WRFI Board of Directors
WRFI is community owned and operated.
Get to know the Ithaca Community Radio Board of Directors.
Joseph Haefeli (he/him)
President, Board Member
Joseph Haefeli was formerly the Director of Technology (including radio) for the College of Performing and Visual Arts of the University of Northern Colorado. Since his arrival as a volunteer in 2014, he has been a dynamo around the station. He has played a key role in the design and renovation of WRFI’s Studio B, the overhaul and reorganization of our signal chain, the installation of a new IP telephone system, as well as numerous other improvements.
John Young (he/him)
Treasurer, Board Member
John caught the radio bug as a student, when he became a regular DJ and served as Assistant Engineer and board member at KRLX-Northfield (Minnesota), the voice of Carleton College.
As a professional musician, he has performed or been featured on national programs such as NPR’s Weekend Edition and World Café, as well as on many local stations across America. As a writer and researcher on the global environment and related issues, he has made hundreds of appearances on radio networks around the world, including NPR, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle, and the BBC. When he’s not on the radio, he’s probably listening to it.
Alexandra Ackert-Smith (she/her)
Recorder, Board Member
Alex got her start working in public media at Capital Public Radio, a California-based NPR member station. She moved to Ithaca to pursue a Master of Public Health at Cornell University, where she is a Global Game Changer Scholarship recipient and rides on the dressage team. Alex is currently a producer for the Tompkins Food Future podcast.
Stephen Cope (he/him)
Vice-President, Board Member
Stephen Cope is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, where his teaching and research focuses on Global Modernism. He is the founder and long time host of “Conference of the Birds,” a radio program and podcast of classical, folk, and experimental musics from around the globe. The program first aired in the early 90s on KZSC radio in Santa Cruz California, where Cope spent two years as music and program director, and has since aired on radio stations in San Diego and now Ithaca.
With Eula Biss and Catherine Taylor, Cope founded Essay Press in 2008, a non-profit imprint devoted to the publication in book-form of innovative non-fiction writing. As a writer, Cope is widely published, and his poems, essays, reviews (of literature and of music), and articles have appeared internationally in venues ranging from academic journals to popular print magazine and periodicals to online zines.
Robin Elliot (she/they)
Carlos Gutierrez (he/him)
Carlos was born in Chile. He received a BA in Sociology from Colorado State University and MPS from Alfred University, NY. After working for NYS – Office of Children and Family Services. He worked for the Tompkins County Workers’ Center as an Occupational Safety and Health Trainer and Immigrant Advocate. Carlos has participated in several community organizations’ boards such as Cornell Cooperative Extension, The Leadership Team at the Tompkins County Workers’ Center, The Latino Civic Association and the Mid-State Council for Occupational Safety and Health. Carlos has developed strong roots in the Ithaca community. For the last five years Carlos has hosted Alcance Latino a radio program in Spanish at WRFI.
Joe Romano (he/him)
Joe Romano was the Marketing Manager at GreenStar Natural Foods Market for over a decade. Before his tenure at GreenStar, Joe played out in five bands in NYC and worked in film and television in NYC for 20 years. Before that, he taught English Literature and Creative Writing at the City University of New York. He has a wife, a daughter and two cats, (in that order), and currently resides in Ithaca, NY.
Corinne Shanahan (she/her)
Corinne is passionate about fostering local broadcast platforms that promote diverse, engaging, and collaborative programmers and content. She has more than 5 years of experience in radio, after first becoming enamored by the airwaves in college. Most recently, she spent several years as a show host and member of the leadership team of Rochester's WAYO 104.3 FM, a pioneer in the modern low-powered radio movement. Currently, Corinne works as the Director of Operations & Quality Management of a non-profit outpatient mental health clinic in Elmira, NY.
Chantal Thomas (she/her)
Chantal’s experience in radio began in Montreal, Quebec, at the Canadian station CKUT, a nonprofit, campus-community radio station affiliated with McGill University where Chantal studied political science as an undergraduate.
Upon moving to Ithaca, Chantal returned to radio broadcasting as WRFI volunteer and co-host of WRFI’s “Human Rights and Social Justice” program. She has made media appearances with other local and national outlets, such as WVBR, NY1 News, C-SPAN, and PBS Newshour. Her daytime gig involves teaching at Cornell Law School, where she is Professor of Law and also directs the Clarke Initiate for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa. Previously, Chantal chaired the Law Department of the American University in Cairo, and has consulted internationally for USAID and the US State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Law.
David Walton (he/him)
Moving to Central New York from the Bay Area, David's day job consists of creating opportunities for connections and communication between businesses, community members and not for profit organizations as an event planner. At Howard University, David learned the importance of making yourself versatile in many areas so you are a commodity within your organization. With a variety of professional experiences that range from hosting a National TV show, radio host at WHUR in D.C. and middle school administrator; David's skills include public speaking, marketing, team building, professional development, strategic implementation, and company collaboration. In addition to being on the WRFI Board, "D Walt" also volunteers as the host of Fr33 Samples, airing Saturday nights from 8-10pm.
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