed a diverse board of directors and created a new community advisory board for NEPM, and, most recently, oversaw the launch of NEPM’s new local radio program And Another Thing.

“UMass Amherst, the Five College Consortium, and NEPM have provided me with the wonderful opportunity to be part of a talented group of people involved in the important work of education, civic leadership, and joyful engagement for the residents of Western New England,” Miller said. “I am very fortunate that my career has allowed me to focus in areas I cherish — journalism, education, and music — and it has afforded me the honor and privilege to work with wonderful colleagues, volunteers, members of our community, and supporters for almost four decades. Together, for our region, we have built a public-media organization that will continue to serve our communities for many years to come.”