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WAMU’s Holt Announces Pending Retirement

McDonald will also leave to pursue other opportunities

John Holt

Washington NPR affiliate WAMU(FM) announced Nov. 19 that Director of Engineering and Operations John Holt will retire at the end of the month. In addition, Programming Director Mark McDonald will leave at the end of the year to pursue other opportunities.

Holt has held his current position since 1994, and he had previously worked as the director of engineering for Oregon’s Jefferson Public Radio and prior to that was chief engineer for Minnesota Public Radio. Holt also had stints with New Hampshire Public Radio and WMUK Radio-Western Michigan University, among others. He is a graduate of Iowa State University, according to his LinkedIn profile.

In a note emailed to WAMU staff, Holt wrote that he had been considering retirement “for some time” and that he was motivated by fellow engineers who had already taken the plunge into retirement.

Mark McDonald

Holt reiterated: “It’s been a heck of a ride of over 40 years. From building New Hampshire’s first public radio station, director of engineering for Jefferson Public Radio (and 50 mountain top sites), chief engineer of MPR in the Twin Cities to the last 20+ years here at WAMU. Who could forget the talk shows at the political conventions or DRS at the White House? And what can be better than having a career where you feel you’ve had an impact on people’s lives.”

McDonald has been with the station for the past 13 years and was previously managing editor for WNYC New York Public Radio. Before that, McDonald also served as the New York producer for BBC TV and Radio News, according to LinkedIn.

“We wish both of them well and thank them for their good work,” said WAMU Director of Marketing Kathleen Allenbaugh.

These personnel changes come on the heels of other shuffles at the station. JJ Yore came onboard as general manager in August, and the station also recently transitioned to its new, larger facility at 4401 Connecticut Ave., NW, in Washington.