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WXXI expands arts coverage; announces hiring of Jeff Spevak as lead reporter

Jeff Spevak
Jeff Spevak

WXXI has announced that it will expand its coverage of the arts. 

“Thanks to support from our donors, we are in a unique position to enhance our existing arts and culture services and expand arts reporting in our newsroom,” said WXXI President Norm Silverstein. “We know that the arts have widespread social impact and we believe we have an important role to bring focus to the arts community.”

WXXI’s plan includes the full-time hire of Jeff Spevak, who has been an arts and culture contributor for WXXI News on a freelance basis since 2018. Spevak will serve as the lead reporter on a new Arts and Life Desk and coordinate the curation of arts coverage across all WXXI platforms.

A veteran arts reporter for nearly three decades, he has been published in Musician and High Times magazines, CITY newspaper and POST magazine, and has produced more than 4,500 stories including interviews with Johnny Cash, Tony Bennett, Joan Baez and B.B. King. Spevak believes that the arts is how we best celebrate the triumphs, and address the difficult issues, of society.

WXXI will also expand its digital series, Arts InFocus, which takes an in-depth look at Rochester region’s artists and arts organizations.  This will include 24 newly produced features and four television specials to air quarterly on WXXI-TV. Since the project’s inception in 2015, WXXI has produced more than 150 Arts InFocus segments.

WRUR-FM, a broadcast partnership with WXXI and the University of Rochester, will continue to spotlight the local music scenes by bringing artists in studio to perform and share their music philosophy. Classical 91.5 will expand its Performance Rochester initiative, which presents live performances from concert halls in and around Rochester as well as from its studio. Selected recordings will be offered to NPR Music and Performance Today for national broadcast opportunities to expand the visibility of Rochester’s thriving music community.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.