91.9 Inc. Board
91.9 Inc. is a 501(c)3 group that serves as an advocacy and support organization for WUOT. Its mission is to assist WUOT in reaching its maximum public service potential.
91.9 Inc. was formed in 2003 as a result of listeners’ concern over the long-term stability and viability of WUOT due to threatened state budget cuts. 91.9 Inc. is actively involved in WUOT events, fundraising and outreach activities.
2023 meeting dates are August 14, and November 13 at the Blount Mansion Visitors Center, located at 200 W. Hill Avenue in downtown Knoxville. 91.9 Inc. employs an open meeting policy whereby interested members of the public are welcome to attend. All meetings are from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and are open to the public. Persons wishing to attend a meeting are advised to request a meeting invitation by calling (865) 974-1547.
Allana McKissack is the group’s president. For more information about 91.9 Inc., including questions or concerns about WUOT, contact her at:
209 Communications Bldg.
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-0322
91.9 Inc. Board Members
Chelsea was born and raised in Knoxville, TN and has been a WUOT listener for as long as she can remember. Chelsea received her Bachelor of Science and Masters of Finance degrees from Georgetown University and currently is the Director of Finance for Kelsan. When she does not have her head in the numbers, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Jared, a Knox County School teacher, cooking, and taking walks through West Hills with their dog Locksley. She also travels as much as she can to continue to broaden her knowledge of the world’s different cultures. Despite never attending the University of Tennessee, Chelsea is still a Volunteer Fan, unless it’s against Georgetown Basketball. Chelsea tries to stay involved in the local community through professional organizations such as FEI and YPK. Chelsea is an avid believer in the necessity of public radio because the foundation of democracy is in the education of its people and almost daily says “I heard on NPR today…”
Dianne (Deedee) is a retired Foreign Service Officer with the Agency for International Development. With extensive experience in working with emerging democracies and a specialization in project design, she spent most of her overseas career in francophone Africa. She served as the USAID Mission Director to Albania from 1992 to 1998. In April 1998, she was awarded the Order of the Grand Master of Labor by the Government of Albania. Then in September 2015, she was awarded the Order of Skanderbeg Knight by the Government of Albania. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College. Ms. Blane retired after 32 years in the Foreign Service and moved to Knoxville TN in May 1998. She is a trustee of the Albanian-American Development Foundation and a director of the Albanian-American Enterprise Fund. In Knoxville Ms. Blane volunteers at the Knoxville Museum of Art and the UT Botanical Gardens and has been a Knox County Master Gardener since 1998. She enjoys all outdoor activities, including birding, kayaking and gardening.
Rea is senior accountant at the Knoxville accounting firm Amelse & Edmonds CPAs. Her areas of expertise include operations and finance, and Rea adds that she’s “always willing to make a call to ask for things!” Rea has been a public radio listener for 32 years and a WUOT listener for 17. Her favorite WUOT programs include Marketplace, This American Life, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me…, On the Media, Morning Edition, Morning Concert, Weekend Edition, Improvisations and other jazz programs, and The Hidden Brain. Rea’s hobbies include playing the violin (and the “fiddle”), walking her dogs, gardening, home improvement, hiking, watching movies, reading and listening to audiobooks, and keeping up with her teenagers. Rea says, “I absolutely love WUOT and everything that it provides to our community. Being able to give back to the station for the years of entertainment, news, and community support is so enriching!”
Jon discovered WUOT in the early 2000’s and over time became an avid public radio listener, frequent WUOT volunteer, and Evergreen member. After growing up in southern Indiana, Jon’s career path took many turns including stints as a toolmaker, touring musician, entertainment & production manager, and owner of a computer systems business before entering the real estate business in 2002. A long-time REALTOR® with Century 21 Legacy in Gatlinburg, he depends on WUOT to keep him company during the considerable “car time” his business requires. Jon says, “Listening to WUOT has entertained and informed me, broadened my horizons, and led me to have experiences I otherwise wouldn’t have. Serving on this board is an opportunity to pay that forward and introduce others to this outstanding community resource.” Outside of work Jon enjoys time with his wife, kids, grandkids, and pursuing a wide range of interests that include playing & listening to music, boating & watersports, gardening, cooking, traveling (48 states & 11 countries), birdwatching, photography, and connecting with his German heritage … especially with a stein of good beer!
Chris Durman, Secretary
Chris is the coordinator of the George F. DeVine Music Library at the University of Tennessee. Not surprisingly, he is knowledgeable about popular and classical music history, and also has experience in music production. Chris plays traditional and popular music and has been a fixture in Knoxville’s local music scene. He and his family live in the same wonderful historic house in rural Jefferson County that his parents restored in the 1980s. Chris has been an avid WUOT listener since 1983, and his favorite programs include All Things Considered, This American Life, Morning Edition, Jazz Jam with Kelle Jolly, and UT Music Hall.
While growing up in Pontiac, Michigan, John was an avid listener to R&B, soul, rock and jazz on local radio. When he and his wife, Dottie, moved to Knoxville in 1980 he continued his career as a special education teacher and therapist, working with emotionally disturbed children. While completing his doctoral studies at UTK in 1988, and still a lover of music and of local radio, John leapt at the opportunity to become a jazz host at WUOT. In 1993, after four years as a member of the faculty and an administrator at Pellissippi State Community College, he joined the faculty of the Department of Psychology at Western Carolina University (WCU) in Cullowhee, NC, a position from which he retired in 2016. While at WCU, John lived and worked in Cullowhee during the week and spent weekends, holidays, and semester breaks with his family in Knoxville. In March 2018 he retired from his position as a jazz host. John is pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to public radio as a member of the 91.9 Inc. Board.
Emily was a member of the WUOT board from 2010 to 2014, helping to start endowment during her tenure. She has been an avid Public Radio listener and supporter since 1970, when WPLN in Nashville began broadcasting as one of the 73 charter members of NPR. She is a strong supporter of WUOT and of Public Radio, perhaps now more than ever. She earned BA and MEd degrees from Vanderbilt University and has lived in Oak Ridge since 1981. She and her husband, Charlie, are active in many community organizations there, including Rotary, the League of Women Voters, and the UT Arboretum Society. Emily is a graduate of Leadership Oak Ridge. She writes and edits newsletters for the UT Arboretum Society, the Oak Ridge League of Women Voters, the internations Journal of the Holly Society of America. She also writes for other organizations and, sometimes, for herself. A member of the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club since 2005, she has served as President of the 90-member club from 2016 to 2017 and is currently President of the club's Foundation. She also chairs the 3-Rotary club Flatwater Festival and the newly-formed Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival, held in Oak Ridge the first weekend in June. She enjoys gardening, cooking, gathering with friends, and visiting her 5 beloved grandchildren in Nashville and St. Louis.
Sam is currently the Director of Community Programs at the Alliance for Better Nonprofits, a program of the United Way of Greater Knoxville. She manages the educational training and cohort programs at ABN, working with both nonprofit professionals and subject matter experts to empower our nonprofit community. Sam was born and raised in Knoxville, but briefly lived in Boston while getting her degree in film and television at Boston University. She has over a decade of nonprofit experience from her time at ABN, United Way of Greater Knoxville, and East Tennessee Foundation. Sam began her nonprofit career working at community radio station WDVX – first as a production assistant, working on audio/radio engineering, booking, and live production management; then as an office coordinator managing pledge drives, grant applications, and board correspondence. Sam says, “I love WUOT’s programming and what it stands for in our community – informing with fact-based news and promoting East Tennessee culture. WUOT’s work is so important especially in the political climate we live in. I love the staff and show hosts, and I’m excited to be more involved in WUOT’s community and lend my expertise, time, and energy.”
Jennifer is an Executive Assistant at Dura-Line, a global manufacturer and distributor of communication and energy infrastructure products and solutions. Her expertise includes planning, research and general support, as well as experience with human relations. Jennifer has been a public radio listener for more than thirty years, including the past two decades listening to and volunteering at WUOT. She has a difficult time picking her favorite program, but the list includes Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace Morning Report, Stardate, The Hidden Brain and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.... Jennifer’s hobbies include traveling, watching horror movies and classic films, true crime stories, cooking, exercising, organization, stargazing, planting flowers, and loving on her kittens. She says, “I have great appreciation for WUOT as a valuable service of our community and wish to support its staff and members in all the ways I can, to contribute to its continued success and growth.”
Alanna McKissack, President
Alanna has been described as a “sleeper.” She is soft-spoken and gentle on the outside, but underneath she is tough, knowledgeable, capable, and as efficient as a machine. She has a passion for community engagement and environmentalism. Currently, Alanna is the Chief Development Officer at Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee. She serves as the Vice President of the Tennessee valley Earth Partnership, and has also served on committees for the Alliance for Better Nonprofits, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN, Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority, and the University of Tennessee Young Alumni.
Kevin was a member of the 91.9 Inc. Board 2010-2011 and has been a WUOT underwriter and public radio supporter for many years. Kevin grew up near Charleston, WV, is a graduate of West Virginia University (1981 BS Civil Engineering) and a graduate of UT-Knoxville (1993 MS Environmental Engineering). He moved to Knoxville in 1984, married Samantha Richter Pack (1986), and has three sons. Kevin and Samantha started Runners Market, an independent specialty running shop, in 1995. He has owned and operated Runners Market since its inception. Kevin enjoys running, hiking, motorcycling, and home brewing.
Todd is WUOT's Music Director and is currently serving at the station's interim director. He began working at WUOT in 2006 as jazz coordinator. Todd also serves as host of Studio 865/Flipside, Improvisations and Changing Course, and he produces the podcast Improvisations to Go. Todd got his start in radio at WUTK, where he served as both news and music director while earning his undergraduate degree in journalism at UT. He later earned a master’s degree in education, also at UT.
Kris Torrance, Vice President
One of the many reasons Kris Torrance loves public radio is that it is even more eclectic that she is. Kris earned her BSHE at the University of Tennessee/Knoxville with a major in Food Science and Nutrition. While at UTK, she interned with the Agricultural Extension Service as a Junior Assistant Extension Agent for Home Economics. She continued her academic diversity with a BS from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in Computer Science with a minor in Math. She has worked as a computer programmer for the insurance industry as well as an independent programming consultant writing applications for databases, artificial intelligence inference engines, and scientific applications. Kris recently celebrated her 10th year of WUOT Fund Drive volunteering and is the proud mother of a young adult WUOT volunteer. She and her husband live in Norris where she is a board member of the Norris Woman's Club, a local civic service club. She enjoys shopping at local Farmers' Markets, cooking what she finds there, and composing and arranging music for her church choir in which she also sings. In her youth, Kris was a National Winner in the 4-H Health Project. Kris values public radio because it facilitates building a strong community which is a fundamental part of having a thriving, democratic society.
In Blake’s own words:
“I’m a native (and lifelong) Tennessean, and I've proudly called Knoxville my home since 1986. I'm also a graduate of the University of Tennessee as well as a stalwart listener of WUOT since 1999. I enjoy all programming, but my prime listening times are 6-8am and 5-6:30pm. I also LOVE all of the Jazz programming each night and especially on Friday night! I'm eager to see how I might be able to make a positive impact on WUOT through service on the 91.9 Inc advisory board.”