The Columbus Dispatch

New general manager at WOSU coming to town from Mississipp­i

- Micah Walker

After months of conducting a national search to find its next general manager, WOSU Public Media has chosen an official from Mississipp­i Public Broadcasti­ng to step into the leadership role.

Ohio State University has named Ronnie Agnew to the position.

Agnew brings more than 35 years of experience working in and leading media organizati­ons, according to a news release. He has been executive director for Mississipp­i Public Broadcasti­ng since 2011.

The news comes after general manager Tom Rieland announced in July that he will be retiring after 19 years with the station. His last day at WOSU will be Jan. 31.

Agnew begins his role Jan. 10 and will be just the sixth leader of WOSU in its 100-year history.

“I consider it an incredible honor to

be chosen to lead WOSU, an organizati­on with an outstandin­g national reputation in public media,” Agnew said in a news release. “I am committed that WOSU will continue to capture the vibrancy of the region and connect with its diverse audiences. This is a special moment for me, to be back in Ohio where I was a young journalist, leading an organizati­on that is so respected by the residents of central Ohio.”

Agnew graduated from the University of Mississipp­i with a bachelor's degree in English/radio and television in 1984, and from 1986 to 1993 he worked as the metro and suburban editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

While at Mississipp­i Public Broadcasti­ng, Agnew led a $1.3 million threestate news collaborat­ive funded by National Public Radio and the Corporatio­n for Public Broadcasti­ng. He also developed a fifth channel for instructio­nal teaching in collaborat­ion with the Mississipp­i Department of Education to support K–12 learning during the pandemic.

Agnew's experience in print journalism includes time as managing and executive editor at the Clarion-ledger in Jackson, Mississipp­i. Prior to that, he served as executive editor at the Dothan Eagle in Alabama.

During Agnew's career, he has covered major events, including Hurricane

Katrina. In 2018, he was named by Our Mississipp­i Magazine as one of the 25 most influential African Americans in the state.

With Rieland retiring, an endowment in his honor has been establishe­d, and Agnew will become the first person to hold the “Thomas Rieland Endowed WOSU General Manager” position. The endowed position will support the role of general manager at WOSU in perpetuity while providing future general managers annual discretion­ary funding, the news release stated.

Agnew also will get to experience the recently opened WOSU broadcast headquarte­rs at 1800 N. Pearl Street in the University District. The four-story, 53,000-square-foot center is about one-third larger than its previous location, and is filled with state-of-the-art TV and radio equipment, lush studio spaces and editing suites, indoor and outdoor engagement areas and other features.

“Ronnie brings an impressive mix of experience in broadcasti­ng and print journalism and has a proven track record as an organizati­onal leader,” said Jay Kasey, senior vice president for Ohio State University's Office of Administra­tion and Planning. “I also want to thank Tom Rieland for his more than 19 years as WOSU'S general manager. Ronnie inherits a thriving organizati­on and a new WOSU headquarte­rs that will foster strengthen­ed connection­s to our community.” mwalker@dispatch.com @micah_walker701

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