Jeff Pope, executive director of KSJD Radio, announced his resignation Thursday .
Pope has been involved with the radio station since 2003, after the Community Radio Project, then an educational tool for students of what is now Pueblo Community College, received its license for KSJD. According to a news release from the station, Pope was also one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Sunflower Theatre, which KSJD has operated for about two years. His last day on the job will be Feb. 28.
According to the release, Pope will remain on the staff while a committee searches for his replacement, and he will continue to give advice to the board during the transition if necessary.
He wrote in the release that he and his family have felt for a while that it was “time for a change,” and his departure would mark the beginning of that change.
“The end of 2017 feels like the right time, given that we’ve got a strong board and a capable staff,” he said. “I feel that new leadership, energy and perspective will take KSJD to the next level.”
Peter Ortego, a member of the radio station’s board of directors, said the announcement came shortly after the resignation of Josh Ewing, the president of the board, who left just before Christmas for “personal reasons.” Former vice president Dave Hart has taken over leadership of the board, passing on the vice president position to Rebecca Fraley.
The remaining directors on the board must find a replacement for Pope, which will be “no easy task,” Fraley wrote in the news release. Ortego said the board is still in the earliest stages of searching for a candidate. Its first order of business will be to revise and update the executive director job description.
“This has all been fairly abrupt,” Ortego said. “It’s not an absolute surprise, but it is fairly abrupt, and we want to make sure we do everything right.”
He said the search committee hasn’t yet decided whether to look for candidates outside Montezuma County, but he expected plenty of interest in the position from local listeners who are “very committed to the radio station.”
According to the release, KSJD Radio’s service area currently includes about 60,000 people. The release also said the Sunflower Theatre had a successful year, drawing more than 4,000 patrons to its shows and events. The Sunflower’s 2018 season will begin Jan. 11 with a screening of the documentary “The Age of Consequences.”
This article was reposted on Jan. 2 to clarify Jeff Pope’s former position as executive director, not a board member.