ideastream Personality Bios
David C. Barnett came to 90.3 WCPN in 1990 with an armful of taped interviews and an idea about producing a story about the 1970 Kent State shootings - the compelling program "Emily’s Diary" was the result. David has subsequently produced many award-winning programs and is a semi-regular contributor to National Public Radio news magazines. His documentary productions about American musical pioneers Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams and Sam Cooke have been nationally syndicated by Public Radio International.
Nick Castele covers the handiwork and hijinks of Northeast Ohio’s elected officials. He grew up in Lakewood and made his broadcast debut as a baby in the lap of his grandfather, NewsChannel 5’s medical editor Dr. Ted. He studied journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School, where he ran North by Northwestern, the web and print magazine there. For a few months in college, he reported the news from Honolulu as an intern at online newspaper Civil Beat.
Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV. Andy gained his in-depth knowledge of Statehouse issues while working for Hannah News Service, an online-based news and research publication. He also participated in the Legislative Service Commission's Fellowship program as a production assistant for The Ohio Channel. Andy earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcasting at Otterbein University and took part in the Washington Semester program through American University in Washington, D.C.
Robert Conrad, host of Weekend Radio, Cleveland Orchestra commentator: Robert co-founded WCLV in 1962 and served as program director until 2001. He is the dean of orchestra commentators, having been host of The Cleveland Orchestra broadcasts since 1965. Prior to launching WCLV, Robert was at WDTM in Detroit, WFMT in Chicago, KAIM and KULA in Hawaii, WEAW in Evanston and, starting at age 14, WKAN in Kankakee, where he took on the name “Sagebrush Bob” to host the weekly live country and western Hayloft Jamboree. Bob is Adjunct Professor of Broadcasting at the Cleveland Institute of Music and has honorary doctorates from CIM, Baldwin-Wallace and Oberlin College.
Tony Ganzer has reported from Cairo to Oslo, but now calls Cleveland home, as he hosts The World and All Things Considered. He was previously a correspondent in Zurich for World Radio Switzerland, then part of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, where he covered Swiss banks, politics, and everything in between. His award-winning work has aired on national and international outlets, and he has been invited to speak at events hosted by the Robert Bosch Foundation and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. Ganzer holds an M.A. in International Relations and World Order from the University of Leicester. He speaks fluent German, and a bit of French on a good day.
Jacqueline Gerber, host/producer (morning drive): A native of Peoria, Illinois, where she began her radio career, Jacqueline has been hosting WCLV’s 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. First Program since 2001. Soon after her arrival, she put her own stamp on the program with features like “Pet News” and “Naughty Etymology.” She brings a background in theater and law to her job, as well as an enthusiasm for public speaking. She also has written reviews, features and humor articles for newspapers in Cleveland and Illinois.
Jim Goldurs is a true 90.3 WCPN veteran, and he was one of the station's first members, to boot! Born and raised in Cleveland, Jim graduated from Shaker Heights High School. He went on to receive degrees in Communications from Youngstown State University and the University of Pittsburgh. Jim has worked in radio throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania for close to thirty years. When he's not being creative here at 90.3 WCPN, Jim can be found practicing the art of the rub - massotherapy - in which he's held a license for since 1990. Married, with three children, a dog and cat, Jim lives in Cleveland Heights.
Rob Grier, announcer/operator and syndication specialist: Having joined the station in 1992, Robin is in charge of the distribution of programs like The Cleveland Orchestra, Weekend Radio and other musical specials to radio stations and networks around the world. He is also the voice of the station’s overnight program, WCLV All Night. Previously, he was an announcer for WRDZ 1260, Radio Disney.
Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Her work has been featured on national networks such as National Public Radio, Marketplace, the Great Lakes Radio Consortium and the BBC. She is often a guest on radio talk shows heard on Ohio’s public radio stations. In addition, she’s a regular guest on WOSU-TV’s “Columbus On the Record” and ONN’s “Capitol Square”. Jo also writes for respected publications such as Columbus Monthly and the Reuters News Service. She has won many awards for her work across all of those platforms.
Vira Ivanytska graduated from Lviv National University in 1982 majoring in geography. She also attended Theatrical College in Lviv in 1976 earning a degree in Directing. She was a High School geography teacher for 21 years. In 1996 she began a career as a director and journalist at a local television station. Vira came to the United States in 2008 and resides in Parma. She is a board member of the Ukrainian United Organizations of Ohio. In 2012, she began hosting the Ukraine radio program on 90.3 WCPN. Vira is very active in the Ukraine community as a singer and reciter.
Rick Jackson is the award-winning senior host and producer of Ideas and NewsDepth news programs on WVIZ/PBS, and the Friday host of The Sound of Ideas® on 90.3 WCPN. With ideastream since 2003, Rick brings together elements of his 30+ years experience in local and network television; both public and commercial radio; and in hosting the nationally syndicated public affairs series Village America, previously seen on PBS. Jackson was honored as a 2001 inductee into Ohio’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame. He is also an of Emmy Award recipient, and has won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, a Communicators Award, Women in Communications Awards and from the Associated Press.
Karen Kasler is a lifelong Ohioan. She grew up in Lancaster, attended Otterbein College in Westerville, and found her first professional break at WCBE-FM, Columbus. Each year she anchors the Bureau's live coverage of the governor's State of the State. She was a moderator for US Senate debates in 2012 and 2010, participated in several debates in 2010, and has led debates over statewide issues. She's produced features for NPR and "Marketplace", and has been interviewed by NPR, the BBC, NBC and several local and regional stations around the country. She's a regular panelist on WCPN/ideastream's "The Sound of Ideas", a frequent guest on WOSU-TV’s “Columbus on the Record” and has appeared on WBNS-TV's "Face the State". Karen, her husband and their son Jack live on Columbus' northeast side.
Eric Kisch, host of Musical Passions: On the air since 2004, Musical Passions is the culmination of Eric's dream to share his collection of recordings with a wider audience. A retired market researcher and consultant, he has written articles and reviews for FM Guide and Record World as well as program notes for the Saginaw Symphony and Musica Sacra. He gives talks about music, musicians, and the insanity of collecting recordings.
Dennis Lewin, host of The Dennis Lewin Radio Program: The Dennis Lewin Radio Program breaks the mold of traditional WCLV programming. Hallmarks of the show are Dennis' regular interaction with his “sidekick,” Nancy Sinning and his practice of engaging listeners with trivia questions. A lifelong Clevelander, he has had a colorful career as a contemporary and classical musician and teacher, but foremost among his passions is his successful radio program.
Mike McIntyre is the host of The Sound of Ideas® on 90.3 WCPN. McIntyre grew up in Cleveland throwing copies of The Plain Dealer to customers on his father's circulation route. He joined the newspaper ten years later in a different capacity, as a metro reporter. Since 1990, McIntyre - a 1987 graduate of Bowling Green State University with a B.S. in Journalism - has covered government, transportation, crime and the environment for the newspaper. He was a staff writer for The Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine until it was shuttered in 2005. Since 2002, he has has written "Tipoff," a twice-weekly metro column of assorted off-beat news items. The column won the 2010 Herb Caen Memorial Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.
Jim Mehrling, technical producer: Jim has been with a full-time employee of WCLV since 1993, having previously worked part-time for the station while attending Baldwin-Wallace College. He prepares and tracks the station’s underwriting spots and hosts a Classical Weekend hour on Saturdays. He also produces a high school academic quiz program heard on WEOL (AM) in Lorain/Elyria and serves as MC for the summer Lakewood Home Town Band Concerts.
Reporter/producer Elizabeth Miller joined ideastream after a stint at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C., where she served as an intern on the National Desk, pitching stories about everything from a gentrified Brooklyn deli to an app for lost dogs. Before that, she covered weekend news at WAKR in Akron and interned at WCBE, a Columbus NPR affiliate. Elizabeth grew up in Columbus before moving north to attend Baldwin Wallace, where she graduated with a degree in broadcasting and mass communications.
A. Grace Lee Mims, host of The Black Arts: Host of The Black Arts since 1976, Grace is stalwart member of the arts and cultural scene in Cleveland. She has served as performer, voice teacher, and arts and education advocate. She holds an honorary doctorate from Cleveland State University and was the winner of the 2011 Martha Joseph Award from Cleveland Arts Prize. She is also extremely proud of her nephew, filmmaker Spike Lee.
Angela Mitchell, Host/Announcer: Angela can be heard hosting the overnight shift on WCLV from midnight to 6:00 a.m. She also hosts and produces the monthly studio performance program First Fridays and interviews many of the guests that visit WCLV. She got her start in radio as an intern for Performance Today, and when graduate school took her to Houston (she’s also a classically trained singer), she joined Houston Public Radio’s Classical 91.7. Angela moved to Northeast Ohio in 2013 and is a proud resident of Lakewood. She can be spotted around town performing in operas, musicals, and with the vocal group Quire Cleveland. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, reading, yoga, and running.
Slovak Hour host Vladimir Mlynek not only understands what goes on in front of the microphone, but he even knows what’s happening inside the microphone. Both Vladimir and his co-host (and son) Gerald are certified electrical engineers who mix their technical expertise with a love of their heritage to bring listeners a weekly sampling of the Slovak culture. Vladimir has been involved in nationality broadcasting since the late 1940s, and is one of the original nationality broadcasters to sign-on with 90.3 when the station was born in 1984. One year later, Gerald was recruited to add an English-speaking voice to the program. It was an important move for 2nd and 3rd generation Slovak-American listeners whose primary language is English. The longevity and popularity of the Slovak Radio Hour can be traced to the devotion of the hosts and the great strength of the Slovak-American community throughout Northeast Ohio.
After broadcasting a similar show in the 1960s, Joe Nicholls from Merseyside, England was itching to get back in front of the microphone when he heard about WCPN-FM going on the air in September 1984. Joined by other nationality broadcasters, The Sounds of Britain and Ireland began broadcasting one week after the station debuted. The uniqueness of this program is that unlike the most other shows that are about only one nation, Sounds of Britain and Ireland covers five countries - England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man. In 1990, Joe felt something was missing. After recounting how he enjoyed having guests on the show, he decided to add another host. After careful consideration of past visitors, Kevin McGinty of County Mayo, Ireland was added to the roster. It didn’t hurt that Kevin had been a director and actor of the Cleveland Irish Players for some time and has a vast knowledge of the entertainment world. An added feature is a sports report E-mailed just prior to show from Tom Rizzo of Akron. Tom, who has never met either Joe or Kevin, is not only the regular sports reporter but also a big fan of the show. It’s a hectic two hours, but they love it. As Kevin often remarks “where did the time go?” Away from the station, Joe is a retired newspaper-marketing representative with many interests and Kevin manages a painting contracting company. Although good friends, their socializing with each other is very limited. Due in large part to distance and family life and as Kevin says “It keeps a fresh approach when we do the program”. This does not stop them talking on the phone frequently about new ideas for the show because as Joe says “The show must keep renewing itself”.
Bill O’Connell, host/producer (afternoon drive) and program director: Bill hosts WCLV’s 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Drive Time and Dinner Classics. He also shares hosting The Cleveland Orchestra broadcasts with long-time presenter Robert Conrad. He is a graduate of Temple University, and prior to coming to WCLV spent eight years as program director of KDFC, the heritage classical music station in San Francisco. While there, the station earned the 1992 Marconi Award for Classical Station of the Year. Earlier, he spent seventeen years at Philadelphia’s WFLN as on-air host, production manager and music director.
Slovenia-born, Tony Ovsenik has been an active member of the Slovenian Community in Greater Cleveland since his arrival in the States at age 14. He joined the Slovenian Folk Dancing Group Kres at 18 and has been a supporter of the group ever since as a dancer and musician. His wife Bernadette was the ensemble’s energetic teacher and choreographer for many years, during the group’s hey-day. As a musician, (his love is the baritone horn), Tony has played in a number of different Slovenian Avsenik-style bands including The Wanderers, Duke Marsic’s Happy Slovenians, his son’s Veseli Godci, and most recently was a member of Alpine sextet. Tony instituted the Slovenian Program back in 1997 when WCPN was looking for someone to present the Slovenian community to the Cleveland area. He strives for the program to be original, entertaining and at the same time informative. As host, Tony has had many guests, exploring the political, educational, cultural and entertainment world of Slovenia - be it local or direct from the homeland. The program is presented in dual languages, Slovenian and English, for a wider understanding, since young people are much more comfortable in the English language. And Tony is always looking to cultivate an even wider audience that can enjoy the sounds of the Sunnyside of the Alps - Slovenia.
After twenty-two years hosting evening jazz on 90.3 WCPN, Dan Polletta saw the light - literally! Dan moved into daytime hours, in 2009 joining the ideastream’s culture team, as a producer, host and reporter, giving him a chance to chat with everyone from Pierre Boulez to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. These days, you’ll hear Dan hosting “The Sound of Applause” and “Applause.” When Dan isn't making radio, he’s in the kitchen trying to whip some epicurean delight, with jazz for inspiration... or busy trying to find the next Kentucky Derby winner.
Mark Satola, host/producer (midday): Mark has been with WCLV since 1977 and currently hosts weekday middays, in addition to Innovations, which was previously known as Not the Dead White Male Composer’s Hour. He has written and produced nationally syndicated programs including The Cincinnati Pops on the Air and the Vienna Philharmonic. In addition, from time to time his by-line appears in The Plain Dealer on reviews of area concerts.
John Simna, music director: 2013 marked forty years that John has been with WCLV. He is a graduate of Notre Dame and an accomplished bass trombone and euphonium player, having performed with the German Concert Orchestra, the Broadale Brass Ensemble and the Cleveland Philharmonic, among others. On WCLV he hosts Symphony at Seven, The Cleveland Orchestra Showcase and the Late Program. He also hosts Jazz All Night on WCPN.
Mark Simpson is ideastream's Managing Editor of News. Before heading to Cleveland, Mark covered the Florida Legislature for Florida Public Radio and WFSU-FM. While in Tallahassee, he served as Assistant News Director, ATC Host, and Host of WFSU's weekly live listener Call-In, Perspectives. Mark also worked in Orlando at member station WMFE, as News Director and Assistant News Director. At WMFE he helped launch and hosted the station's weekly news and public affairs radio program Intersection. Mark covered the final years of NASA's Space Shuttle Program, tropical weather, and other only in Florida happenings. For almost two years Mark lived in Luanda, Angola, where he worked with an NGO and gigged with his sax in various local music groups.
Nancy Sinning, host/producer (weekend): Nancy hosts Sundays 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and produces Offbeat in conjunction with the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her interest in classical music began when her parents took her to concerts in her hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts. She has been recognized for her arts and cultural features by the Press Club of Cleveland, the Associated Press, the Ohio Society of Journalists and the Gabriel Awards.
Darrielle Snipes is a seasoned, award-winning journalist who now calls Cleveland her home. She has reported in various cities across the country including Detroit, Baltimore and Oklahoma City. When she first came to Cleveland she worked at WKYC-TV. Her last stop was in Richmond, Virginia as a morning anchor for the ABC affiliate, WRIC-TV. Darrielle has spent most of her career as a journalist is in front of the camera as an anchor/reporter and is excited to be working at ideastream doing both radio and TV.
Since her arrival in Cleveland in 1957, Eugenia Stolarczyk has been an active member of the Polish community. Eugenia is a member of the Polish National Alliance, Polish Women’s Alliance, Polish Roman Catholic Union, the Polonia Foundation, the Polish-American Cultural Center and the Cleveland Society of Poles. She is also a member of the Polish American Congress of which she was vice-president and chairperson of the Cultural Committee. She received the Polish Heritage Award from the Polonia Foundation in 1982 and the Cross of Merit from the Polish government in 1995. Recently, Eugenia was inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame and received the Four Eagle Award from the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaw's in Cleveland. Eugenia continues to devote herself nearly full-time to the popularization of Polish culture. She is assisted by her grand-niece, Alina Stepien, who was born and raised in the Cleveland, Ohio by her Polish parents.
Mark Urycki is an Akron native who started as an alt-rock and jazz DJ before finding his way into news reporting. He's covered presidents back to Ronald Reagan and met his first Nobel Peace Prize winner when Mother Teresa visited Canton. His reporting has spanned everything from arts to sports, environmental issues to politics. The RNC in Cleveland will mark the 4th presidential convention Urycki has covered. He was on the Denver Broncos sideline in 1987 when John Elway engineered The Drive and a few rows behind the basket in 1989 when Michael Jordan swished with The Shot (Don’t allow him into playoff games). He's reported on John Demjanjuk's trial from Israel, on Kent State's Global Education efforts from Florence, and followed the Cleveland Orchestra on three tours of Europe. Mark lives with his son - who doesn't listen to radio - in Hudson.
Dr. Joe Wendel began his broadcasting career in 1961 on former ethnic radio station, WXEN as a sportscaster! He was the voice of the Cleveland Stokers, a professional soccer team that was brought over from England by some local investors. But, the Stokers only lasted a couple of years and Joe – an Austrian native – turned his radio focus to spreading the word about Greater Cleveland’s German-speaking citizens. Sports and radio aside, Joe has also boosted the German culture through his expertise on the “stomach Steinway” --- the accordion he sports as the leader of the Joe Wendel Orchestra. This ensemble regularly tours around the country, playing numerous local festivals, as well as such entertainment hot spots as Las Vegas and the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. Music, whether it is on the radio or on the stage is a labor of love for Joe Wendel. In addition to being an entertainer, Joe has a long history as an educator, holding a doctorate in Educational Administration and School Law.
Way, way back in the last millennium, when Annie Wu dropped off her application for an internship at NPR’s headquarters in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, DC, she picked up a Peking duck on her way home. She later got a summer stint working on the science desk... and food poisoning. Thus prophetically began her career in public radio. She went on to circle the Beltway a bazillion times as a reporter and then Acting News Director at WAMU, covering stories around the Washington, DC, metro region. As an assistant producer for Weekend All Things Considered, she was known as “Scissorhands Wu” for her mad digital tape cutting skills. She freelanced as a reporter for WCPN before becoming Associate Editor for ideastream. She has filed stories for NPR and PRI shows. Her documentary “The Orphan Train” earned her the Zeitfunk award for most licensed piece from the Public Radio Exchange website, for which she won a prized faux gold Karate guy statue.