This June, WFUV will have a new voice—longtime station manager Ralph Jennings will hand the microphone to Chuck Singleton, currently the station’s program director. Jennings will assume the role as director of internal and external relations on June 30, when Singleton will be named interim general manager.
“These past 25 years at WFUV have allowed me to realize a dream.” Jennings said. “From the time I was a boy I’ve believed in the power of radio to entertain and inform. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and grateful to all the staff, students, and colleagues, at Fordham and in the public radio system, who have contributed to our achievements.”
He took over WFUV (90.7 FM, www.wfuv.org) in 1985, and turned the student-run operation into the thriving public radio station it is today. Licensed to Fordham University for over 60 years, the station now mixes a professional staff of 27 with more than 90 paid interns. On Jennings’ watch, the station has grown from a weekly audience of 80,000 to more than 300,000 listeners and more than 20,000 members. Jennings also saw WFUV’s physical plant updated to include state-of-the-art studio facilities, and upgraded WFUV’s transmission facilities, so that its signal is heard much more widely throughout the New York metropolitan area.
Singleton likewise has a long history with WFUV, having joined the station in 1987 as its first director of news and public affairs. He developed WFUV’s coverage of community issues and its student training programs, and created and hosted the programCityscape. In the past year, Singleton has served on WFUV’s strategic planning committee, and was recently named its chair. The process has already resulted in a unified vision for the station, and will serve in further moving WFUV towards its goals, including increased listeners and membership.
“I’m honored and humbled to be asked to step in as interim general manager,” Singleton said. “It’s been a real privilege to work with Ralph in charting the direction of the station. I have great faith in the future of WFUV as it reshapes itself as a public media organization for the 21st century.”
Jennings, who holds a Ph.D. in communications from New York University, began his radio career as a high school student in Connecticut, working as a broadcast engineer, and went on to become a station manager in college. After college, he was named operations manager at WRVR in New York, and later served for 13 years in the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ as its deputy director, where he monitored TV stations nationwide, and helped communities challenge the licenses of stations discriminating against minorities and women. Jennings also served as an advisor on legislative and regulatory communications policy for the United States Catholic Conference. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Paula, a development director, and their two children.
“It is hard to overstate Ralph Jennings’ role in the evolution of WFUV,” said Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., provost of the University. “He has professionalized the station and increased its audience, range, donations, and not least of all, its place in musical culture. I am deeply grateful for Ralph’s steady leadership. The station he leaves in Chuck Singleton’s very capable hands is one of the jewels of public broadcasting, for which the University and WFUV’s many fans are eternally grateful. I have every confidence that Chuck will continue to build on the legacy entrusted to him.”
Singleton steps up to the station’s top job with 30 years of experience in public radio as a programmer, host, producer and contributor to stations and national programs. He has directed WFUV’s programming since 1992, including recruiting its on-air staff and expanding its schedule of Adult Album Alternative (or “Triple A”) music programming. He led the development of WFUV’s indie music service, “The Alternate Side,” with startup support from the New York State Music Fund. Singleton began his radio career in 1980 at Philadelphia’s WXPN, hosting and producing music shows, interviews, news and cultural features. Singleton lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife Nancy, a family physician in Manhattan, their son and daughter, and a dog named after singer-songwriter Nellie McKay.
New York’s Rock and Roots station WFUV (90.7 FM, www.wfuv.org) is a noncommercial, member-supported radio station, licensed to Fordham University for more than 60 years, serving more than 300,000 weekly listeners throughout the New York metropolitan area and thousands more worldwide on the Web. WFUV has received national recognition for its award-winning weekday format of adult album alternative music, news from NPR, and a diverse weekend lineup. WFUV’s own robust website has extensive audio archives, videos, song playlists, an events calendar, blog and other resources.