About Us

AIR was born in 1988 by a group of ten independent producers* sitting around a kitchen table on Murray Street in NYC. (Listen to our Founders' Montage.) The organization has since grown into a global social and professional network of 900+ producers – both independent and those employed by media organizations – representing an extensive range of disciplines, from NPR news journalists and reporters, to sound artists, station station-based producers, podcasters, gearheads, media activists, and more. The medium of sound is what unites our membership, and in this 21st century world, AIR’s members are rapidly diversifying and expanding their craft as they cut new edges in digital public media.

AIR is the primary advocate for producers in public and commercial media and its training programs have helped hone the technical, editorial, and strategic skills of hundreds of media professionals. The AIRdaily’s vibrant 24x7 discussion group is a daily destination for hundreds of members who interact on-line each day. To learn more about AIR and our vibrant community of makers, read our blog, subscribe to our mailing list, or contact us at join@airmedia.org or 617.825.4400.

Sue Schardt
Executive Director
Sue Schardt is a respected radio veteran and award-winning producer whose path has taken her through public, commercial, community, and international media. She founded SchardtMEDIA Strategies in 1998 to focus on independent, ideas-driven projects and worked extensively with the networks and leading stations and producers across the country. She assumed leadership of AIR, a growing, 800-member organization in September 2007. AIR marks 2011 with the launch of Localore, a significant new initiative with new CPB funding for producer-led projects designed to turbo-charge public media’s innovation capacity. With other industry leaders, she presented at FCC on the Future of Media in the Digital Age in Spring 2010.  Schardt also serves as a Director of the DI Committee of the NPR board, sits on the advisory board of Native Voice One – the Native American Radio Service -- and is an Artistic Advisor to NPR’s From the Top. She is a long-time volunteer music DJ on free-form radio station WMBR in Cambridge, MA. 

Rebecca Feldhaus Adams

Talent Manager
As the Talent Manager, Rebecca (you can call her Bec) is responsible for engaging with AIR's diverse membership. Prior to coming to AIR, Bec was the coordinator of regional outreach at Murray State University where she connected with school superintendents to strengthen relationships between districts and the university. At MSU, she completed a masters degree while also producing independent audio pieces with her colleague Shelly Baskin under the banner of baskhaus radio group. Bec got her start in radio at WKMS, spent some time in print at the Paducah Sun and has been seen in local and national magazines from time to time. An audio super fan, Bec is a fierce lover and promoter of Kentucky, her home state.

Betsy O'Donovan
Social/Media Strategist
Betsy is a little obsessed with digital media and the future of journalism. As a fellow at Harvard's Nieman Foundation for Journalism, she studied the values propositions that led to the collapse of the newspaper industry's business model. As a master's degree candidate at Trinity College Dublin, she examined digital disruption and innovation in the book publishing industry. She's an alumna of print newsrooms in Alabama, Idaho, Nebraska and North Carolina, a volunteer mentor with The Op-Ed Project, and a founding member of WIN (Women in News). She studied English at Wake Forest University, which is sometimes useful in her professional life, and concentrated on medieval literature, which is sometimes useful in making strangers walk away at parties.

Noland Walker
Executive Editor, Localore
Noland Walker is the Peabody Award-winning producer/director of “Revolution,” an episode of PBS’ Africans in America series (1998).  He is also an Emmy winner for his work as a producer/director on the television documentary A Day in the Life of Jeremiah Burke High School (2001).  He wrote and co-produced the Emmy nominated documentary Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple (2006) and his film Citizen King (co-writer, co-director) won critical acclaim around the nation as well as internationally. He produced and co-wrote the documentary feature Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story (2008) and teaches writing at Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia.

Jessica Clark
Jessica Clark is an online producer, researcher and journalist focused on media, technology, and what drives change. From 2007 through mid-2011 she directed the Future of Public Media initiative at American University’s Center for Social Media and contributed to a number of related projects: helping to launch the Public Media Corps, co-organizing the Beyond Broadcast and Public Media Camp conferences, and writing regularly for PBS MediaShift. She has co-authored several influential publications on shifts in journalism and public media, including Spreading the Zing: Re-Imagining Public Media through Makers Quest 2.0 with AIR Executive Director Sue Schardt, and Beyond the Echo Chamber (New Press, 2010).

Samantha Schongalla
Sam is a free spirit, in true AIR form. You may find her composing custom graphics from the rainy streets of Portland Oregon, or hand coding HTML in a New York City café. Sam proudly lays claim to her very own web and graphic design business, “Schongalla”, a gnarly creature with beginnings that are directly linked to her foray into public radio and support from AIR. Just as it has been, her whatsits and whereabouts will continue to be dictated by the winds.



Deb George, Feature Editor
Stevie Beck, Copy Editor

AIR Board of Directors and Advisors

*AIR was incorporated on November 15, 1988.  The founding members were:
Lauren Krenzel
Jay Allison
Stephen Erickson, President
Deborah Begel
Karen Michel
Marjorie Van Halteren
Susan Poulsen-Krogh
Sandy Tolan
Steve Rathe
Karen Frillman

Disclaimer: AIR is a 504 compliant organization with policies that do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, age, race, color, national or ethnic origin, or disability in administration of its hiring practices, membership, or programming policies.