As Executive Director of The People's Channel since 2004, Johnston has worked tirelessly to promote community media. A graduate of Antioch College, he brings with him a wealth of community media experience, including time spent in Argentina as an independent journalist and three years as a board member for the Alliance for Community Media.
"I have a deep commitment to community media, and I have seen the power it has to amplify voice, create positive social change, and promote local economic development," said Johnston.
SPNN said it is not looking to make any strategic realignments or dramatic changes to current programs. Mike Wassenaar served as the executive director of SPNN for 13 years, and announced his resignation this past fall. According to SPNN, under his leadership, the organization experienced tremendous growth and stability. In keeping the longevity of SPNN in mind, Fleischfresser said that minimizing disruption to the organization was one of the most important priorities in the executive director search process. Currently, Operations and Production Manager Steve Brunsberg is serving as the interim executive director until Mar. 25, when Johnston steps into his new role.
"St. Paul has a reputation of being very open, friendly and committed to having a healthy community," said Johnston. "I am tremendously excited to learn about all the wonderful people and organizations that make St. Paul such a great place to live."
SPNN is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community media center serving St. Paul and the Twin Cities metro area. The organization's mission is to empower people to use media and communications to better lives, use authentic voice and build common understanding. SPNN operates five channels on the Comcast cable system, which reach 52,000 cable households in St. Paul.