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Molly Motherwell

General Manager

Mary Motherwell, known as Molly, joined the WEMU staff in November of 1991 as Marketing and Development Director after stints in public relations at Domino’s Pizza International, and as an account executive first at the old Ypsilanti Press and then the former WIQB-FM. In December 2010, upon his retirement, she succeeded Arthur Timko as General Manager, only the third GM in WEMU’s 57 year history.

In addition to running the daily operation of WEMU, she is responsible for station strategic planning, budget, fund raising strategies and initiatives, grant writing, event production, marketing and public relations, and serves as the station’s public service director. To date, she has raised over twenty million dollars for WEMU.

Ms. Motherwell also initiated and developed media partnerships with the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, The Ark, and the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, oversaw the publication of two books about WEMU, and worked with Perich Advertising and Design in Ann Arbor to create an award-winning ad campaign. Under her leadership as General Manager, WEMU has won 54 Broadcast Excellence Awards from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, including Station of the Year in 2015 and 2017.

Under Ms. Motherwell’s leadership and direction, WEMU saw its audience increase by 32% during the pandemic due to its hyper-local news focus and locally hosted and produced jazz and blues programs, which listeners described as “a welcome respite from news fatigue.” When the station’s news director was sidelined by illness in October and November of 2020 she directed and produced election coverage for the local and regional races.

Ms. Motherwell created WEMU’s major giving and planned giving programs, along with traditional fundraising programs, which has resulted in several five-figure gifts and nearly a million dollars in bequests. Two six- figure bequests have been paid to WEMU since 2019. When the pandemic halted traditional on-air fundraising in 2020, she developed a series of highly successful ‘pop-up’ one day fundraisers centered around special dates like Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, and Halloween.

As President of the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival Board of Directors, she worked with US Senator, Debbie Stabenow, to obtain Local Legacy designation for the Festival, whose records are now archived at the Library of Congress. In the summer of 2014 she worked with other Michigan public broadcasters to produce and present a tribute to retiring US Congressman, John Dingell, who introduced the 1964 Public Broadcasting Act. Together with Golden International, she developed the popular Detroit Jazz Festival shuttle bus program which is in its 13th year. Ms. Motherwell also produced a tribute to WEMU’s retiring music director, Linda Yohn, at the Detroit Jazz Festival, accepted a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Detroit Music Awards for 40 years of jazz programming, and coordinated with the EMU marching band to produce a halftime tribute to WEMU. For several years she has produced WEMU’s successful Blues Barbecue which has presented such luminaries as Laith Al Saadi and Thornetta Davis, also produces and hosts an annual jazz brunch for WEMU donors, and produces the free WEMU/Sesi Motors 5:01 Jazz Series that runs on the first Friday of every month between October and May.

Ms. Motherwell has a BA in History from the University of Michigan and did graduate work in Historic Preservation administration at EMU. She has been a session developer and presenter at several annual Public Radio Development and Marketing Conferences, served as the President of the Board of Directors of the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, Secretary of the Board of Directors for Washtenaw Literacy, participated as a ‘Hoops to Heels’ mentor for EMU Women’s Basketball and has been recognized for service to the arts by the Washtenaw Council for the Arts. She was a member of the inaugural class of CPB’s Leadership for Philanthropy for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, is a current officer and board member of the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters and the Michigan Public Radio Network, is a member of the Cultural Leaders Forum of Washtenaw County, and is an executive board member and president of Women in Philanthropy at EMU.

Contact Molly: mmotherwe@emich.edu