Susi Elkins, WKAR Public Media General Manager and Director of Broadcasting at Michigan State University, will leave the station to become chief community development officer at Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) in East Lansing.
Elkins, who began her career at WKAR as a student employee and became general manager in 2017, made the announcement April 28 that her last day at WKAR will be Friday, May 27. The senior leadership teams for WKAR and the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at MSU are working to select an interim general manager for the station, to be announced very soon.
“I grew up at WKAR and I’m so grateful to all those who nurtured my professional growth with such care and kindness,” said Elkins in a meeting with WKAR staff on April 28. “What a joy it’s been to work with people who truly love their craft. It shines through in everything you do, delighting our members and making my time here incredibly rewarding.”
In collaboration with MSU, Elkins led the effort to launch the first ATSC 3.0 experimental station licensed to a public media organization and established WKAR’s NextGen Media Innovation Lab to accelerate development of public service applications, including the launch of a NextGen TV Course, through the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) Public Media Learns platform.
“Under Susi’s leadership WKAR has become a model community station with a national reputation for quality programming and innovation,” said Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. “We have made progress on so many fronts with a sense of purpose and a focus on the community. We have accomplished all this under Susi’s watch, guided by her innovative thinking and thoughtful leadership.”
A national search will be conducted to fill the role of general manager and director of broadcasting. WKAR is home to public radio and television for Michigan’s capital region, bringing the best of PBS, PBS KIDS, NPR, classical music, and award-winning original content to more than 500,000 mid-Michigan residents each week.
At MSUFCU, Elkins will work in partnership with local businesses, non-profit organizations, and schools to achieve the mission and strategic goals of the Credit Union through the leadership of the following divisions: Community Development and Financial Education, Campus 2 Career, Marketing and External Communications, serve as President of Ever Green 3C, a Credit Union Service Organization, and serve as the President of the Credit Union foundation, Desk Drawer Fund (DDF).
Under Elkins’ leadership, WKAR established a strategic plan focused on expanding, diversifying, and engaging audiences. Elkins also played a key role in the launch of the statewide educational channel, Michigan Learning Channel; led the launch of a new WKAR News/Talk FM station for the capital region; and strengthened local news coverage with an emphasis on education and public affairs reporting.
During Elkins’ tenure, WKAR has established and fully funded three endowments to support experiential learning opportunities for students, education services, and original content creation, and created WKAR Family, an initiative powered by MSU early childhood education research. Elkins also launched programming initiatives including Curious Crew, Curious About Careers, and WKAR Digital Studios.
Prior to her appointment as WKAR general manager in March 2017, Elkins served in a variety of roles at the station, including interim director, television station manager, content and community engagement manager, public television producer and instructional television multi-media producer. Elkins first worked for WKAR as a student while attending Michigan State University.
Elkins holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication and a master’s degree in educational technology, both from MSU.