NPR's Vogelzang Appointed Interim General Manager of WBFO Radio

Petro Accepts New Position in UB's Economic Engagement Office

Release Date: November 2, 2009 This content is archived.


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Mark Vogelzang, a longtime member of the NPR Board of Directors, has been named interim general manager of WBFO.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Mark Vogelzang, the highly regarded former president of Vermont Public Radio and a longtime member of the National Public Radio (NPR) Board of Directors, has been named interim general manager of the University at Buffalo NPR member WBFO 88.7 FM.

The announcement was made today by Marsha S. Henderson, vice president for external affairs at UB. Vogelzang will start the new position on Nov. 3.

"Mark Vogelzang is a visionary -- a well-known and highly respected leader in the field of public radio," said Henderson, who added that Vogelzang is not only a veteran manager but has been an on-air host, fundraiser, programmer and noted public radio advocate.

"We are fortunate to have his experienced assistance as we move into what we expect will be new opportunities for program growth and financial development with WBFO's outstanding staff, loyal listeners and community supporters."

WBFO's current general manager, Carole Smith Petro, PhD, has accepted a new position as associate vice president in UB's Office of Economic Engagement under Henderson. The new office will actively promote and extend the university's partnerships with business and the community in the region and across New York State. It will serve as a gateway to enable connections between businesses and UB services and faculty expertise, with the end goal of significantly improving the region's and state's economic vitality. The creation of the office exemplifies the university's strong commitment to its civic role in UB 2020, UB's strategic plan for growing the university and transforming it into a model 21st century university.

"We are very excited to be able to tap Carole's talents for this important new initiative,"

Henderson said, "and we are grateful for the excellent leadership she has provided to WBFO over the past seven years."

During Petro's tenure at WBFO, she led significant upgrades in the station's technology, including construction in 2008 of a 443-foot tower and an antenna that enables the station to deliver a significantly stronger signal to more than 1.25 million people within its broadcast region, and transition to digital studios and an HD format with additional channels of programming. Also during this period, the station received numerous awards for its community work and programming, including the Community Leader Award in Media from the National Federation for Just Communities, and twice earned top statewide honors for excellence in journalism from the New York State Associated Press. Petro also helped secure considerable grant funding for WBFO, including the largest grant in the station's 50-year history, a $300,000 award from the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation.

Vogelzang was elected to the NPR board for two terms from 2001-2008 and comes to Buffalo from Washington, D.C., where, after leaving Vermont Public Radio, he has been working on interim assignment at NPR, leading its development and foundation team.

In 1993, when Vogelzang took over as president, Vermont Public Radio was broadcasting a single service on three transmitters. Today, through growth by strategic acquisitions, the network consists of nine full-power FM stations throughout Vermont, with two discrete program services -- an award-winning news service and a classical music service.

"I am so eager for the opportunity to work with the great staff and listeners of WBFO," Vogelzang said. "It's a station with a proud 50-year history with illustrious public radio alumni like Terry Gross, Ira Flatow, Bill Siemering and others," he said. "The University at Buffalo, as the licensee of WBFO, understands the importance and connection that the station has with the larger community. I'm looking forward to helping it achieve its potential."

WBFO 88.7 FM is a major public service of the University at Buffalo and is Western New York's most listened to NPR station. It reaches a weekly audience of more than 100,000 people through its main signal in Buffalo and through repeater stations WUBJ 88.1 FM in Jamestown and WOLN 91.3 FM in Olean, and additional online audiences at WBFO's award-winning news department offers comprehensive coverage of regional news. The station also offers a depth of programming not available elsewhere in the community, including NPR news and entertainment programs, public and cultural affairs programming, and jazz and blues.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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