LaFontaine Oliver Leaving After Six Years at the Helm
LAFONTAINE OLIVER LEAVING 90.7 WMFE AFTER SIX YEARS AT THE HELM
DURING HIS TENURE AS PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER, OLIVER CHAMPIONED LOCAL NEWS EXPANSION, COMMUNITY OUTREACH & ADDED SISTER STATION
May 7, 2019 – LaFontaine E. Oliver announced Tuesday that he will be leaving Community Communications Inc., which operates 90.7 WMFE and 89.5 WMFV, after six years as president and general manager.
“It has been the pleasure of my career working here, and this was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make,” Oliver told staff on Tuesday. “I love this station and this community.
“It’s not about me – it’s about what we have been able to accomplish together, how we’ve raised the profile of this station locally and nationally and for many years to come.”
Oliver will continue in his position in Orlando for at least the next two months to ensure a smooth transition, before starting his new position as president and general manager of public radio news station WYPR in Baltimore, Maryland, where current President and General Manager Anthony Brandon is retiring after 16 years.
Oliver managed another Baltimore public radio station before starting at WMFE in May 2013. Under his leadership, WMFE has experienced a five-year high in listenership. He says part of the reason for that is the expansion of local news coverage, including adding beat reporters, fostering special investigations and expanding the station’s public affairs show, Intersection. One of his final projects will be to secure funding for another expansion of Intersection.
In 2017, Oliver negotiated the purchase of WMFE’s sister station, 89.5 WMFV, which serves The Villages, Leesburg and the Golden Triangle, as well as the radio tower and surrounding land. The station went on the air in March 2018 as a mix of public radio news and classical music.
During his tenure, Oliver ramped up the station’s community engagement initiatives such as the Dare to Listen branding campaign, Young Friends group to reach younger listeners, and Amplify Central Florida, which awards on-air messages to nonprofit arts organizations.
Under Oliver’s leadership, the station took a leap of faith in instituting a silent fundraising model (short pre-recorded messages between programs), and have since completed five successful “Silent Drives”, with one more likely to go on the books this week. He’s been a big advocate of the station forging roads into the digital space, including through podcasts such as Are We There Yet? and smart speakers. He also personally flew to Puerto Rico with a few staffers after Hurricane Maria to deliver radio equipment to help a fellow public radio station get back on the air.
In addition to his station activities, Oliver served many organizations in the community. Oliver serves as president of the Central Florida Association of Black Journalists (CFABJ), as a director on the Orlando Shakespeare Theater Board, as a member of the Smithsonian Orlando Council and on the Advisory Council of the Peace & Justice Institute at Valencia College. He also is a volunteer mentor in the Valencia College Take Stock in Children program. Statewide, he serves on the board of Florida Public Media (FPM) as vice chair. Nationally, he serves as a member director on the NPR Board.
Community Communications’ Board Chair Anne Kelley thanked Oliver for his great leadership over the last six years.
Community Communications’ Board of Trustees is working with Oliver to define what the nonprofit media company will be looking for in its next leader and to start a nationwide search.
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 since March 2018, 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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