New England Public Media hires VP of content and audience strategy, adds to content and sales teams


New England Public Media (NEPM) is pleased to announce significant updates to its team, including the creation of a new position being filled by an internal candidate, three current team member promotions and two new additions.

John Sutton, who currently serves as the NEPM interim chief content officer, has accepted the newly established position of vice president of content and audience strategy.

"In this pioneering role, John will develop the strategy and plan to make NEPM the indispensable guide to western Mass.,” says Matt Abramovitz, president of NEPM. “After months of searching, John stood out because of his many years of strategic and programming consulting in the public radio system, as well as his experience in-house at NPR and Pittsburgh's WESA. In his one-year role as interim CCO, John directly shaped the plan of NEPM’s format buildout, helped launch ‘The Rundown with Carrie Saldo,’ and led initiatives like Hunger Awareness Week and the rollout of NEPM’s newest podcast, ‘The Secrets We Keep,’ bringing together our content and marketing teams in new and promising ways.”

Sutton started his public media career in 1987 as NPR’s head of on-air promotion and fundraising. During his 10 years at NPR, he also led the network’s audience research department, sat on its programming strategies board, and founded the public radio’s On-air Fundraising Partnership. He started his own consulting business in 1997, providing research, programming, fundraising, marketing and management consulting services clients such as WGBH, WBUR, New Hampshire Public Radio, Rhode Island Public Radio, WNYC, NPR, PRI, CPB, Car Talk and Marketplace Productions. In 2017, Sutton joined WESA, Pittsburgh's NPR News station, as general manager. He also served as the VP of audiences and revenue for WESA’s parent organization, Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting. A native of Pittsburgh, Sutton fell in love with the power of media to make people’s lives better thanks to KDKA, KQV, WDVE, WQED and of course, Fred Rogers.

Rebeckah Egan has been promoted to the role of sales director. Since joining NEPM in January, Egan has shown exceptional talent as a salesperson and strategist. Her promotion to sales director in May sees her overseeing a team of four account executives. With more than 15 years of experience in media sales and advertising leadership, Egan previously managed digital advertising at Tribune Publishing within the Hartford Courant Media Group. She holds an MBA from Western New England University and is an alumna of Westfield State University. A native of western Massachusetts, Egan is actively involved in youth athletics and enjoys thrift shopping, indulging in strong tea, watching cooking shows and spending time with her husband and two sons.

Ayu Suryawan, who initially joined NEPM in 2023 as a part-time soundboard operator for the radio show "All Things Considered," transitioned into the role of digital producer for "The Fabulous 413" and "The Rundown with Carrie Saldo" in March. They were hired to a full-time position with the station this month. A graduate in psychology and film studies from Mount Holyoke College, Suryawan discovered a passion for radio at the campus radio station, WMHC 91.5 FM, where they held various leadership positions, including general manager. Suryawan's achievements include winning the Best of Festival award in the Documentary category at the Five College Film Festival in spring 2023. Outside of work, Suryawan is an artist, classically trained pianist, home cook and enjoys hiking or soaking in the warmth of a sunny day outdoors.

Nirvani Williams came to NEPM in 2021 as a Report for America corps member, and now joins the newsroom as a full-time reporter covering socio-economic disparities in western Massachusetts. Prior to joining NEPM, she was the associate editor for Seema magazine, working with writers and editors on stories about challenges facing women in the Indian diaspora. She covered multiple daily stories as an intern at WSHU, the NPR affiliate in Long Island, New York and Fairfield, Connecticut. At Stony Brook University, Nirvani was the executive editor of the Stony Brook Press, the student-run culture magazine. Nirvani recently won a Public Media Journalists Association Award for her feature, "New law takes effect, but still not easy for undocumented immigrants to get Mass. driver’s licenses," which earned a first place distinction in the Government and Democracy Feature category.

Teresa Bendzinski joined the NEPM team in April as major gifts officer. Bendzinski has been working in the non-profit industry for well over a decade with several years of experience in development. Prior to joining NEPM she was the director of annual giving at the School of Leadership, Afghanistan where she worked for eight years. She has a master’s from the London School of Economics and a BA from Gordon College. Bendzinski is an ardent supporter of her local community and serves in her town’s Rotary Club and Cultural Council. While she isn’t busy working or volunteering, she loves reading and is an avid hiker.

NEPM welcomed Mandi Garfield as an account executive in May. With a media career beginning in 1997, Garfield's passion for the radio and TV industry remains unwavering. Having previously worked at commercial radio companies Audacy and Clear Channel, primarily in the Connecticut market, Garfield brings a wealth of experience to her role at NEPM. Outside of work, Garfield enjoys arranging flowers, hiking and spending time with her 3 ½ year old yellow lab, Maisy, who occasionally will join a Zoom meeting. A lifelong New Englander, Garfield was born and raised outside of Boston and currently resides in Glastonbury, Connecticut.

“We are very fortunate to welcome so many talented people to Team NEPM,” said Abramovitz. “I admire their diverse perspectives, deep experience, and clear dedication to our mission.”

About New Englad Public Media:

New England Public Media enriches people’s lives in western Massachusetts and beyond by nurturing curiosity, inspiring community engagement and reflecting the unique joys of living here. NEPM is the region’s source for PBS and NPR programs and for locally produced news, video and music content.

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