Meet the SOTRU Dynamos
Host • Executive Producer • Idea Man • Top Dog
Al Letson has received national recognition and built a devoted fan base with soul-stirring, interdisciplinary work. He established himself early in his career as a heavyweight in the Poetry Slam Movement, which garnered artistic credibility and renown. Performing on a number of national, regional and local stages including HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, CBS’s Final Four PreGame Show and commercial projects for Sony, the Florida Times Union, Adobe Software and the Doorpost Film Project, Al has honed his professional voice and artistic sensibilities into a unique brand that is all his own. After winning the Public Radio Talent Quest, Al received a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to create 3 episodes of his public radio show concept State of the Re:Union. His company finished their first grant in August of 2009 and has just been awarded one of the largest public radio grants ever given to a single project to produce a full season of shows.
Executive Director • Executive Producer • Problem Solver • Shot Caller
Ian DeSousa has more than a decade of successful management experience, formal design training and displayed ability to seamlessly shift to multiple mediums and medias. A graphic designer by trade, Ian transitioned from print and digital media to multimedia project management and has repeatedly directed projects that involve numerous facets, challenges and personalities to successful conclusion.
During his seven-year tenure at Web.com, Ian moved from Designer to Director of Design Services where he was responsible for the production and output of the company’s flagship product. His position demanded not only maintaining, but elevating graphic standards along with the challenges of managing a large group of people to preserve a fine balance of productivity and quality. Ian’s professional experience and grasp for multimedia solutions that are effective and engaging have made him the perfect fit in his responsibilities as Creative Director, Business Manager, and Multimedia Project Manager.
Content and Story Editor • Guiding Hand • Production Finesse • Voice of Reason
Taki Telonidis has collaborated with host Al Letson since 2007, when the original pilot for State of the Re:Union took top prize in a national talent quest that launched Al’s career in radio. Taki lives in Salt Lake City and is the media producer for the Western Folklife Center, working with the center’s founder Hal Cannon to produce features about the West for public radio and television. Taki came to the West from NPR in Washington, where he was a producer on Morning Edition before becoming Senior Producer of Weekend All Things Considered. He has received the Overseas Press Club Award for Breaking News, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Gold and Silver Awards, and a Rocky Mountain Emmy Award.
Radio Producer · Relentless Reporter · Can-Do Chick · Blues Singer
Since she started making radio at the tender age of 15, Tina Antolini has produced stories on everything from the sex lives of lobsters to Iraqi religious minorities to a secret bunker in the woods of Massachusetts that houses an archive of East German films. She joins State of the Re: Union after several years as a reporter, producer and host at WFCR, the NPR-affiliate for Western New England. She’s also produced for the science and nature program Pulse of the Planet, and for a slew of national NPR and PRI programs. Her radio stories have won numerous awards, including a 2009 Gracie Award from American Women in Radio and Television for her series documenting the transgender community in western Massachusetts. Antolini received her B.A. in Ethnomusicology and American Studies from Hampshire College, and is also a graduate of the radio program at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. She can bake a mean apple pie, sing a killer cover of “Mustang Sally,” and will happily spend hours in a cafe with a stack of books and newspapers to occupy her.
Before joining SOTRU, Laura wrangled stories in the wild west of public radio freelancing. In 2010, she covered immigrant communities and mental health for The World and Latino USA as a National Health Journalism Fellow at the USC Annenberg School. She won a Third Coast Silver Award for Best Documentary for her story Goat on a Cow, which aired on WNYC’s Radiolab in 2006. Laura got her start in radio learning from the incredible team at WNYC’s (now-defunct) The Next Big Thing. As an educator, she has shared her love for radio and file organization with students ages 12 to 65 at places like North Country Public Radio, the City University of New York, NPR’s Next Generation Radio and outLoud Radio in San Francisco. Since coming on board at SOTRU, her reporting has been recognized by the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. Laura was a 2011-2012 Rosalynn Carter Fellow for Mental Health Journalism. She serves on the board of the Association of Independents in Radio.
Associate Director • Multimedia Producer • Information Hub • Lady of the House
Brie Burge’s career has been a media medley, a delicious stew if you will. She started in broadcast journalism at WFOR, the CBS owned-and-operated TV station in Miami. She rose from Associate News Producer to 6pm News Producer in her 4+ years there. After the never-ending 2005 hurricane season (Rita, Katrina, Wilma) took its toll on her sanity (some claim that she has never fully regained), she decided to try something new. Brie moved to Jacksonville and began as a website copywriter and designer for Web.com, and worked with both Ian and Brenton where it was a regular party! She was promoted to Quality Control Supervisor, then to Quality Control Manager – working as the company’s managing editor. From there, Brie transitioned to Vizergy, an industry leader in online hospitality marketing and website design. She honed her marketing skills as Client Marketing Services Manager, managing internet marketing campaigns for some of the big names in the hospitality industry, including Marriott and Pacifica Hotel Company. Brie is obsessed with Canes and Dolphins football, loves traveling with her husband Jeff and son Kellan, enjoys hitting the high notes during Bon Jovi songs in karaoke and frequently adds -tastic and uber- to random words.
Having attended Flagler College, Ian is now an User Experience Director in Jacksonville, FL. He specializes in web design, user ergonomics and posters. On any given weekend, he’s probably DJing somewhere for free.
While attending Florida State University as an art major, Patrick began to pursue film and video production. He soon shifted the focus of his studies to media production and began shooting and editing his own short films. After graduation, he continued to pursue his own projects, as well as working in the industry on larger scale productions. Patrick’s short films have gone onto screen at film festivals around the country, with one recently licensed by Movieola, Canada’s short film channel, after screening at the Cannes Short Film Corner. He is currently in post-production on his first feature length film, VEER!
After receiving her B.A. in International Studies and French from Southern Methodist University, Marietta joined Teach for America and was placed in a school in the South Bronx. Her life outside of the classroom has been filled with filmmaking, storytelling, and advocacy – particularly for the California High-Speed Rail, which she spent 16 months in California researching, documenting and developing a website aimed at educating voters. Marietta began focusing on radio in 2009 and enjoys the thrill of capturing the sounds of a great story and sharing them with others.
Beats • Episode Score Composition
Willie Evans Jr. is the physical manifestation of Hip-Hop and one of the funkiest cats to ever touch a microphone and an MPC. You see, not only will Willie rap circles around your favorite rappers, favorite rapper, he can also craft a beat, so funky that Clyde Stubblefield himself would be proud. The Jacksonville, Florida bred MC/Producer/Visual Artist is at the forefront of a collective of artists that have single handedly managed to put Northeast Florida on the map as a cauldron of Hip-Hop and artistic expression and is now set to show the world that some of the funkiest cats in Hip-Hop call Duval County home. The son of a self taught jazz musician, Willie counts James Brown, Wu Tang Clan, Weird Al Yankovic, Stevie Wonder, Jam Pony Express, DJ Magic Mike, Screamin Jay Hawkins and Geto Boys as some of his favorite artists and influences.
Meet the SOTRU Interns
Bret Lawrence is a recent Editing, Writing, and Media graduate from Florida State University. This program emphasized the shifts taking place in contemporary rhetoric, the impact of digital culture and social media, and how these developments are changing global and local communication. She also minored in Film Studies and Religion before belatedly realizing that minors have almost zero real-world relevance. So far she has traveled to Italy, France, Costa Rica, and up and down the Eastern seaboard of the United States in an attempt to learn more about people, cultures, and the stories we share. As a post-graduate she has dabbled in such industries as catering, ghost-writing, freelancing, and rabble-rousing. In her wildest dreams, Bret hopes to combine eco-activism, animal conservationism, film/television criticism, and pop culture commentary into an as yet undefined profession, with time enough to spare brewing beer or owning a vineyard. In her wildest nightmares, the zombie apocalypse will descend before any of that other stuff pans out; either way, she’s ready.
A.D. was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana. She got her nickname because her older sister couldn’t pronounce “Adrienne.” Being from the home of the Irish, her parents decided to choose the initials of Adrian Dantley, Notre Dame’s all-American and national player of the year. She is a recent graduate of Indiana University’s School of Journalism, with a focus on political science and history. At IU, she was news director of her college station, WIUX, a Society of Professional Journalists award winner, and helped start up American Student Radio, which continues to grow. After graduation she headed to Scotland to report on the opinions behind their independence referendum, and is still working on the project. She’s thrilled to be part of the SOTRU team.
Barb is a senior at Indiana University, majoring in journalism with a concentration in music. She isn’t shy about her obsession with Classic Rock, more specifically Mick Jagger. Barb began working with audio her sophomore year of college and hasn’t left it since. As Indiana University’s American Student Radio founding President, Barbhas worked with the organization non-stop, and has developed a new favorite past time: editing audio. Barb was one of the Association of Independents in Radio’s New Voices Scholar for the 2012 Third Coast Conference, and she has never been more excited about radio. Originally from Hammond, Indiana, Barb wishes to one day be able to call Chicago home.
Emily Wong Loi-Sing
Emily is a currently majoring in Journalism and Sociology. She produces for American Student Radio’s show “Stuff You Pretend to Know” for Indiana University. Her dad got her into radio at a young age by blasting NPR on every road trip. He cultivated her love for sound recordings with his mini recorder set up at the dinner table, on car trips, and after prom to get live reflections and the silly stories of growing up. Emily spent the last summer as an innkeeper in southern Michigan: baking cookies, pouring wine, and planting flowers.