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Community Advisory Board

The Blue Ridge Public Radio Community Advisory Board (CAB) is a volunteer group that provides community input to BPR about programming, public service and community engagement. CAB members represent different backgrounds, geographic regions, and needs and interests of the listeners and the communities Blue Ridge Public Radio serves.

The BPR CAB is an advisory committee, which is not involved directly in the station's daily management or operations. CAB members learn about public radio, meet Blue Ridge Public Radio staff members, and have regular communication with the station about the needs of their local communities.  

The CAB is governed by a steering committee, responsible for basic organizational matters. It is comprised of a member of the BPR Board of Directors, 2-3 CAB members, and one member from station management.

You may contact Blue Ridge Public Radio about the CAB by emailing feedback@bpr.org or calling (828) 210-4800. BPR opens applications annually in December.

2024 meeting dates and times

  • Tuesday, March 12, 4 - 6pm (in-person or virtual)
    Location: United Way Building, first floor
  • Tuesday, June 11, 4 - 6pm (in-person or virtual)
    Location: UNCA Campus, Reuter Center, Manheimer Room
  • Tuesday, September 10, 4 - 6pm (in-person or virtual)
    Location: TBD
  • Tuesday, December 10, 4 - 6pm (in-person or virtual)
    Location: TBD

Members of the Community Advisory Board

Mitch Lubitz

I’m a five-year Asheville resident, who retired three years ago after a 43-year career in journalism, corporate communications and media relations in Florida and North Carolina.

I was a reporter and business editor for newspapers in Miami and Tampa Bay for 10 years, and then led regional and national media relations teams for Fortune 500 companies for more than 30 years.

Last year, I was appointed by United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County to its new Community Conversations Committee, a citizen advisory group.

The committee, comprised of area residents, community leaders and advocates, worked in collaboration with United Way to design and implement a series of community listening sessions in 2022 on key social and economic issues, such as public education.

I facilitated one of the three community conversations we held last year at Black Wall Street in the River Arts District.

Stan Ingber

Stan Ingber is a retired Law Professor, having taught and written in the fields of Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Legal Philosophy for over 43 years at 10 universities in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

He has also served on numerous ABA and government commissions dealing with Criminal Justice and Anti-Discrimination.

In 1989, Congress, as part of the Bi-Centennial Celebration of the Constitution’s ratification, created an endowed chair in Constitutional Law – the James Madison Chair – as well as a Constitutional Law Resource Center. Stan was selected to hold both the Chair and serve as the first Director of the Center, developing a program of symposiums, book publications, community dialogues, public presentations, and guest speakers.

Once in Asheville, Stan integrated himself into the community by serving as a Guardian ad Litem - representing and advocating for neglected and abused children; President of the Asheville Debate Society; member of the Boards of Directors of the ACLU of Western North Carolina, Asheville’s Montford Park Players, the Asheville Symphony Orchestra; and as a teacher and curriculum committee member at UNC Asheville’s Osher Life-Long Learning Institute.

Stan has a BA from Brooklyn College, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and a JD from Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Some years later, he was invited back to Yale to spend a year as a Scholar-in-Residence.

NPR has been a vital part of his life for over 50 years. It’s great to now be able to help such an extraordinary organization to further serve the North Carolina community.

Katie Winkler

Katie Winkler has lived in Fletcher, North Carolina, south of Asheville, for over 30 years and has taught English composition, British literature, and creative writing at Blue Ridge Community College for most of that time, soon to be retiring. Also a writer, actor, and editor, she has published dozens of short stories for print and online publications and is on the board of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. An active member of the Dramatists Guild of America as well, she has written theater reviews and feature articles for the Hendersonville Times-News, and four of her plays have been produced in the area. Twice yearly, she edits Teach. Write.: A Writing Teachers’ Literary Journal as a feature of her blog Hey, Mrs. Winkler: Musings and Mutterings About Higher Education in the South.

Melinda Bullen

My adventurous spirit (and a bit of wanderlust) has helped me create community all over the country and the world including Sarasota (FL), Atlanta (GA), Asheville (NC), Portland (OR) and Santiago, Chile. But these mountains have always felt like ‘home’ and after a decade away, I’m back in Asheville and happy to settle in. My career has been spent in higher education and municipal work supporting organizational change and evolution through equity and policy work, training and education, resource development, community building, and strategic leadership.

I’m at my happiest when I’m discovering something new, which includes deep-dives and great conversations with friends, rifling through out-of-the way antique stores, traveling outside of my normal places and spaces, or finding the perfect hole-in-the wall eatery.

Kay West

I was born, raised and graduated high school in Wilmington DE and moved to NYC at 19 years to pursue my dream of writing. My first job was receptionist for a national men’s magazine and left as an associate editor seven years later to move to Nashville TN in 1981. There I worked in the music business before returning to journalism and writing, which I have done on a fulltime, freelance basis ever since. I was the weekly restaurant critic for 15 years and general assignment writer for the Nashville Scene alternative paper, Nashville correspondent for People magazine, and contributor to other local, regional and national publications, and wrote five books. I was the events producer for Megan Barry’s 2014-15 successful Mayoral campaign, worked for US Rep. Jim Cooper and the Nashville Farmers’ Market. I raised two children as a single mother, got them launched (one to Charlotte, one to Brooklyn) and in 2019, moved to Asheville after researching food/beverage/arts/music/cultural/outdoors opportunities, independent bookstores and movie theaters, and most importantly, minor league baseball. I currently contribute to Mountain Xpress, Edible Asheville, Eater Carolinas, Local Palate, AIR’s monthly newsletter, Asheville Made, Bold Life, Carolina Home + Garden and the Nashville Scene. I got my Buncombe County Library card and became a sustaining member of BPR the first week I was here. I bake legendary cookies and unintentionally kill every plant that comes into my 95-year-old home in WAVL.

Laura Ellington

Laura Ellington is a clinical social worker at Blue Ridge Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center in Western North Carolina. She has worked in and been active in the Polk County community for 16 years. She has worked in non-profit organizations throughout her career and has a passion for emotional and physical wellness. She served on the St. Luke’s Hospital Board of Trustees for 8 years and currently is on the Polk County Mental Health Advisory Board. She has been an avid public radio listener and supporter for many years and is intent on raising the profile of BPR in the eastern part of our listening area. She lives with her husband and two adorable pups in Landrum, SC.

Lynn H Roberts

I have lived in Asheville since 2008, with a few breaks away for work demands. I grew up in Peru and Bolivia as the child of a geologist, and our family often lived in remote areas in the Andes. Being in these beautiful mountains is truly wonderful.

As a teen, I started in radio and television in Lima then went to on to a career as a journalist that has included reporting, editing and publishing in South Florida, Boston, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. Most media I’ve work with were produced in multiple languages which led me to build a virtual global breaking news translation company that was sold a few years ago. I now write, coach UN front line staff, inventors, entrepreneurs and, happily, hike and garden.

Though virtually all my work has focused on global affairs, a break in my journalism career included a terrific detour to manage the Film Society of Miami that produced the Miami Film Festival. I have also taught breathwork, starting at the University of Miami, and Kundalini Yoga.

My education after schooling in Peru includes a BA and MA University of Miami, Transformational Leadership Coaching certification from Georgetown University, a range of executive education programs at Harvard University and sundry others.

Civic memberships: Rotary Club in three cities including Asheville; UN Women; South Florida Arts Center.

As a devotee of public radio and member of Blue Ridge Public Radio, I appreciate contributing to its efforts on behalf of our community.

John Mattox

Mattox grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He has a PhD in astrophysics from Stanford University. He worked in gamma-ray astronomy with NASA for a decade, and then became a professor within the UNC system, working in sustainability and science education. In 2021, he retired, moved to Asheville, and began a sustainability project in Candler called the Big Cove Resiliency Laboratory. He is a prostate cancer survivor. He aspires to soon be the oldest person ever to have kayaked the Narrows on the Green River.

Pip Coe

After more than a 30 year hiatus of living in the mountain west Pip moved back to the Bryson City area in late 2019. When she first lived in Western North Carolina she worked for NOC for 10 years, with the last number of years working as a raft guide and whitewater canoe and kayak instructor. Since then she has continued to work in the outdoor recreation and education industry with the majority of that time working for NOLS, which is based out of Wyoming. At NOLS, she has been a field instructor, working in the US and internationally. In addition, she has had a number of administrative jobs at NOLS, serving as the alumni and development director for 18 years and serving on the senior leadership team. To this day she still works as a field instructor for NOLS and as a raft guide in WNC. A longtime supporter and passionate fan of NPR, she appreciates the in-depth and non biased reporting that is accessible to all. Press any radio station in her car and you will get an NPR station ensuring lots of “driveway moments”!

Goetz Wolff

Goetz Wolff relocated to the Asheville area after retiring from his faculty position teaching labor and economic development courses in UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.

He was inspired to return to Western North Carolina by his past experience in the Blue Ridge Mountains from decades before when he was a professor of political science at UNCA.

As a professor at the UCLA Luskin School, he led a half-year graduate student/community organization project tracking and assessing the impact of the logistics industry in Southern California. The report, won the national American Planning Association award for the Best Applied Research Project.

Most recently he served as the Economic Development Commissioner for one of the five districts of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

For six years, he served as the Research Director of the 800,000 member Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. In his belief that one should “walk the walk,” he was elected president of the UCLA teacher labor union, UC-AFT, Local 1990.

Wolff is now a member of the WNC Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO), as well as being actively involved in the worker organizing efforts of Asheville Food and Beverage United (AFBU).

Born in Tahiti, he now heads the effort to reintroduce his father’s Tahitian artwork from the 1930s and 1940s with the international Wolfgang Wolff Foundation (https://wolfgangwolff.org).

In his spare time he enjoys exploring the region with his marathon-runnre wife, Paula Sirola. They have committed to the area by adoptin two delightful young Carolina Coonhounds.

Wolff has graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Occidental College, and holds advanced degrees from Yale University.

Nancy Lilly

I moved to Asheville from Indianapolis IN in 2020, after working for 34 years as a pharmaceutical executive for Merck & Co. and Eli Lilly & Co (note: I am not related to the Eli Lilly family). Over the course of my career, I worked and lived in the USA, Europe, and Asia Pacific, serving in a variety of positions in global business units, manufacturing, and sales and marketing. My favorite role was President/Managing Director of Eli Lilly Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.

I am a life-long student and have degrees in pharmacy, business administration and bioethics and health care policy. I have served in numerous non-profit and government appointed roles. Among them as a Board Member of the Australian Pharmaceutical Research Association, a trustee of the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and a Board of Director of Indy Reads, an adult literacy organization.

I live in the south Asheville area with my spouse and our dog. Sports, hiking, music and the arts are my primary interests.

Mary Hall

Mary has been a public radio listener and supporter for over 30 years. She was born in Virginia, raised in Georgia, and moved North Carolina in 2001. Mary finally made it to Asheville in late 2010 during the “banking phase” of her career. Community involvement is a pillar of her value system. She’s served her community and causes through various organizations including Georgia Radio Reading Service, The Susan B. Komen Foundation, Big Brothers and Sisters, and the YMCA, to name a few.

Mary has been a numbers girl all her professional career. After receiving her Accounting degree from Georgia State University, she’s worked in a variety of fields - “Big 4” Public accounting, Commercial Real Estate finance, Commercial Banking, Nonprofit, Entrepreneur, and since 2014, Higher Education.

Mary came to UNC Asheville in November 2014 and is the AVC for Finance / Controller. She is responsible for the Financial Operations, Accounting & Reporting, Debt, Endowments, and Grants post awards for UNC Asheville and the UNC Asheville Foundation. She is also the Interim Treasurer of the UNCA Foundation.

Mary and her husband, Greg, love the greater Asheville area where they consider themselves settled in for the long haul. They get to share a home in Fairview with their two dogs, Sunshine and Twilight.

David Carr

I am a partner to my wife Terri, a father to our children Erin and Brett, and a grandfather to Zander and Lily. Born and raised in Dayton, OH, we moved to Asheville 14 years ago. I am a graduate of DePauw University. My purpose in life is to help individuals and organizations to learn, live and promote "seizing the day" to reduce ignorance and suffering and to enhance living! My core values are compassion, social justice, and humility. I've been an artist, jeweler, business owner, newspaper columnist, college professor, window washer, and author of three books. I retired from the City of Asheville in 2021 as an HR Consultant and continue to facilitate organizational and leadership development with s strong emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion in my consulting practice, Carrpe Diem!

Hunter Spitzer

Hunter Spitzer is a recent addition to the Asheville community that began listening to NPR in high school while commuting for work. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2020, where he was a student DJ at WXYC, Chapel Hill – a free form college radio station that cemented his love for the left end of the dial. Listening to BPR provided a familiar comfort and introduced him to some of the local particularities. He aims to support BPR in providing high quality local news, essential for civic engagement and democratic accountability.

Mike Dills

Hello everyone, Mike Dills here. Native of Macon County, NC, and a long-time public radio listener. I’ve been a fan of BPR since it was WCQS out of Asheville and Late Night Jazz with Bob Parlocha aired late and night. I’m an English major (focus in journalism and minor in Japanese studies), graduated from Western Carolina University in 2011. I’m an audiophile, radio enthusiast, podcast creator (I’ve done a lot of podcasts since 2004, with my main ongoing podcast being a series of hour-long sound collages called Super Awesome Fun Time with Rand). I’m honored to be on the CAB and look forward to helping out.

Courtney Tiberio

Courtney Tiberio has been a resident of Western North Carolina since 1996. Her love of its natural beauty and people has kept her involved in community throughout those years. As an entrepreneur running a web and mobile development business, her career is focused on environmental stewardship and social justice. In her free time she enjoys food, music, and exploring the forests and waters of the southeast with her family.

Marta Martin

I came to the United States from Cuba in 1968 without knowing the English language. There were no ESL programs available at the schools so it was “sink or swim.” I moved to Asheville in 2008 after living in Surfside, FL for many years. I fell in love with public radio in the early nineties and have been part of the BPR Forum since 2018. I received an MSED-TESOL at the University of Miami. After teaching English as a second language in Miami DadeCounty for 19 years and Buncombe for 5 years I moved on to some of my other passions: dance, gardening, social justice and conscious nutrition. I am presently the Executive Director and Events Coordinator for the Asheville Movement Collective, a 501C3 offering weekly dances for personal and community transformation. It is an honor to be part of the BPR Community Forum.

Megan Williams

Megan moved all over the country as a military brat, settling in North Carolina in 2002 and landing in her now-home of Asheville in 2014. She began listening to NPR on Southern Colorado’s KRCC as a young adult and immediately recognized NPR’s role in helping her to be a more informed and engaged citizen. She became a listener of WUNC during her long commutes in the Triangle and her children memorized the 1-800-962-9862 number during the many fund drives they heard from the back seat. Megan is now a daily listener of BPR and is proud to say her two teenage children listen on their own and want to discuss stories they hear.

Megan attended the University of Notre Dame where she studied Sociology, spent four years serving as an Army officer, then continued her graduate studies at UNC Chapel Hill in Public Health and Social Work. She works remotely with UNC Chapel Hill to improve health outcomes for moms and babies, which takes her all over Western NC. Megan has four children in public schools and spends much of her time cheering them on in their many sports and activities, especially soccer and band. She enjoys yoga, running (slowly), hiking, and visiting local breweries with her husband and friends.

Dr. Peter Nieckarz, Jr.

Dr. Peter Nieckarz is Associate Professor of Sociology at Western Carolina University where he teaches classes on Media and Popular Culture and Social Movements. A native of Metropolitan Detroit, he has lived in WNC since 2001. He holds a B.S. in Sociology from Lake Superior State University, an M.A. in Sociology from Minnesota State University, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Western Michigan University. He has published op/eds advocating for public radio and local radio in the Raleigh News and Observer, the Charlotte Observer, the Asheville Citizen-Times, and the Smoky Mountain News. He has published scholarly articles on his research on public radio in 2002 and 2015, an dis currently revising a recent article on rural NPR stations for an upcoming publication. He served as Head of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology from 2019-2023 and was a board member and president of Vecinos Farmworker Health Program from 2010-2018. He resides in Sylva with his wife Cathy and their twin daughters Lucille and Natalia.

Robert Gurevich

Robert Gurevich is an applied anthropologist retired from Western Carolina University. There, he served as Director of the Center for Improving Mountain Living (CIML), Director of International Programs and Services as well as in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology. Although, a transplanted Northerner, he has lived in North Carolina for 40 years, 30 of those years in Sylva. His children attended school in Jackson County with his wife, Adele, taught primary school in Jackson County and on the Cherokee Reservation.

Robert began his career as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer and researcher in Thailand, and went on to serve as Chief of Party, Project Director and evaluation consultant on a number of development projects funded by the US Agency for International Development and other organizations in more than 30 countries including long term assignments in Ethiopia, Indonesia, Albania and Somalia.

Most recently he completed a mystery entitled The Razor’s Edge: Embezzlement, Corruption and Development in Ethiopia, dealing with the challenges of the international development process.

Brad Gutierrez

I was born and raised in dairy farm country of the far northern reaches of New York State. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1983, I served on active duty as a combat aviator, professor of Political Science, and military diplomat in Central Europe. After retiring from the Air Force in 2006, my wife and I moved back to the U.S. from Europe and settled in the Washington, D.C. area in Alexandria, VA. I spent the next 15 years in several senior policy roles in a wide variety of governmental and non-governmental agencies. The subject matters ranged from counterterrorism to African security development to international humanitarian response to higher education and science and engineering research. We retired to the mountains in Western North Carolina in 2021, building a house in the countryside just south of Marshall. Having spent my adult life serving this great country around the world, I have lived the importance of an informed citizenry. As our media landscape becomes increasingly driven by opinion and internet clicks, the quality news and information National Public Radio provides is an invaluable resource. I look forward to contributing what I can to ensure Blue Ridge Public Radio continues to serve its vital role here in this beautiful part of the world.

Niki Duff

Niki is a lifelong resident of WNC with a strong commitment and connection to her community. She grew up listening to BPR, from “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” to “Fresh Air,” along with local and global news. BPR has been a constant source of education and entertainment. A graduate of UNC Asheville, she currently serves as the Senior Manager of Development and Strategy for a local nonprofit and has a marketing and membership management background. She resides in Hendersonville with her husband and their Beagle, Edna.

Rick Devereaux

Rick Devereaux graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and went on to serve 34 years in the Air Force, retiring as a major general in 2012. Over the course of his career he held a broad range of assignments as a pilot, staff officer, and commander in logistics, training, weapon systems acquisition, deployed operations, and forging partnerships with foreign air forces. His last assignment was the Air Force’s Director of Operational Planning, Policy, and Strategy at the Pentagon. After his military career, Rick moved to Asheville and transitioned to part-time consulting work within the national security and energy sectors. Today, in addition to serving on BPR's CAB and Board of Directors, Rick serves on several non-profit boards including the City of Asheville Civil Service Board, NC-11 Service Academy Advisory Committee (Chair), Blue Ridge Honor Flight (Vice President), Biltmore Park Homeowners' Association (Vice President), the Western North Carolina World Affairs Council, and the Rotary Club of Asheville. Rick and his wife Elizabeth live in Biltmore Park and have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. They love to travel, hike, camp, read, enjoy live music, and of course, listen to Blue Ridge Public Radio!

Kathleen Barnes

Kathleen Barnes: I’m an old-fashioned unreconstructed journalist, passionate advocate for first amendment rights and a lifelong activist for social justice. I live in Brevard, NC with my husband, Joe Castro and two unruly dogs.

I have worked as a correspondent in many exhilarating parts of the world, including the Philippines during the fall of Ferdinand Marcos (where I worked for ABC Radio and Television) and as CNN’s Africa correspondent based in South Africa during the time of transition from apartheid to black rule and the ascendency of Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress. In addition to the People Power Revolution in the Philippines and the rise of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, I covered breaking news in Somalia, Mozambique and Zambia. I also covered North Africa from the Rome outpost for ABC Radio during the rise of Muammar Gaddafi. Upon our return to the US in 1993, I worked for CNN in Atlanta as an editor, producer and occasional on-air reporter.

Our retreat to the mountains of Western North Carolina in 1997 brought me to a brief stint as assistant city editor of the Greenville (SC) News. Two years later, I began to write natural health columns and articles for women’s magazines (Women’s World, First for Women, Alive and Natural Living) and then launched my small natural health publishing company, Take Charge Books. I’ve written a dozen or so books (I’ve lost count) and ghost-written dozens more. I intend to continue until it is no longer a challenge.

We moved to Brevard in 1998, I’ve been active in the Transylvania NAACP and I’m also a passionate voting rights advocate and have served in multiple ways to advocate for voting rights.

I joined the Community Forum in 2022 and I now serve on the steering committee.