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Four more CapRadio board members resign amid fallout from audit of station’s finances

CapRadio's current headquarters on the campus of Sacramento State University on Sept. 28, 2023.
Chris Hagan
/
CapRadio
CapRadio's current headquarters on the campus of Sacramento State University on Sept. 28, 2023.

Four more Capital Public Radio board members resigned Wednesday and another top executive also left the NPR member station in the latest leadership changes at the troubled broadcaster.

The changes come one week after 14 board members resigned, many citing a lack of support and communication from the university following a devastating audit that found significant financial mismanagement at CapRadio and called into question the station's ability to pay for two costly downtown projects — a new headquarters and a performance space.

Wednesday's resignations all come from board members currently working at Sacramento State: Lorelei Bayne, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance; Marya Endriga, an associate dean; Antoinette Vojtech, executive director of principal gifts; and Jonathan Bowman, the university's chief financial officer and vice president for Administration and Business Affairs.

Bowman was recently appointed by Sac State as administrator in charge to CapRadio.

In a statement, Sac State did not provide a reason for the resignations and said it did not anticipate further changes on the board, though it anticipates further shifts in the operation of CapRadio.

"More changes are anticipated as Sac State and CapRadio respond to recommendations in the CSU audit, and while they await results of a forensic examination commissioned by Sac State to determine underlying causes of CapRadio’s problems," the university wrote.

One of those is the departure of Shirlee Tully on Thursday, the chief brand and development officer for CapRadio. In her role, Tully oversaw the station's marketing and fundraising operations.

The station has seen numerous leadership changes over the past few years. Rick Eytcheson retired as general manager in 2020 after serving in that role since 2006. He was replaced by Jun Reina, another CapRadio longtime employee, who had been the station’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer. Eytcheson stayed on at the station as president emeritus until June 30, 2023.

Then in March 2023, the CapRadio board announced that it would begin a search for a new general manager, with Reina staying on until the new leader was in place. Reina left CapRadio in June.

According to the university, only seven board members remain, including interim General Manager Tom Karlo, who serves as an ex officio member. Also remaining are Sac State student body president Nataly Andrade-Dominguez and Chico State Interim Provost Terence Lau. CapRadio operates North State Public Radio in Chico.

Andrade-Dominguez called for the board officers and finance committee to step on Oct. 2. She said that since joining the board this summer, many practices “did not sit well,” including not properly notifying the public of agendas in advance or whether meetings would take place in person or remotely.

"Someone who's coming in new and seeing the amount of debt that they are in, it raised a huge flag," she said on CapRadio's Insight. "Because how does that go on for so long? So it wasn't sitting right with me in the beginning. And then as I read the audit and I continued to hear things, the reaction of the board, it was just all red flags that were occurring to me."

On Oct. 4, 13 board members sent a resignation letter to Karlo and university President Luke Wood, detailing what the board members called "a failure of Sac State to inform and engage with the board in a good faith effort to resolve CapRadio's financial issues."

The board and university also disagreed on whether the station should move forward with hiring a new general manager. In a closed-session vote, the board voted to continue with the process, while Sac State said it would not support or fund the position, with a posted base salary of around $300,000 plus benefits.

In the letter, board members said university officials offered to support the position, but only if the board members resigned.

"Through all of this we have continued to believe that the station is best served through a true partnership of Sac State and the Board of Directors," the board members wrote. "The dynamic has now shifted in a direction that we do not understand structurally and that we disagree with strategically."

Board Treasurer Bena Arao, a director of the business and administrative services at Sac State, resigned the next day but did not sign the letter.

In an emailed statement sent Wednesday morning, Karlo said Sac State is working with the CSU Chancellor's office on how to repopulate the CapRadio board.

Disclosure: This story was reported and written by News Editor Chris Hagan and edited by Insight Host Vicki Gonzalez and Digital Editor Claire Morgan. Following NPR’s protocol for reporting on itself, no CapRadio corporate official or news executive reviewed this story before it was posted publicly.

Chris Hagan is the Managing Editor, Digital Content for CapRadio.