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

Gary Sexton

Title: Director of Broadcasting

Gary SextonGary Sexton has worked at WYSU-FM since 1990, and been director since 2000. Gary received his undergraduate degree in music at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, and his graduate degree, also in music, at Youngstown State University. He spends his free time seeking out the wild places in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, running the trails, and identifying the wild flora and fauna around him. He is married to Susan Sexton, happily living on the North Side of Youngstown.

Rick Popovich

Title: Jazz Sofa Host

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."

David Luscher

Title: Associate Director of Broadcasting

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.

Ron Krauss

Title: Broadcast Engineer

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."

Martin Berger

Title: Now's the Time Host

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."

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!"

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 works as a development officer for the Mercy Health 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 the YSU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.

She lives in Boardman with her son, Jacob.

Cindy Bella

Title: Administrative Assistant

Cindy Bella is no stranger to Youngstown State University where she worked in the Office of the Bursar from 2000 to 2014. She is a new face at WYSU as of October 2014, taking the job of administrative assistant for the radio station.

A 1975 graduate of Austintown Fitch High School, Cindy grew up in Austintown. She received a BS in Business Administration from YSU in 1981, and later an MBA, also from YSU.

Tackling a new job has been a challenge, but Cindy says she is learning. "There is so much to learn, but the WYSU staff is great, and it has been a good move," she says. She loves listening to the news programming that WYSU airs.

Cindy has two grown children: her daughter, Elaina, followed her mom to YSU and graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in science. Elaina recently moved from Texas back to the Mahoning Valley. Cindy’s son, George, is currently in US Navy stationed in Louisiana. He is married to Paige and they have a son.

Since her children have been on their own, living far away for the most part, Cindy fills her time by going out with friends and doing some of her favorite things including listening to live music, going to movies, and of course, visiting her children and grandson when possible.

Ed Goist

Title: Coordinator / All Things Considered Host

Ed GoistEd Goist, a Youngstown native, returned to WYSU-FM as Coordinator in 2018 after spending four years in YSU’s Office of Alumni Engagement. Prior to his time with Alumni Engagement, Ed was the development officer for WYSU from 2005 to 2014.

Ed received his BA degree in Philosophy from YSU in 1982. His past professional background includes extensive experience in the areas of non-profit fundraising, direct sales, and sales management. Ed’s hobbies include: playing the guitar, fine wine and micro-beer appreciation, reading, cooking, and spending time with his wife Laura and three adult children, Mindy, Dan, and Robin.

Ed enjoys all of the programming on WYSU. Some of his favorite programs include: Fresh Air, All Things Considered, Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me, and The New Yorker Radio Hour.

Carolyn Van Valien

Title: Morning Announcer

Gary SextonCarolyn Van Valien is the local Host of NPR's Morning Edition on WYSU-FM 88.5 since May 2019. She has worked most of her professional life in radio. Carolyn is an alumni of Youngstown State University, graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications. She was the News Director and Morning Show Co-host on 95.1 for almost 10 years. Past radio jobs include 95.9, 98.9, WPIC 790, Y -103, AM 1200, AM 1540-1570, and WYSU-FM as an intern. She has also voiced several commercials over the years and hosted a Country music report on local television. Carolyn is from Hubbard and resides there with her significant other, Vince and two young daughters, Lauren and Anna. In her free time, she enjoys home improvement projects, crafts, cooking, gardening, shopping, and spending time with her family.

Melissa Limpose

Title: Broadcast Engineer

Melissa LimposeMelissa has lived in Northeast Ohio her whole life. She grew up on a small dairy farm, but she’s always been into tech. She wrote her first computer program when she was 10 years old on an Atari 800XL.

She received a B.A. in Communication in 1998 and a B.S. in Computer Science in 2000, both from Kent State. She started graduate school in fall of 2000 and taught at KSU for a couple of years, while also working as a Programmer/Analyst. However, she felt like she had another calling. In 2002, she was hired as a Broadcast Engineer at Clear Channel Radio (IheartMedia), and while learning the job, she became fascinated with RF transmission. She stayed there for almost 19 years, until June of 2021, when she came to WYSU.

Currently, she lives with her husband and two teenagers, and she tries to be a good role model for them. Because of this, she enrolled here at YSU in 2013 and finished her Master’s degree in CIS. She is hoping they see the value in learning new things and continue to be inspired to, no matter how old they get.

In her spare time she likes to spend time with family and friends. Between their piano lessons and hockey practices, she tries to get her kids out and exploring nature. She has an interest in paranormal events and likes to look for evidence with friends in the hopes of capturing some kind of “proof”, but this is done with a light-hearted approach, just for fun...unless they actually find something!