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Aspen Public Radio news team adds players, changes lineup for summer 2022

News Team Group Photo June 2022
Kelsey Brunner
Aspen Public Radio's on-air lineup of talent is shifting this summer 2022, but our news team's commitment to local reporting remains stronger than ever. From left to right: Chris Mohr, Jenna McMurtry, Eleanor Bennett, Dominic Anthony Walsh, Halle Zander, Caroline Llanes, and Brent Gardner-Smith.

Aspen Public Radio is heading into the 2022 summer season with strategic changes to the station’s on-air lineup of talent, along with an expanded focus on coverage of local events, all in service to our community.

Aspen Public Radio reporter Halle Zander has been promoted to anchor of All Things Considered, during one of the station’s highest-rated dayparts, broadcasting from 4:00-6:00 p.m. weekdays on 88.9FM and 91.5FM. News director Brent Gardner-Smith, who has served in this capacity since his hiring last fall, will continue to supervise the award-winning Aspen Public Radio news team, which includes Zander, as well as reporters Eleanor Bennett, Dominic Anthony Walsh, and Caroline Llanes. “Halle sounds good on the air, and is a solid reporter and writer," says Gardner-Smith. "She's a natural afternoon anchor." This change enables Gardner-Smith to fully utilize his expertise and knowledge of the Roaring Fork Valley to expand the newsroom’s local reporting efforts as news director, full-time.

As previously announced, classical music aficionado Chris Mohr has returned to Aspen, joining the Aspen Public Radio news team as a reporter. Mohr will dedicate his eight-week-long tenure to providing comprehensive coverage of the Aspen Music Festival and School’s summer programming. Additionally, Jenna McMurtry has joined Aspen Public Radio as a news intern for the 2022 summer season. McMurtry, who grew up in the Vail Valley and Summit County, is currently the editor of her university newspaper at Pomona College, and has been recognized by the California College Media Association and California News Publisher Association for her work. She says, “I couldn’t be more excited to embark on a summer experience with Aspen Public Radio. Having already learned so much with such an experienced staff, I can’t wait to see what the next few months bring.”

Haley Tidd will also join the station this summer as an audio production intern, supporting community engagement efforts by recording and producing audio in the studios, at live events, and in the field. Tidd, who is studying audio engineering technology with a minor in classical music at Belmont University School of Music, will manage the production of audio for station promos and support the station’s newly-announced Sonic ID initiative which launches this summer with support from the Aspen Chamber Resort Association. Tidd will also help the station expand its effort to capture more public programming throughout the region by assisting with the recording, production, and distribution of events hosted by a distinguished group of community partners, including:

These events will be archived at the station’s website, with select programs scheduled for broadcast on Aspen Public Radio, as a way for listeners to engage in thought-provoking conversations and hear locally-focused discussions taking place here in our community. Adding to this collection will be select events from Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ideas Festival, with 2022 marking the return of Aspen Public Radio’s live and special broadcasts, sharing festival highlights with listeners throughout the duration of the festival, thanks to support from Obermeyer Wood Investment Counsel. Full broadcast schedule coming soon.

“We’re delighted to collaborate with the Aspen Institute to bring these world-class events to a larger audience here throughout our community. It is so crucial to our mission, and allows us to be a convener in new, exciting ways,” says Aspen Public Radio executive director Breeze Richardson. “I was already looking forward to summer in the valley, but I am truly excited to hear the reporting our local newsroom will bring forward alongside this expansion of local content on our airwaves, thanks to our team of reporters and producers who proudly call this community home. This is the power of local journalism, and it’s such a privilege to be able to serve the valley in this way. Thank you to our staff, our community partners, and all of our listeners and supporters for making this work possible.”