Jonathan Seaborn, chief content officer at Texas Tech Public Media, has been named the new general manager of UA Little Rock Public Radio.
UA Little Rock Public Radio is the home of KUAR FM 89.1 and KLRE Classical 90.5 and serves as the region’s NPR news and information provider. Housed within the College of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Education (CHASSE), UA Little Rock Public Radio is a public service unit of UA Little Rock where university students gain professional experience by working as interns and part-time staff members.
“Jonathan brings with him a wealth of experience in university-associated public media and deep ties to public media nationwide,” said Dr. Sarah Beth Estes, CHASSE dean. “He is an ideal candidate to lead the stations in delivering the local news and programming that is essential in our community.”
A native of Abilene, Texas, Seaborn is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in creative media industries. Following college, he went on to work for his alma mater as an adjunct professor and producer, production director, and finally chief content officer at Texas Tech Public Media. During that time, he’s won four Telly awards, three Lone Star Emmy Awards, three best documentary awards, and one public media award.
After eight years at Texas Tech Public Media, he is ready to take on a new adventure leading UA Little Rock Public Radio, which has around 80,000 listeners per week.
“I am very excited by this new opportunity,” Seaborn said. “I’ve been met with nothing but passion and enthusiasm from the staff, the Friends of KUAR/KLRE, and the public. With their appreciation and love for the stations, it’s obvious that UA Little Rock Public Radio is well respected and loved in the community.”
Seaborn added that it’s “bittersweet” to leave a good work environment like Texas Tech Public Media where he works with some of the best people in the industry.
“But it makes it easier to know that I am walking into a similar situation with people who are just as excited and talented,” he said. “I am eager to get to Little Rock and get to work.”
Seaborn will be joined by his wife Lyndsey and their six-year-old daughter Isla. He succeeds Nathan Vandiver, the former general manager who moved to Portland, Oregon, last year when his wife joined the Federal Public Defender’s office.
“With this transition, it is imperative that we recognize the service outgoing GM Nathan Vandiver provided during the last months as he managed the stations remotely to allow us time to do a thorough, nationwide search,” Estes said. “My deepest gratitude goes to him and the station staff for their consistent dedication to public radio and their shepherding of the stations into Jonathan’s leadership.”
One of Seaborn’s first tasks will be to lead a search to replace News Director Michael Hibblen, who left UA Little Rock Public Radio at the start of the new year to join Arkansas PBS. Seaborn has been in contact with Hibblen and looks forward to collaborating on future public media projects.
“That will be an important position to fill quickly,” Seaborn said. “I know Michael Hibblen is an institution at UA Little Rock Public Radio, but it’s comforting to know that he’s not too far away.”
In addition to filling some key positions, once he takes the reins on Jan. 17, Seaborn plans to concentrate on developing a strategic plan for UA Little Rock Public Radio, building community engagement, and modernizing distribution plans.