Staff

Find out more about the WYSU staff! Additional staff contact information can be found in the staff directory on the YSU website.

Barbara Krauss

Title: Morning Edition / Classical Music Host
Email: krauss@wysu.org

Barbara KraussBarbara Krauss has the distinction of being the WYSU employee with the longest tenure. She was born and raised in Youngstown and attended the Youngstown State University Dana School of Music. During her undergraduate years, she worked at WYSU as a board operator and announcer. After accepting her bachelor's degree in music education, she was employed by the Austintown School District. In 1975, she was hired full-time at WYSU.

Since 2000, she has led the annual WYSU group tours to many exciting and exotic locations around the world. Her leadership during these trips is astounding and she has made many friends from around the world. Others have noticed her dedication; Barbara was recently presented with the YSU Distinguished Service Award for 2013. WYSU listeners can hear Barbara's lovely voice each morning during Morning Edition and her classical music program.

Barbara's family outside of WYSU includes two sons and her husband, Ron Krauss. She is a great cook, often sharing her recipes for bread and limoncello with her friends and co-workers. She says that the best thing about working at WYSU is the people she meets and the great music she hears every day.

Chris Hartman

Title: Associate Broadcast Engineer
Email: webmaster@wysu.org

Chris HartmanChris grew up on the north side of Youngstown and studied Classical Guitar Performance at Youngstown State University. He earned his undergraduate degree Summa Cum Laude from the Dana School of Music in 2009. While an undergraduate, Chris was hired at WYSU 88.5 FM as a student assistant, becoming a part-time employee in 2009. In 2010, Chris accepted full-time employment at the station.

Chris’s passion for music is rivaled only by his interest in technology. Outside of work, he enjoys exploring GNU/Linux and other free/open source software, and has recently received a certification in Computer Networking from YSU. He finds that his job at WYSU is a perfect fit, allowing him to address challenging problems in a relaxed atmosphere. Chris's favorite WYSU programs include Exploring Music, Fresh Air, Car Talk, Only a Game, and Marketplace.

In his free time, Chris plays in a folk/bluegrass band, teaches guitar, and occasionally runs long distances.

David Luscher

Title: Associate Director of Broadcasting
Email: luscher@wysu.org

David LuscherAs WYSU listeners may already know, David has one of the most recognizable voices in the Mahoning Valley! In addition to WYSU, he has worked at several radio stations including WBBG and WSTV/WRKY.

In 1992, while earning his undergraduate degree in Music Education from Youngstown State University, David accepted his first position at WYSU. He graduated in 1997 and was employed by the Steubenville School District where he taught music and broadcast journalism for several years. In 2001, David returned to WYSU as the Associate Director, a position he maintains along with his on-air duties. His favorite programs are Only A Game and Fresh Air.

In his free time, David enjoys traveling, especially around the southwestern United States, and says that his favorite aspect of his job at the station is working with creative and colorful coworkers.

Gary Sexton

Title: Director of Broadcasting
Email: sexton@wysu.org

Gary SextonGary Sexton has called Youngstown his home since 1987 when his wife, Sue, was hired as a professor of music at Youngstown State University. "I came along for the ride," he says, and what a ride it's been!

Gary grew up in Hartford, Michigan, and received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from West Michigan University in 1980 and his Master of Arts in Music from YSU in 1999. He studied the bass trombone, tenor trombone, and tuba. In 1990, he applied for an announcer/producer position at WYSU. He became Associate Director of Broadcasting in 1993 and Director in 2000. In both 1993 and 2011, he received the YSU Distinguished Service Award.

Nowadays, Gary focuses on other interests besides music. He is an avid runner and likes to spend as much time as possible hiking, backpacking, canoeing, or racing.

Seeing the impact the station has on others and how important WYSU is in their lives is what Gary loves most about working at the station. When asked what his favorite WYSU program was, he said, "I should say everything. It would actually be true."

George McCloud

Title: Looking Out Host
Email: gemccloud@ysu.edu

Dr. George McCloudDr. George McCloud grew up near Detroit, claiming Ann Arbor, Michigan, as his hometown. His academic and professional accomplishments are numerous. In 1997, George was awarded a position at Youngstown State University as the Dean of Fine and Performing Arts. He earned a BA in Communication from Eastern Michigan University, and an MA and Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Michigan. George was a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at Princeton, studied academic administration at Harvard, and learned about Chinese history and culture at the East West Center, the University of Hawaii, and Beijing University.

While a graduate student, McCloud worked professionally in radio and TV and was a faculty member at Eastern Michigan for ten years. Previous jobs include Hospital Administrator at the University of Michigan, Dean at William Peterson University in New Jersey, Associate Dean and Dean Assistant to the Provost at YSU. He has also been employed as Executive Counsel for the President at YSU, Director of Strategic Planning at Eastern Michigan University, and Tenured Associate Professor at EMU.

McCloud was promoted to YSU Vice President in 2001 returned to faculty status in 2010. He is the current host of Looking Out, a WYSU-produced half-hour program devoted to current events featuring experts on a variety of local, national, and global issues.

In his free time, George reads extensively, gardens, sails, and spends time with his dog, Zoe. His favorite WYSU programs include All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Classical Music with Barbara Krauss. According to George, WYSU's most valued treasure is "the people and the ideas they have!"

 

Gina Marinelli

Title: Host, Doing Good

Gina Marinelli is a native of the Mahoning Valley and a graduate of Youngstown State University. She is best known for her 23-year career as a broadcast journalist, starting in the radio newsroom of WKBN 570 and quickly making the short move to reporter for WKBN 27 First News. From there, Gina transitioned to the anchor desk at WKBN, which she shared for many years with the legendary Tom Holden.

Gina’s reporting skills broke many stories and earned numerous awards from the Associated Press. After Holden’s death in 2005, she moved to WYTV Channel 33, the local ABC affiliate, where she anchored and reported. She left broadcasting in 2007.

Gina now works as a development officer for the Humility of Mary Health Partners Foundation. She has raised six million dollars for the creation of the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center at St. Elizabeth Health Center, has been nominated twice for an Athena Award, and is a member of YSU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.

She lives in Boardman with her 8-year-old son, Jacob.

Laurie Wittkugle

Title: Administrative Assistant
Email: lwittkugle@ysu.edu

As the administrative assistant, Laurie is the main contact for all membership and day sponsorship information at WYSU! She came to the station in July of 2008 and earned Youngstown State University Distinguished Service Awards in 2011 and 2012.  She is an enormous fan of the station, finding news and special interest programming her favorite things to listen to on 88.5 FM.  Laurie can sum up what she likes about her job in one word: "Variety."

Martin Berger

Title: Now's the Time Host
Email: meberger@ysu.edu

Martin BergerMartin Berger is known to listeners as the host of the weekend jazz program Now’s the Time. Hundreds of Youngstown State University students also know him as Dr. Martin Berger, Professor Emeritus, in the Department of History at YSU.

Martin is a Columbus native who came to YSU in the fall of 1969 to teach history. He retired in 2005 but continues to teach part time in the YSU Department of History.

Martin remembers when WYSU first went on air with a jazz show from WRVR in New York. When that broadcast was no longer available, a YSU student filled the two-hour time slot. The student eventually graduated and moved on, so Martin took over Now's the Time. Largely inspired by colleague Charles Darling of WYSU's Folk Festival, Martin recorded his first show which aired on December 2nd, 1972. Not surprisingly, his favorite WYSU programs are the Jazz Sofa, Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me, Says You, Car Talk, NPR News, and classical music.

Outside of work, Martin says he "fights entropy by restoring old cars." He and his wife have three children, three grandchildren, and five cats.

In his own words, Martin explains that he loves working at the station because it allows him "the opportunity to be a small part of public radio's all-important effort to preserve an outpost of civilization and sanity."

Rick Popovich

Title: Jazz Sofa Host
Email: popovich@wysu.org

Rick PopovichThe popular host of WYSU's Jazz Sofa for nearly 20 years, Rick Popovich is a Youngstown native who graduated from Chaney High School and Youngstown State University. Rick's jazz background and musical qualifications landed him on board when the station expanded jazz programming in 1994. "Jazz is a natural extension of my fundamental interest in music," he explains.

Rick's music degree at YSU was followed by a master's degree in film, telecommunications, and music at Ohio University in 1992. Beside his work at WYSU 88.5 FM, he gives private lessons to guitar students at his studio and is a substitute teacher at Canfield Middle School. His many musical talents include bass, vocals, and audio production. In his free time he gigs across the country with various groups.

Rick and his long-time girlfriend live in rural Mahoning County with their three dogs. He enjoys many of WYSU's programs, especially the classical music programs with Barbara Krauss and Gary Sexton. The piano puzzlers are also a favorite! Rick says he has always been a fan of public radio and WYSU because "it goes much deeper than the superficial programming on commercial radio." He adds, "WYSU has always had a certain character that stands in stark contrast to what is found elsewhere on the radio dial."

Ron Krauss

Title: Broadcast Engineer
Email: engineering@wysu.org

Ron KraussRon Krauss grew up in Salem, Ohio and came to Youngstown in 1970 to attend Youngstown State University. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in music performance from Dana School of Music in 1992. Ron enjoyed a long career in electronics before coming to YSU's Electronics Maintenance Services in 1993. He was hired at WYSU in 2005. Ron sums it up like this: "I have worked in electronics for 50 years and in radio for over 25."

Ron's professional interests spill into his life outside of work. He likes to collect and edit recorded music, comedy, and dramatic performances from all areas and styles - "a lifelong hobby," he says. Ron is married to Barbara Krauss, one of WYSU's classical music hosts. "She has been at WYSU longer than we have been together – many years. Don't ask!" Ron says. They have two grown children and four cats.

As for his favorite programs at WYSU, Ron says they change all the time. Right now he likes the classical programming, including the weekly concerts on WYSU's classical service. He also is a fan of A Prairie Home Companion and Says You. He doesn't mind sharing the many reasons he loves working in radio. In his own words, he enjoys the chance to "exercise creativity on the technical side of things." He adds, "It's good to work in an environment where the sole objective is not to make money; rather to deliver alternative and meaningful content in a consistent and high quality fashion."

Tricia Perry

Title: Funding Officer
Email: perry@wysu.org

Tricia PerryTricia Perry has come full circle. Just out of college, in 1988, she began her professional broadcasting career at WHOT. After many years as a radio and TV reporter, she is now well into a new career as a fundraiser and back in radio at WYSU.

Tricia is a native of the Mahoning Valley, graduating from Poland Seminary High School in 1984. She attended Bowling Green State University to earn a BA in Communications. She returned to the area to be near family and got her first job reporting for WHOT. "They had a pretty big news staff back then, and that’s where I learned how to how to report. Youngstown is a great town for news," Tricia says.

From WHOT, she moved on to WKBN in 1991, reporting for radio and television. She stayed for 17 years, earning 10 Associated Press awards for broadcast reporting and writing, as well as a Woman of the Year award from the YWCA. During her WKBN years, she developed a love of history, which lead her to enroll at Youngstown State University. Ten years later, in 2008, she completed her Master's degree.

At that time, Tricia decided to change careers and found that her knowledge of the Mahoning Valley community translated well to fundraising. For nearly five years she served as the Events Coordinator at the Rich Center for Autism at YSU, moving to WYSU in 2013.

In her spare time, Tricia likes to have fun with her daughter, read, cook for family and friends, and travel when she can. When asked what her favorite WYSU programs are, she says the Jazz Sofa when it comes to music, but otherwise, she is an NPR news junkie, with a daily dose of Fresh Air to go.

Tricia finds working at the station to be a good fit for her. "I am so happy to be here!" she says.

Willie Lofton

Title: Late Night Jazz Host

Willie LoftonWillie Lofton, otherwise know as Bill Lee, did not have his mind set on radio when he first considered a career. A graduate of Struthers High School, he first studied accounting when he enrolled at Youngstown State University in the 1970s. He also wanted to be a news reporter. "It didn’t turn out that way!" he says. His goals changed when he joined the Black Broadcasting Coalition and got part-time employment as a rock and roll disc jockey at WFMJ. He's been in the business ever since.

In 1988, Willie re-enrolled at YSU to earn a communications degree. At that time he was working at WANR in Warren playing music and hosting talk and sports shows, a job that gave him experience in many musical genres excluding country western and classical. That changed, however, in 1993 when he became a volunteer production assistant at WYSU. Willie says that the interesting names of artists and pieces of classical music captured his attention. The classical hours are still his favorite programs on WYSU.

Since 1995, Willie has produced the jazz show that airs late every Saturday night. His deep, smooth voice has been a staple of the program since it first aired.

Outside of work, Willie likes to read, sing in his church choir, and visit with his brother. He is happy that he found and stuck with WYSU. "I just like broadcasting, period,” he says. “No matter what it is! And all the people here [at WYSU], they know their music!"