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Rotary Happenings: Rotarians hear from WGCU Public Media GM, CEO

By Staff | Jun 23, 2020
PHOTO PROVIDED WGCU Public Media General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Rick Johnson was the guest speaker for the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club's recent meeting.

At the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club’s recent Zoom meeting, WGCU Public Media (PBS/NPR) General Manager Rick Johnson was the guest speaker. As chief executive officer, he is responsible for the overall operations of full-power public television and radio services licensed to the Florida Gulf Coast University. WGCU-TV offers five channels and serves a monthly audience of over 300,000 Southwest Floridians. WGCU-FM and WGCU-HD radio has more than 140,000 weekly listeners within SWFL. Johnson has overall responsibility for all of the production, programming, engineering, operations, communications and fundraising activities undertaken by WGCU Public Media, and he represents the interests of the stations on the local, state and national level.

WGCU was ranked as the No. 1 public television station in the United States based on market penetration, reaching 83.6 percent of all local households – 452,386 households – or over 1 million individuals out of a population base of about 1.2 million. Interestingly, it was ranked No. 2 – 84.6 percent – in the country in market penetration in homes with less than $40,000 in household income. It has won numerous awards and recognition, including the Suncoast Regional Emmy Award in 2017 and 2018, National Murrow Award for Breaking News Coverage in 2018, and 30 Associated Press Awards from 2018-2020. In 2018, WGCU Public Media won the Business of the Year, sponsored by a local media outlet, and is held to honor the people, organizations and businesses who have made a significant difference in Southwest Florida in the past year.

Students of FGCU are able to profit from the opportunity of having an on-campus, award-winning TV and radio service as interns within the program. Just imagine the experiences afforded to them being able to watch, see and learn the many facets of public media in their backyard.

In light of COVID-19, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club is meeting on Fridays at 7 a.m. via Zoom. To take part or for more information, visit sanibelrotary.org or “http://www.facebook.com/sancaprotary”>www.facebook.com/sancaprotary.