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WDIY names new executive director

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Public radio station WDIY-88.1 FM, which serves the Lehigh Valley, announced it hired an executive director.

He is Gregory K. Capogna, 61, a 30-year veteran of broadcast management who has managed multi-station operations throughout the South and Midwest.

Capogna succeeds Wagner Previato, who served from 2013 until earlier this year. During the interim, the station was primarily managed by Bill Dautremont-Smith, a former executive director and current board member.

A native of Detroit, Capogna was selected by the station’s board of directors after a nationwide search that began in May.

WDIY, a nonprofit radio station based in Bethlehem, went on air in 1995. It has a staff of six employees and operates on an annual budget of $650,000. The station also has a board of 17 directors, a community advisory board of 10 members, and a volunteer team of around 150, about half of whom produce and host radio programs.

“We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have found someone of Greg’s caliber,” Karen El-Chaar, board president, said in a statement.

“WDIY faces a range of opportunities thanks to our power increase two years ago and our improved financial position. Given these gains, we were looking for someone with the vision and experience to help us further develop the station’s service to listeners and the general community,” El-Chaar said.

Dautremont-Smith, who coordinated the board’s search, said the board was looking for someone to “lead us into a new era of community service by improving our programming and strengthening our relationships with local organizations.”

Once the lowest-powered station in the NPR network, WDIY could not be picked up everywhere in the Lehigh Valley. That changed two years ago when the station tripled its power. It now covers a 250-square-mile area that extends from the western half of Berks County to Clinton, New Jersey.

WDIY has had a significant growth in its membership, increasing from 1,100 members in 2008 to a record 2,000 in 2018, El-Chaar said.

Membership is one of the station’s primary funding sources.

Capogna was a consultant in marketing, sales and sales management to radio stations in the South for the past five years. He has worked in management at a number of broadcast companies, including Citadel Broadcasting, later acquired by Cumulus Media, Clear Channel Broadcasting and Communications Capital Partners.

Capogna said he “heard something unique in WDIY’s programming, including the quality and diversity of its music and local public affairs offerings, the depth of NPR’s news coverage and then the incredible number of people involved in bringing all this to local listeners.”

He said WDIY’s interaction with the community is “crucial” and reflects the station’s importance as an arts and information resource.

“We already have about 100 partner organizations, over 50 businesses that support the station with underwriting sponsorships and now 2,000 station members,” he said.

“I am excited about the opportunity to further develop the station’s capabilities not only on the airwaves, but also through digital platforms such as its website and social media,” Capogna said.

In addition to featuring NPR’s flagship news programs, “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered,” and producing its own public affairs programs, the station produces a range of music programs, from classical, jazz and blues to indie-rock, folk and world.

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