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New General Manager for Tri States Public Radio

Heather Norman

Heather Norman is currently TSPR's underwriting and outreach coordinator, a position she’s held since 2014. Norman has also been handling development director duties the past couple years.

Beginning August 1, she will step into a new role – that of general manager.

“I really believe in this station. I’ve loved working here for the last seven years. Regardless of the challenges – and they’re not small – I believe in what we do and how we do it,” Norman said.

“There is room for us to grow. We just need to have a plan, be organized, and execute it.”

Norman said she intends to develop a plan for the station with input from staff and listeners.

Another priority is to hire a development director to handle the duties she took on two years ago. She also plans to work on strengthening TSPR’s relationship with Western Illinois University, “…so that they don’t look at us as an outside entity but (as) part of their fabric and (that) we are integral to the community.”

Norman said would like to see more financial support from the university, though she added she recognizes the fiscal challenges currently facing all of higher education.

She also wants to promote alternate ways to listen to TSPR, such as through smart speakers and with regular, reliable on-demand content.

Norman said she would ultimately like to boost the size of the staff to have two employees working in development and three in news.

The station’s search committee chose Norman following a national search.

Position Vacant for Nearly Three Years

The station has been without a permanent general manager since Jonathan Ahl resigned in November 2018, a few months after WIU announced it would zero out TSPR’s fundingand a few months before the university implemented the cut on March 1, 2019.

Jane Carlson, who was Director of the station’s Audio Information Services, then agreed to add GM duties to her responsibilities. Carlson is credited with keeping staff focused on the station’s mission and guiding the station through some of the most challenging fiscal times in TSPR’s history.

She left the station at the end of June, 2019.

Julie Murphy, who served as TSPR’s development director for several years in the 1990s, then came out of retirement to serve as interim GM beginning in November, 2019. Murphy picked up where Carlson left off, and she guided the station through the funding and operational challenges posed by the pandemic.

Murphy stepped down at the end of June, 2021.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.