MACOMB—Jane Carlson and Sharon Faust will lead Tri States Public Radio amid Western Illinois University’s decision to cut all state-appropriated funding for the station on March 1 and the resignation of General Manager Jonathan Ahl.
Carlson and Faust will report to Billy Clow, WIU’s Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, who is overseeing the station’s reorganization.
Ahl, General Manager since 2012, resigned this month to take a reporting job with St. Louis Public Radio and Harvest Public Media in Rolla, Missouri. During his tenure, Ahl expanded Tri States Public Radio to broadcast in Galesburg, Illinois, and Burlington, Iowa.
Carlson will serve as TSPR’s business manager during the transition, overseeing the station’s budget and finances, administering its grants, and interfacing with vendors and university officials. She will also lead weekly staff meetings and facilitate cross-training and documentation of procedures as the station prepares for a reduction in staff.
Faust, TSPR’s longtime Development Director, will oversee the station’s external relations, serving as the station’s spokesperson, managing its relationships with external funders and constituents, overseeing the TSPR Friends Advisory Board, and augmenting fundraising efforts in the face of budget cuts.
Carlson has more than 20 years of experience in print media, higher education fundraising, and non-profit management. Since 2011, she has been Director of Tri-States Audio Information Services, which is Tri States Public Radio’s regional radio reading service for the print-impaired.
In that role, Carlson has grown the reading service’s endowment by 50 percent, streamlined operations amid state budget woes, and enhanced opportunities for WIU student broadcasters. She also oversaw a $25,000 upgrade of the reading service’s studio computers and automation software. Carlson will continue to oversee AIS in addition to serving as TSPR’s business manager.
Prior to coming to Western Illinois University and Tri States Public Radio in 1999, Sharon Faust held senior level administrative positions with Sherwood Conservatory of Music, Chicago; the Southeastern Music Center, Columbus, Ga; and the Creative Arts Program, a division of Shenandoah College and Conservatory, Winchester, Va.
“As Director of Development for TSPR, my job for the past 20+ years has been to ensure we raise enough money to provide programming that informs, enlightens, and enriches the public: programs that are educational, innovative, locally relevant, and reflect our common values and cultural diversity that is the world we live in,” Faust said. “Of course, part of providing programming is also providing funding to keep our equipment and facilities running properly and meeting the changing needs of broadcasting. I’m particularly proud that during my tenure with TSPR we were able to raise funds to buildout our new facility in Macomb’s old HyVee store and were able to replace our failing broadcast tower; and after taking on those two huge projects, we were able to rebuild our endowment fund each time.”
“Believing a local public media outlet is essential, we are uniquely positioned to extend a service to our region that reflects and reports not just national and global interest, but information of local interest and necessity,” Faust added. “And as a local entity, we provide service to un- and under-served audiences in ways other media cannot. AIS, for example provides access where other media services services are limited.”
“As we move forward, the leadership team of Faust and Carlson will be in a position to keep the station running smoothly and help lead the development of a strategy that builds on TSPR’s 60+ year history of service to the region,” said Clow. “There will be a several more months of planning and transition, but the station is in good hands.”