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WMFE Hires Judith Smelser as President and General Manager

WMFE Hires Judith Smelser as President and General Manager

February 9, 2022 (ORLANDO) – WMFE and WMFV, the NPR affiliates serving the Orlando area and nine counties across Central Florida, hired longtime public media journalist and consultant Judith Smelser as President and General Manager.

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Judith Smelser[/caption]

Smelser has served as WMFE/WMFV’s interim President and General Manager since September 2021 and has a long history with the station as an award-winning reporter from 2004-2007, and then News Director until 2011, before she was recruited away by Colorado Public Radio in Denver.

“After a nationwide search and interviewing a number of well qualified candidates, we have selected Judith as the person to lead the station on a permanent basis,” said Donna Mackenzie, Chair of WMFE/WMFV’s Board of Trustees. “Judith embodies the qualities and experience we believe will allow the station to reach its full potential, enhancing and building the focus on journalism and service to our community.”

Mackenzie announced Smelser’s permanent position to station staff on February 8, her first official day with the new title.

Smelser returned to Orlando in 2013 to launch her consulting business, Smelser Editing & Consulting, which provided customized consulting, coaching, training, and editing services to more than 30 public media stations, including WMFE, and collaborations with over 200 journalists and station leaders.

“My ambition was never to lead a station,” said Smelser, “but for me, WMFE is not just any station. My career has taken me all over the country and given me a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing public media and journalism; now I get to put that experience to work for an organization and a community I love and consider my home.”

During her time as a journalist at WMFE, Smelser covered Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne in 2004, and the final Space Shuttle missions. She also oversaw the launch of WMFE’s Intersection, now hosted by Matthew Peddie, airing Thursdays at noon and 9 p.m. on 90.7 WMFE and 89.5 WMFV and available at wmfe.org and on all major podcasting platforms.

Smelser says journalism excellence and community connection will be top priorities along with an equitable and inclusive workplace culture.

“Central Florida deserves a top-notch public media news organization that’s 100% committed to making sure trustworthy, independent, nuanced journalism is always available, no matter the ebbs and flows of the broader media industry,” said Smelser. “That’s WMFE’s promise, and I’m honored to lead our talented and passionate team as we strive every day to keep it.”

About Community Communications Inc.:
Community Communications Inc. is a non-profit, member-supported, community-based public broadcasting company that operates 90.7 WMFE-FM, metro Orlando’s primary provider of NPR programming; 90.7-2 Classical; and 89.5 WMFV, public radio for The Villages, Leesburg and The Golden Triangle. Part of the community since 1980, Community Communications focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. Visit wmfe.org and wmfv.org for more information.

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