Chicago Public Media news/talk WBEZ 91.5-FM has gone out of Chicago to fill the vacancy for a new host on its locally produced midday talk show.
Sasha-Ann Simons, host and national correspondent at American University’s WAMU in Washington, D.C., will start December 14 as host of “Reset,” the flagship news and talk program airing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on WBEZ.
Chicago radio veteran Justin Kaufmann has been filling in since Jenn White left in June to host “1A,” the NPR talk show produced by WAMU and distributed to more than 375 stations nationwide. Simons was a regular contributor to “1A.”
“It is a great honor to host ‘Reset’ and a huge responsibility I don’t take lightly. I’m excited to make Chicago my new home and to explore the region with curiosity and affection,” Simons said in a statement.
“I look forward to merging the national conversation with the big stories of the Midwest, while holding those in power accountable. I will meet this remarkable moment in history with empathy, new energy, and the solid journalism that WBEZ has brought to its listeners for decades,” she added.
Simons won’t begin broadcasting from Chicago until after the first of the year. Before that she’s expected to host the show from Washington.
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, who grew up in Toronto, Canada, Simons graduated from Ryerson University and worked as a reporter and producer for WXXI, the PBS and NPR stations in Rochester, New York, before joining WAMU in 2017.
“Sasha-Ann is a tremendously talented host with a knack for getting to the heart of the story in her interviews, and we’re thrilled she’s joining the team,” said executive producer Dan Tucker. “Her skill behind the mic and the wealth of knowledge she brings from her reporting on race, identity and economic mobility will help ‘Reset’ grow and thrive as it enters its next chapter.”
In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, WBEZ ranked 10th in middays with a 3.3 percent audience share.