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Ashlee Smith Joins WKAR as Senior Director of Content and Education

November 10, 2023

Ashlee Smith has joined WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University as the senior director of content and education. Smith came to WKAR in September 2023, from PBS North in Duluth, Minnesota, where she was director of content.

Ashlee Smith

As senior director, Smith will lead efforts to establish and strengthen partnerships needed for WKAR to thrive across multiple platforms for current and future WKAR audiences, members, and stakeholders. In that position, Smith is charged with developing a diverse portfolio of content designed for WKAR to best serve mid-Michigan and national audiences.

“I am thrilled to bring my experience overseeing content and education in public media to WKAR, a station with high quality programming and long-standing community connections,” said Smith. “I am excited to work with the team here to take our content to the next level, through engaging with the mid-Michigan community to build a robust slate of content and experiences that is illuminating and reflective of the diversity of our region.”

In her role at PBS North, Smith managed the vision, strategic development, and presentation of all content on WDSE and WRPT's digital and broadcast platforms. In May of 2023, Smith was recognized with the Duluth 20 Under 40 Award by the Duluth News Tribune.

Smith also has nearly six years of experience working for PBS, where she served as assistant director of programming. As assistant director, she worked to establish project frameworks and facilitate communication between producers and all internal PBS teams.

“We’re thrilled to have someone as accomplished and driven as Ashlee join the WKAR team,” said Shawn Turner, general manager at WKAR. “With her expansive array of knowledge around PBS programming and her passion for connecting to the community, Ashlee is well prepared to guide our content and education efforts as we build on our century-long tradition of service to our community.”

“Through my career in public media, no matter what work I am doing, everything comes down to community -- being open to listening, understanding, and challenging our own ways of thinking in service of a brighter future,” said Smith. “WKAR serves a community that is new to me and is one that I can't wait to experience. I am honored to now be a part of the outstanding legacy of WKAR and to help that legacy grow.”

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