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MPR Reporter Marie Combs Resigns After Editors Kill Story

“Combs said she wrote a draft and presented it to legal counsel for review and that the story was determined to be well-sourced.”

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A veteran Minnesota news reporter abruptly resigned after she accused her station of spiking a story she had written about her co-worker’s alleged sexual misconduct.

Reporter Marianne Combs said she spent two and a half months investigating allegations made about a DJ at her Minnesota Public Radio sister station, 89.3 The Current. 

Combs said she communicated with eight women all claiming that DJ Eric Malmberg sexually manipulated and psychologically abused them. 

The story was first reported by the Minnesota Star Tribune. 

Combs wrote on Monday that the women encountered Malmberg while he worked at other stations including the Cumulus Media combo of Classic Rock 92.5 KQRS and Rock “93X” KXXR.

“I also interviewed the directors of a summer church camp who told this DJ he was no longer welcome to volunteer there because of his inappropriate behavior with teenage girls,” Combs wrote in a Facebook post.” I found out that in June he was fired from another job where he worked with children; that organization is now conducting an investigation into his time there.”

Combs said she wrote a draft and presented it to legal counsel for review and that the story was determined to be well-sourced. 

“My editors have failed to move forward on the story. They have countered that the DJ’s actions were, for the most part, legal, and therefore don’t rise to the level of warranting news coverage,” Combs said. 

Combs won an award in June for her reporting on sex abuse cases at Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis. 

Minnesota Public Radio publicly fired Malmberg Tuesday reversing earlier support. 

“MPR has made the decision that the audience of The Current is best served by a programmatic change,” the release stated. “As a result, Eric Malmberg will no longer be a DJ on The Current. Our hosts have to be able to attract an audience that wants to listen to them and trusts them and over the last 36 hours those conditions have changed for Malmberg.” 

Meantime Combs said she her resignation will serve as a “catalyst for positive change.” 

Minnesota Public Radio said they were “blindsided” by Combs’ resignation.

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ABC News Promotes Liz Alesse to Vice President of Audio

Alesse will manage the entire audio business in her new role with the company, including ABC News Radio, podcasts, and our entertainment content service. 

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ABC/Heidi Gutman

ABC News has a new vice president of audio as it has announced the promotion of Liz Alesse to the position. Alesse will manage the entire audio business in her new role with the company, including ABC News Radio, podcasts, and entertainment content service.   

“Liz is already a trusted member of the ABC Audio team, most recently serving as director and executive producer of Podcast Programming,” Reena Mehta, ABC News senior vice president of streaming and digital content, said in a statement. 

“She has been instrumental in growing and re-organizing our award-winning podcast team, developing successful content and monetization strategies, and partnering closely within the news division and across The Walt Disney Company to promote our work.”

Alesse has overseen the launches of new podcasts for ABC News, such as “Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson,” “Close Up,” and “The Book Case with Kate and Charlie Gibson.”

Furthermore, she also took the lead in creating the “GMA” Channel on Apple Podcasts, which carries the new “Good Morning America” podcast and ABC Audio’s expanding library of lifestyle, culture, and entertainment on-demand audio content.

With Alesse having a pivotal role in the audio department, ABC News has received Webby Awards, a Gracie Award, GLAAD Special Recognition honors, and other honors.   

“I am so proud of ABC News’ legacy in the audio and radio space. In this new role, Liz will be vital in leading the division to continued success,” Mehta concluded. 

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The DJV Show Wins Gracie Award

These awards honor the most accomplished women in television, radio, and digital media with a presentation at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles on May 24th. 

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The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation has announced the 47th Annual Gracie Awards winners, including the radio talk show, The DJV Show, hosted by Doug Stephan and Co-Hosts Jennifer Horn and Victoria Keelan, along with Jai Kershner presenting the What’s Trending Report.

These awards honor the most accomplished women in television, radio, and digital media with a presentation at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles on May 24th. 

“The DJV Show is customizable by daypart to fit any station’s needs. Stations can localize the show by including their own content at designated points throughout each hour,” the statement said, which Barrett News Media obtained. 

“It can also be tailored to fit multiple formats, including talk, adult contemporary, classic hits, hot AC, oldies, and more. The Gracies honor the outstanding talent, such as The DJV Show, and content in radio, television, and digital media made by, for, and about women.”

The “DJV Show” is a morning talk-radio show that airs live Monday through Friday from 5 am until 9 am, featuring a fast-paced layout covering various topics. Furthermore, the program has over 325 affiliates nationwide. 

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Federal Judge Throws Out Lawsuit by a Former NPR Employee

Zandile Mkwanazi’s suit alleged he was subject to discrimination based on his race and a hostile work environment.

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A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by a former NPR network operation technician who alleged that he faced racial discrimination and unfair treatment while employed at the network.

According to Inside Radio, Zandile Mkwanazi’s suit alleged he was subject to discrimination based on his race and a hostile work environment. His suit alleged that he was subject to discrimination based on his race and a hostile work environment. 

Mkwanazi was fired in October 2019. He sought back pay and damages from NPR and a court order blocking the network from taking any retaliatory actions against him with future employers.

The lawsuit said, Mkwanazi’s supervisor, who was white, introduced him to coworkers as “a new boy working for us” and repeatedly used the term “boy.” Mkwanazi said he found the term racially offensive even though his supervisor referred to all employees as “boys.”

“The parties participated in mediation, and they have reached a resolution in principle,” attorneys said in a statement. Mkwanazi was seeking unspecified damages for lost wages as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

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