Yellow Springs audio center names new leader



Basim Blunt has been named executive director of the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices in Yellow Springs. He began his role July 1.

The Eichelberger Center For Community Voices was born at WYSO in 2010. It trains community members in the art of audio storytelling, produces original audio series and podcasts, preserves WYSO’s archival audio, and works with historically black colleges and universities to preserve their archival audio.

Blunt is the founder of Dayton Youth Radio, a longtime WYSO producer, and an alumnus of one of the first Community Voices classes. He succeeds Neenah Ellis, who founded the Community Voices program at WYSO in 2010 and grew it into a standalone center, which she has led since 2019.

“Basim has played a key role in the work of the center up til now,” said Ellis in a press release. “I know that he and his team are going to take it to the next level.”

Blunt is an award-winning media professional with nearly 30 years of production and teaching experience. He started as a television production instructor at Time Warner cable access in the late 1990s, was an instructor at the International College of Broadcasting in Dayton, and through Dayton Youth Radio and in other capacities, has taught audio production to hundreds of students at several Dayton-area high schools and as an adjunct professor at Antioch College.

Among his many awards are “Best Documentary” for “Boogie Nights: A History of Funk in Dayton” from the Ohio Associated Press, an award for Dayton Youth Radio from the Public Media Journalists Association and “Best Soft News Feature” in the student category from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. He has also hosted “Behind the Groove,” a funk music show, on Friday nights on WYSO for nine years.

As the senior media producer for the Center, Blunt has notably worked with and been mentored by Ellis for a decade, developing the Dayton Youth Radio program as well as series such as “The Race Project,” which records conversations between people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

“Basim has built such solid relationships with WYSO’s audience and has a deep understanding of how to build community through authentic conversations,” said WYSO General Manager Luke Dennis. “He embodies the Center’s mission and is the perfect person to continue the important work it does to amplify all local voices.”

Organizers note Ellis has worked in public radio (including at NPR) for more than 40 years, 14 of which she has been at WYSO, most of that time as general manager. She is retiring from full-time work to become an independent producer again.

“I look forward to this new chapter of my professional life,” she said. “The work that WYSO has allowed me to do has been so meaningful, and this community has been the most supportive place to do it. I can’t wait to see (and hear) what happens next — for me and for the Center under Basim’s leadership.”

A celebration honoring Ellis’ career is being planned for the fall.

“We’ve been lucky to have her for this long,” Dennis said. “And we want to acknowledge her immense contribution to the station and to public broadcasting.”

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