XRAY Looks to 2021

Dear XRAY Community,

On behalf of the Board of Directors at XRAY.FM, I want to share some leadership news for our team. Co-Founder and our founding Executive Director, Jefferson Smith, has decided to transition into a new role as senior advisor from his role as Executive Director at the beginning of the new year. Jefferson was instrumental in the Kickstarter campaign that launched XRAY, and has inspired exponential growth in the seven years since. We are deeply grateful for his contributions over the years and we have much to celebrate.

Under Jefferson’s tenure, XRAY has fulfilled a unique niche in the Portland ecosystem, becoming a culturally relevant center for ideas, music, and creativity in service of a more open media. XRAY has achieved this goal by offering a mixture of pro-democracy talk and music programming that amplifies the sounds and reflects the values of our city, powered by a small but mighty staff and over 100 volunteers that dedicate their time and talents to the alchemy of XRAY. Collectively, these efforts have earned XRAY critical acclaim, named best radio station in Portland for 5 consecutive years and the title of “Portland’s Best Independent Radio Station”. Since March of 2014, when the station began broadcasting on 91.1 FM, Jefferson has overseen the terrestrial signal expansion to include 107.1 FM, enabling most Portlander’s to find XRAY on the dial at home or on the road. XRAY’s family expanded to include KXRW in Vancouver, WA, 1360 AM KUIK, as well as the Numberz, the city’s only station committed to airing the full representation of the Black music experience. And in this year when a deadly global pandemic separated us from each other, XRAY not only continued to broadcast around the clock, had its year of greatest membership growth, launched Portland’s daily local news podcast (“The Local”), and offered over a hundred candidate interviews to inform and engage our community, amidst the din of national news media.

As we look to 2021, Jefferson has graciously offered to support the organization’s transition and serve as a resource for the organization as a senior advisor in addition to continuing to develop content for the station including hosting “XRAY in the Morning.” We are grateful that Jefferson will remain connected to the XRAY community as he departs from the role of Executive Director. In the short term, we have named Emily Gilliland as the Interim Executive Director. Emily brings over 24 years of experience in the non-profit sector. She is well-known to the XRAY community in her role as a voice and content producer XRAY and as a longtime fan and supporter of the breadth of XRAYs talk and music content. She has overseen organization building at a number of nonprofits, most recently Camp Fire Columbia, where her operations experience was invaluable. XRAY’s future is bright as we build on the momentum created by Jefferson and the XRAY community. We plan to launch a national search for the next leader of the organization this coming spring. During this time of transition, we are deeply grateful for your continued support. We hope you will join us in wishing Jefferson success in his next endeavors and thanking him for his significant contributions to championing our mission to hold a microphone up to the best and most distinctive of Portland.

Dr. Holly Hinson

XRAY Board President