WFAE is one of the American Journalism Project’s two pilot investments in public radio, structured to explore public media’s role in filling the local news void.

The station’s multimedia work, prioritization of community information needs in and around Charlotte, North Carolina, and engagement strategy are best-in-class in the sector. Its commitment to historically underserved communities has built one of the most diverse audiences in public broadcasting and demonstrates a model for growing revenue opportunities by serving new audiences.

With support from the American Journalism Project, WFAE will pursue complex, later-stage revenue diversification and growth strategies that leverage its digital, multimedia, and experiential programming.


  • Joe O’Connor joined WFAE as CEO in 2015 after being the inaugural CEO and a key founder of Rhode Island Public Media. Joe was previously a senior producer at WBUR and a leader and producer in commercial broadcast TV, including at CNN and ABC, where he spent 22 years and won five Emmy Awards for his work. He currently sits on the board of directors of NPR, where he focuses on NPR’s revenue and audience strategies, and he was previously a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.
  • Ju-Don Marshall is a key architect of WFAE’s current mission and vision. She joined WFAE after more than 30 years of experience as a media executive and journalist. She has overseen newsroom, product, and engineering teams at News Corp. and The Washington Post, where she spent 17 years and oversaw its digital team as managing editor. She currently serves on the board of public broadcasting revenue support organization Greater Public.