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Board of Trustees

WBGO Newark Public Radio is a 501(c)(3), and as such it is governed by an independent Board of Trustees that meets regularly throughout the year. The Board Chair is Karl Frederic. A portion of the Board of Trustees meetings are open to the public, as noted below. As permitted by law, portions of WBGO Board of Trustees meetings, and various Committee meetings, may be closed to the public. Those meetings and the reasons for closure are noted below.

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees will take place:

Thursday, December 15, 2022, @12 noon
Watch this space for updates.

WBGO Board of Trustees

Contact the WBGO Board of Trustees using the form at the bottom of this page.

Board of Trustees

Newton J. Burkett
Tara Dowdell, Vice Chair
Jon Harold Dutton
Linda Epps
Brenda Feliciano
Karl Paul Frederic, Chair
Jordan Garrison
Bill Hofstetter, Secretary
David Komar
Pamela Morgan, WBGO Community Advisory Board Chair
Michael Ostroff, Vice Secretary
Patricia Perez
Bob Sommer
Obi Taiwan Ozochiawaeze
David Weiner, Treasurer
Stas Zakharenko

Newton J. Burkett
N. J. Burkett joined the Eyewitness News team in 1989.  His distinctive storytelling, production skills and award-winning international reporting have added a unique dimension to WABC-TV’s coverage of metropolitan New York.

Over his thirty-year career, he has reported on everything from war and diplomacy to crime and politics; from aviation disasters to natural disasters, race relations and police misconduct.

Burkett’s work has been honored with several of the most prestigious awards in American television news.  He is a two-time winner of the coveted Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association (formerly the RTNDA) and a four-time Emmy Award winner, including the Emmy for Outstanding On-Camera Achievement in 2003 and 2007.  Burkett has received seventeen Emmy Nominations.

He shared the George Foster Peabody Award and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award with his colleagues at ABC News for his reporting on the September 11th terrorist attacks.  In 2008, he was presented with the Allen B. DuMont Broadcaster of the Year Award by Montclair State University for his "significant contributions to the field of broadcasting."

Burkett is the President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, New York.  He served on the National Academy’s Board of Trustees from 2011-2015 and on the Executive Committee from 2014-2018.  Burkett served from 2016-2018 as the National Academy’s First Vice Chairman.

Burkett was born in Orange, N. J. and was raised in Elizabeth.  Before joining WABC-TV, Burkett was a correspondent for WFSB-TV, the CBS station in Hartford, CT., from 1986-1989.  He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a Master’s in International Affairs, both from Columbia University.

Tara Dowdell
Tara Dowdell is an accomplished entrepreneur and communications strategist. She is the Founder and President of TDG Speakers, a niche speakers bureau, and Tara Dowdell Group, a public relations and marketing agency driven by a passion for promoting organizations, institutions, and businesses that are engaged in social good. In addition to her business ventures, Tara is a respected television commentator and speaker. She appears frequently on MSNBC and PIX11 News where she provides progressive analysis on a range of political, government, and business topics.

Tara’s proven expertise, unique insight, and engaging style have also made her a sought-after speaker. She has addressed several major conferences and events such as the NYU Stern School of Business Women in Business Conference, Big Ideas in Higher Education Conference at Rutgers University, the Southern Women in Public Service Leadership Conference, the Center for American Women and Politics “Ready to Run” Conference, the Colorado Black Women for Political Action 39th Annual Luncheon, and many more.

Tara has an extensive background in government having served as the Senior Manager of Government and Community Relations for the international shipping arm of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. She was responsible for directing the government and public relations strategy for the multibillion dollar redevelopment of the Port of New York and New Jersey. Prior to joining the Port Authority, Tara was the first Black American and youngest person to serve as Director of Appointments in the Office of the New Jersey Governor. In this role, she led the office responsible for gubernatorial appointments to over 550 statewide boards and commissions. She began her career serving as a District Representative and Scheduler for Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.

Aside from her work in government, Tara has a wealth of political experience. She has served in senior positions on several high profile federal, state, and local campaigns. Additionally, she managed an issue-advocacy campaign for Emily’s List, one of the largest Political Action Committees in the nation.

Tara’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. In 2010, she was selected by the American Swiss Foundation to attend their prestigious Young Leaders Conference in Basel, Switzerland. Tara was only one of 25 Americans chosen to participate in the conference. Notably, in 2005, after being selected out of over a million applicants, she had the distinction of competing for a job on the third season NBC’s hit show, “The Apprentice.” Tara has also been honored by Rutgers Business School, Colorado Black Women for Political Action, the NAACP, and more, and she has been named to the ROI-NJ People of Color Power List several years in a row.

Tara is also very active in her community. She serves on the boards of New Jersey Policy Perspective, Greater Newark LISC, and WBGO, a global jazz public radio station. Additionally, she is on the Steering Committee for the Center for American Women and Politics “Ready to Run” Conference.

Jon Harold Dutton
Jon Harold Dutton is the Founder and President of The Cavalcade Group, a boutique family office and alternative investment firm advising, structuring, and managing investments across asset classes including equities, alternatives, and venture capital.

Jon has a proven history of effectively analyzing, valuing, and advising some of the world’s largest companies and their stakeholders with over a decade of experience as a financial advisor and strategy consultant. Prior to launching The Cavalcade Group, Jon served as a corporate restructuring advisor at AlixPartners providing strategic, financial, and operational advice for financially stressed companies, financial institutions, and organizations. His experience covers a wide range of industries including retail, manufacturing, energy, aerospace, telecommunications, and financial services.

Prior to joining the New York office of AlixPartners, Jon was an enterprise improvement strategy consultant at Accenture in his hometown of Houston, Texas.

Throughout his years in the Tri-State Area, Jon has been active in a range of civic and philanthropic organizations including Futures and Options, Minds Matter NYC, and Hudson River Community Sailing. Jon has an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin and a BS in Industrial Engineering from The University of Oklahoma.

Linda Epps
Linda Epps founded 1804 Consultants to advance educational and cultural organizations. She brings to clients more than 40 years of experience working with educational and cultural institutions, including the New Jersey Historical Society, a statewide museum, library, and educational facility, where she served as President and CEO, and New Jersey Network Television and Radio where she served as Vice President for Institutional Relations. She held various positions at Bloomfield College, including Vice President for College Relations, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Dean of Students. Linda has earned the Most Distinguished Alumnae Award from Seton Hall University and induction into the Douglass Society, the highest honor accorded to Douglass College graduates. She has also served as a Ford Foundation-funded consultant to several institutions of higher learning. Linda holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers University’s Douglass College, a Master’s Degree in American Studies from Seton Hall University, and a Ph.D. from Drew University.

Brenda Feliciano
Brenda Feliciano has an extensive background as an actress, opera singer and arts administrator. She has performed as a vocal soloist with many orchestras including the National Symphony Orchestra with Leonard Slatkin. In addition to her active performing career, she represented Arturo “Chico” O’Farrill for several years and has managed the artistic endeavors of Paquito D’Rivera for more than 20 years.

Karl Paul Frederic
Karl Paul Frederic is a partner at the law firm Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP from which he conducts a multi-disciplinary practice focused on complex real estate transactions, construction and urban redevelopment from offices in New York and New Jersey. He has over thirty years of legal and business experience counseling clients in a broad range of matters and has been involved in some of the most significant projects in the metropolitan region, including MetLife Stadium and the renovation of Saint Patricks Cathedral. In recent years, he has focused on representing clients in repositioning single-user pharmaceutical industry campuses into multi-user mixed use facilities.

Prior to joining Windels Marx in 2003, Karl was counsel at Drinker Biddle, LLP in his hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia, Karl was President of the Columbia University Club of Philadelphia where he arranged speaking programs and fostered opportunities for alumni engagement in the city’s civic life. Karl also served as one of the leading volunteer lawyers for the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, representing artists on a pro bono basis in various legal matters and educating the artistic community on legal and business topics.

Outside of law, Karl has a number of interests. He has competed in road races and triathlons, and remains an avid skier, golfer and martial artist. He is also an occasional actor, sometime movie producer and aspiring blues guitarist. He helped create the New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival, now entering its third year, giving horror fans the opportunity to meet and interact with actors, screenwriters and musicians and small filmmakers a forum at which to screen their films and compete for awards.

Karl earned his BA from Columbia College and his JD from the University of Miami School of Law. Karl has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees since October 1, 2018.

Dr. Jordan Garrison
Dr. Garrison, MD is a Board Certified General, Bariatric and Vascular Surgeon with over 29 years of experience. Dr. Garrison completed his undergraduate studies at Lehigh University, where he is still actively involved, participating in a Visiting Lecture series on The Ethics of Surgical Diseases and the Changing Economic Dynamic of Medicine. He serves as a mentor to students interested in pursuing a career in medicine and is extremely active in the recruitment and retention of students of color to the university.

Bill Hofstetter
Bill Hofstetter started his first agency before the age of 30 and has helmed them ever since.

His early career focused on entertainment, working with headliners like Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and Joan Jett. He helped revolutionize the marketing of Broadway with the international hit Beatlemania, followed by many Broadway, Off-Broadway and touring companies.

In the world of fashion, Bill helped launch Perry Ellis, John Henry, and Crossings and he represented fashion icons Oscar de la Renta, Geoffrey Beene and John Weitz, apparel giants Philips Van Heusen, Nautica, Oxford Industries and Manhattan Shirts. European luxury brands Leica Cameras; Zeiss frames, lenses and sport optics; and Krups small appliances were represented by Bill, both in the US, and in many other English speaking countries worldwide. Yellowtail wine was launched by Bill’s agency and Cavit wine is presently represented.

Bill's work for Pentel Pens received a Clio, and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Broadcast. Television commercials for Gotham Comedy, NY Gilbert & Sullivan Players, Stuffed and Unstrung and Silence! The Musical have received 7 Telly Awards in the last 5 years.

David Komar

Pamela Morgan
Pamela Morgan is the Executive Director of Woman In Media – Newark, a not-for-profit organization which she founded that advocates for and educates the community about issues affecting women globally using film, video and new media as its platform. Their flagship event is their annual Women’s History Month Film Festival where they screen an international array of independent film by and about women. She sits on the Union County Film Advisory Board.

A retired educator, Pamela worked for over thirty-five years in public education, with twenty of those years focused on the administration of instructional technology. She has served on numerous New Jersey State Department of Education Instructional Technology committees and was a contributor to two of the New Jersey State Educational Technology plans. Pamela gave testimony before a US Senate sub-committee investigating funding for instructional technology and performed research on the effective implementation of community-based telecommunications networks.

As a global advocate, her work centers on the implementation of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals focused on women and migration.

Michael Ostroff
Michael Ostroff is the founder and president of The Ostroff Group (TOG), a national consulting firm with offices in Florida and New York that works exclusively with domestic and global non-profit organizations to help them achieve their organizational and philanthropic goals. The firm has an extensive track record of success working with a broad range of clients in the cultural, educational, health care, human service and Jewish communal fields. Services include board/leadership development, strategic planning, marketing and comprehensive financial resource development programs (planning and implementation of annual, capital, endowment, grant/foundation and planned giving).

Michael has played leadership roles in campaigns that have collectively raised in excess of $1 billion.

With a keen understanding of volunteer and donor motivation, Michael specializes in major gift solicitation, campaign and strategic planning and volunteer/board training and is a frequent presenter on those topics in North America, Europe and Israel. He holds a BA in Social Welfare from Pennsylvania State University, an MSc in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University, a certificate and honorary doctorate from the Hebrew Union College,

Obi Taiwan Ozochiawaeze
Former Deputy Advisor on Technology to Presidents Bush and Reagan, and current Senior Special Adviser for Technology and Healthcare at the United Nations, Dr. Obi Taiwan Ozochiawaeze has held pivotal C-Level Executive Leadership roles at organizations such as the United Nations, DaVincian Healthcare, Aetna, WellPoint/Empire BCBS, and Siemens GmbH. Dr. Ozochiawaeze is the President of Global Technology Services at MEDSiS Healthcare. An avid aviator, Obi Taiwan is a retired Air Force Pilot.

Patricia Perez
Patricia advises a broad range of clients on all aspects of commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions, leasing, sale-leasebacks and financing. She has extensive experience structuring and documenting real estate transactions, including analyzing due diligence, managing risk allocations, and overseeing transaction documentation from term sheet to closing. Patricia has represented a wide range of clients including global asset management firms, real estate investment trusts, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare systems, developers, and financial institutions in commercial real estate transactions and tax-exempt structured finance deals. Prior to joining the firm, Patricia practiced commercial real estate law at firms in New York, New Jersey, and Colorado. Patricia is fluent in Spanish and serves on the advisory board of Elijah's Promise, a Central New Jersey nonprofit that fights to end hunger for the working poor.

Bob Sommer
Bob Sommer is CEO of Awsom Associates, LLC a public relations and public affairs firm.

In addition, Sommer is an Adjunct Lecturer teaching graduate level public affairs and media relations courses at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University. He also directed the Institute of Planning and Public Policy Communications at the Bloustein School.

Previously, Sommer was Senior Advisor to Mayor Steven Fulop of Jersey City, NJ where he advised the Mayor on communications and policy issues. Prior, he was President of Rock Entertainment Management, a holding company for the organization that owns the New Jersey Devils National Hockey League franchise and the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. He was responsible for the marketing, communications and public affairs operations for the team and the arena.

Earlier, he was President of Observer Media Group where he was responsible for managing all business and sales operations for OMG’s media properties, which include The New York Observer and Politicker.com. He also served on OMG’s Board of Directors.

Prior to heading Observer Media Group, he was Partner and Executive Vice President of MWW Group, one of the nation’s largest public relations firms. He headed the firm’s public affairs practice.

Before MWW, Sommer developed environmental and transportation policies as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Commerce Subcommittee staff. In addition, he was speechwriter for Subcommittee Chairman (and later Governor) Jim Florio (D-NJ). He also served as a Presidential Management Appointee at the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Toxic Substances. An elected delegate for Bill Clinton at the 1992 Democratic National Convention, he has been appointed to the transition teams of several New Jersey governors.

He served as a Trustee of the Public Affairs Council and the New Jersey Public Policy Institute, chaired the Eagleton Institute of Politics Foundation and was First Vice Chairman of New Jersey Network. Recognized as one of New Jersey's 50 Most Interesting People by NJ Monthly magazine and Bloustein School Alum of Year, he is also ranked as one of the most powerful New Jerseyans by NJBIZ and PolitickerNJ. Sommer has been published in numerous magazines, newspapers and journals.

Sommer sits on the board of Children’s Aid and Family Services. He was a Founder and Advisory Board Member for North Jersey Community Bank (now ConnectOne Bank). He also was a Director of Allvision, Inc. and was a Director of Ridgewood Savings Bank (now Boiling Springs Saving Bank).

David Weiner
David Weiner is a managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager at Neuberger Berman, an employee owned asset manager with over $300 billion in AUM and 36 offices in 22 countries around the world. Mr. Weiner joined Neuberger Berman in 1994 after having worked at EM Warburg Pincus & Co, Delafield Asset Management and First Manhattan Company, and has been a General Partner at Neuberger since 1996. At Neuberger, Mr. Weiner invests several billion dollars for individuals and institutional clients, primarily in domestic equities.

Mr. Weiner graduated from Queens College with a BA in economics in 1976 and attended the Columbia University Business School. He is a trustee of the Queens College Foundation and the Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women (JFEW) which provides educational grants to help women attend college.

Staz Zakharenko
Stas Zakharenko is an attorney with a broad mix of firm and in-house legal department experience, a proven ability to gain deep understanding of technology, and to hire, motivate and develop a high performing team.  He joined Audible in 2014 and became Head of Legal in 2016. Before Audible, Stas was with Amazon’s legal department in Seattle and Luxembourg supporting digital and new technologies initiatives, including Kindle e-readers and Amazon Music. Before joining Amazon, Stas worked as in-house counsel specializing in software and technology, and as a corporate associate at Skadden. Stas is a graduate of Boston University School of Law and Stony Brook University, where he majored in music. He continues to be an active performing musician.