The HeldenFiles: Changes at WKSU, rock hall

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Management Changes, Part 1. Dan Skinner, former president of Texas Public Radio, will be joining the Kent State-based public-radio operation WKSU 
(89.7 FM) in January, and will be in town to look things over in mid-December.

Skinner ended a six-year run in Texas in November. The announcement of his departure said: “During his tenure, Skinner was instrumental in leading TPR’s strategic direction. Under his stewardship, TPR saw dramatic growth in audience and services, particularly the expansion of local news coverage and the development of an award-winning newsroom.”

Before that, he was general manager of Purdue University’s radio stations. He has also served in various positions at radio stations WBST at Ball State University in Indiana; KHCC at Hutchison Community College in Hutchison, Kansas; and KJRG/KOEZ in Newton, Kansas.

A native of Kansas, he has degrees from Wichita State and Ball State. At WKSU, he will succeed Al Bartholet, who in September announced his plans to retire. Bartholet became general manager in 2001, and was with the station in various capacities for 32 years.

Management Changes, Part 2. Gregory S. Harris, vice president of development for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, will become president and CEO on Jan. 1. He succeeds Terry Stewart, president and CEO since 1999, who announced in May that he planned to retire by the end of 2012.

Harris, says the rock hall, has overseen “development, special events, membership, board relations and government affairs” and “assists in numerous other areas, including strategic planning and institutional marketing, and has helped to acquire archival collections for the Museum’s Library and Archives.”

But lest you think that none of this suggests a love of music, the announcement also says, “Harris remains an enthusiastic music lover, regularly attends live concerts and is a frequent contributor to the blog.”

And: “In the 1980s, he and a partner founded, owned and operated the Philadelphia Record Exchange, a retail store that specialized in selling rare, used and independent records. The store mirrored and amplified his love of rock, R&B, soul, blues, country, folk, punk and other musical genres. He also served as a road manager for a nationally touring group and played guitar in garage bands.”

Filmmaker Talks. Chagrin Falls native Tyler Davidson, a producer of the movie Compliance, will introduce screenings of the film at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque at 8:30 p.m. Dec. 13 and 7:15 p.m. Dec. 14. He will also answer audience questions after the Thursday show.

Compliance, says the Cinematheque, is a “disturbing account of how ordinary people kowtow to authority.” The plot involves a woman working in an Ohio fast-food restaurant who is accused of theft and then detained, strip-searched and violated, all based on the word of an unseen police officer. Richard Corliss noted in Time magazine that “Many viewers at its Sundance Film Festival premiere felt so violated that they walked out, or stayed to boo the director and his stars.” But most reviews have been positive.

Finally … Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People special on Dec. 12 will include Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson. Walters told that, while some people consider HBB a little horror, the “very touching” relationship between Alana and her mother is the real story. Other announced Most Fascinatings include EL James, Gabby Douglas, Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton, Ben Affleck, Seth MacFarlane and the group One Direction.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and, including in the HeldenFiles Online blog, He is also on Facebook and Twitter. You can contact him at 330-996-3582 or

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