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WKAR’s Melanie McGuire Graduates from Public Media Diversity Fellowship Program

January 5, 2024

Melanie McGuire

Melanie McGuire of WKAR Public Media (East Lansing) is one of 30 distinguished public media leaders from across the country to graduate from the Public Media Diversity Leaders Initiative (PMDLI).

As public media leaders navigate how to best foster diversity and equity in their workplaces and boards while making content inclusive for a wide array of audiences, this program is providing them with tools and perspectives that they can apply in their efforts.

McGuire was a part of the fourth class to graduate from the PMDLI, a program of the Riley Institute at Furman University. The program is offered in partnership with South Carolina ETV and modeled after the Institute's award-winning South Carolina Diversity Leaders Initiative.

Over the course of five weeks, participants took part in a highly interactive curriculum comprising scenario analyses and other experiential learning tools that support public media leaders in their efforts to apply diversity, equity, and inclusion principles to behaviors, systems, and cultures within their organizations.

“As a leader in the development and communication spaces, this course provided me with a wealth of important tools that I can incorporate in the work my team and I carry out each day in alignment with the core values of Michigan State University,” said McGuire. “I’m very grateful for having had the opportunity to participate in this course because I know it will have a positive impact on the ways in which we can best serve our local communities here at WKAR as we work to amplify the university’s outreach mission.”

“Today’s heightened awareness of racial and other inequities in American institutions has magnified and accelerated organizational and stakeholder expectations that public media leaders establish diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values within their organizations,” said Anthony Padgett, president and CEO of South Carolina ETV. “Recognizing that, we are proud to partner with the Riley Institute to offer this unique virtual program to our peers from across the country.”

Graduates of PMDLI become Public Media Diversity Fellows and will help identify future program participants. Collectively, they reflect a vast public media ecosystem, representing both television and radio as well as a variety of geographic regions, audiences, affiliate organizations, and diversity dimensions.

“The Riley Institute is proud to play a role in connecting a network of public media professionals who are committed to managing, leading, and meeting the needs of increasingly diverse workers, clients, and audiences,” said Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute. “We look forward to seeing the positive impact this program will have in communities across the country.”

For more information about PMDLI, visit

About the Riley Institute at Furman University
Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute advances social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond by building leadership for a diverse society, broadening student and community perspectives on critical issues, hosting expert speakers, supporting public education, and creating knowledge through community solutions-focused research. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. Learn more at

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