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Changes at KZYX

Membership Director Renee Wilson

Membership Director Renee Wilson announced her resignation in September, effective at the end of this month. Renee led KZYX through four years of growing membership contributions, planning and executing the station’s on-air drives and end-of-year campaigns. Her gracious responses to members — the e-newsletters she coordinated and edited, the phone queries she answered, the T-shirts she sent — endeared her to many. She also took on tasks for the Building Fund campaign, working with Board Treasurer Kate Stornetta to document and thank donors.

Renee led the Building Fund Drive in the Spring of 2022, raising $160,000 in ten days -- a record for the station.

Renee has also been a thoughtful steward of the land KZYX has occupied since 1989, and organized a group of volunteers to help ensure that the site was fire-safe. She participated in the station’s on-air fire and emergency response as well.

Her dog Shadow, beloved by all, accompanied her to work every day.

Sarah Shankman (Shanx) will take on the position of Membership Director as Renee moves on from her duties at the station. KZYX is lucky that this handoff is happening in person, that Renee is available to train her successor, and that Shanx is excited to be a part of the station.

Renee will still be heard as the host of Trading Time, every Saturday at 11am, as well as her music program, Canopy, every 5th Saturday from 1-3pm.

News Director Victor Palomino

News Director Victor Palomino resigned early this month, after six months as the station’s first bilingual news director. Victor took advantage of an opportunity to work with Radio Bilingue, the legendary community radio network in California that produces the first – and only – daily national Spanish-language news in public broadcasting. Victor will head to Fresno to provide local news for the central valley.

While at KZYX, Victor worked to diversify local news; he produced news reports, both in English and Spanish; and regularly covered local agencies and groups such as immigration services and Vecinos en Accion (UVA). He formed a partnership with the Spanish language newspaper Al Punto and regularly interviewed Ukiah City Councilman Juan Orozco. He conducted outreach to the Latino community; made many connections; and left a template for others to follow.

He also originated and produced Art Waves, an hour of reports about Mendocino County artists.

Staff reporter Sarah Reith is filling in as interim news director. Mendo Latino host Loreto Rojas will coordinate emergency response in Spanish, a task she undertook before Victor’s arrival.

Program Director Alicia Bales

Alicia Bales, who served as the station’s program director starting in June 2019, was asked by general manager Marty Durlin to leave the station on January 10th.

“When I came to Mendocino County in 2019, one of my first tasks was to find a Program Director, and I recruited and hired Alicia Bales, whom I knew from her past community radio activities,” said Durlin. “She was a skilled and highly qualified candidate, she knew Mendocino County, and she seemed a perfect fit.”

Durlin said Bales’ accomplishments at KZYX included her commitment to the accuracy and timeliness of emergency response in both Spanish and English; recruitment and training of underheard Mendocino County voices; call-in programs with physician Drew Colfax during the pandemic; recruitment of young interns; and connections with volunteer hosts and community members.

Durlin said the dismissal is a confidential personnel matter, that the decision was difficult but she felt it was necessary.

“Marty had our support in this decision, which as General Manager was hers to make,” said KZYX Board President Dina Polkinghorne, who appeared on the January 16th Discussion program with Durlin to respond to input from callers concerned about the firing.

For the time being, some of Bales’ duties are being undertaken by operations director Rich Culbertson and production director Eddie Haehl; others by interim program coordinator Jamie Roberts, a longtime KZYX host (Radiogram, Wednesdays 8-10 pm).

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