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.
91.9 Inc. meetings are currently being held virtually via Zoom. 2021 meeting dates are: February 17, May 29, August 18 and December 15. 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.
Tiffani Mensch 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
Kelly Absher is a graduate of the University of Tennessee where he obtained a degree in English with minors in journalism and public relations. In 2010, Kelly launched Absher Marketing with a goal to help local businesses succeed, with a focus on social media, public relations, and events. A member of WUOT’s Evergreen Club, Kelly has a strong interest in public radio and the information it brings into communities.
Chelsea Bibb 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) Blaine 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.
Evelyn L. "Lynne" Davis
In Lynne’s own words:
“I have lived in the Knoxville area since 1987. I worked at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for eight years and retired from The Trust Company of Tennessee in 2014. Although I am not a UT grad, my husband Bob is, and he has converted me to be a Volunteer – in more ways than one! Even before our retirements, we were active in many community groups, including the Knoxville Choral Society, Ijams Nature Center, and our church. Both of us are licensed pilots, and at one time were the mainstays of a sailplane (glider) club based at Downtown Island Airport. (The club has since disbanded.) Currently, we volunteer at the UT Herbarium, working on a databasing project. I work several times a month at Ijams at the information desk and gift shop, greeting visitors and giving them suggestions for enjoying the park. We both lead wildflower walks at Ijams and other parks. In 2002, I joined the Choral Society. Bob followed me the next year. One year, the Choral Society was asked to provide volunteers for WUOT’s fund drive, and I took a couple of shifts. I enjoyed meeting the staff and feeling that I was making a difference for the station. I have volunteered for fund drives every occasion since. Bob and I donate regularly to WUOT.I believe that public radio is a valuable and necessary asset for our community. I enjoy listening to the various musical programs, the talk programs, and especially the news. When I want to know the truth about a subject, I turn to public radio. It challenges my mind and gives me firm ground in the facts.”
Director/general manager of WUOT Public Radio, Regina manages all aspects of the NPR charter-member station licensed to the University of Tennessee. She has 35 years’ professional experience in public radio and managed the NPR stations in Little Rock, Arkansas prior to coming to WUOT in 1995. She served on the NPR Board of Directors in the ‘90s and remains active in the public radio system at the regional and national levels.
Dr. Freeberg’s biography can be found on his page for the University of Tennessee Department of History.
Brandon Gibson has been an active performer in the region for the last 15 years. He is an accomplished vocalist, stage actor, narrator, writer, and host. In addition to his work as a performer, he also serves as Managing Director for Marble City Opera. A former student announcer with WUOT, he is a lifelong fan of public radio and television.
While growing up in Pontiac, Michigan, John Habel 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.
Holly has been an avid listener of WUOT for as long as she can remember. In her own words, “[WUOT was] the only station we were allowed to listen to in my dad Frank Hambright’s car. I am proud to say I carry this tradition to this day.” Holly happily resides in Old North Knoxville with Daisy the rat terrier, Little Brother the fluffy white cat, and Moo the rascal orange car, as well as the last gift her dad gave her: A 5 foot Samick grand piano. Holly love travel and would do it all the time if she could. She is a reader, novice bird watcher, devout supporter of our local restauranteurs, and all that makes like beautiful. Holly is a former board member for Dogwood Arts, and current board member for the Marble City Opera and Knoxville Children’s Theater, as well as WUOT. Holly is a proud supporter of WUOT, WUTK, WDVX, ETCH, Knox Heritage, CBT and Young Williams.
Emily Jernigan 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.
Vandy Kemp retired last year as Vice President and Dean of Students at Maryville College, capping a 39 year career in secondary and higher education. Born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia,Vandy holds a BS in Sociology and Music Education from Radford University and an MS in Educational Psychology from UTK. She has been a high school music teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal, and principal as well a college administrator. Since her retirement, she works part time as a high school graduation coach and runs her own consulting business working with colleges and schools on strategic planning, diversity education, grant writing, and staff development. She volunteers with the League of Women Voters of Blount County, AAUW of Maryville, New Providence Presbyterian Church, and WUOT.
In Eric’s own words:
“I’m one of two identical twins, and a former resident of Kentucky, Germany, and Oklahoma before moving to Tennessee in 1995. I began listening to NPR via station WPLN (Nashville) in the late 90’s while in high school. In December 2003 I moved to East Tennessee for work, started to listen to NPR via WUOT, and enrolled at Carson Newman University. I became a contributing member to WUOT before completing a Religion and Philosophy degree in 2006. I began my volunteer activity at WUOT during its Fall Fund Drive in 2011. I have volunteered during most fund drives since then, and since 2013 I have managed the guest recording booth during WUOT’s Open House.”
Alanna McKissack, Vice 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 Executive Director of Keep Knoxville Beautiful, the Keep America Beautiful affiliate for Knox County. Active across the community, Alanna is a big sister with 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.
Tiffani Mensch - President
Tiffani Mensch is the Director of Community Engagement for the Alliance for Better Nonprofits (ABN). With over a decade of experience in nonprofit education, community outreach, and fundraising, she is passionate about helping nonprofits achieve greater mission impact. Before joining ABN, Tiffani worked for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, the University of Tennessee, and Girls Inc. of Santa Fe. She earned her master’s degree from Rhode Island School of Design and a bachelor of fine arts degree from Rochester Institute of Technology. Tiffani currently serves on the board of trustees for Girls Inc. of Knoxville and is a peer reviewer for the Standards for Excellence Institute. She also volunteers with several local nonprofits.
Kevin Pack 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.
In Doris’s own words:
“My husband Phil and I moved from Ohio to Oak Ridge 45 years ago when he accepted a position at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. We thought we would only be here for a few years but we fell in love with the area and never left. We raised our three children here. In 1982 Phil participated in a scientific exchange so we moved to Germany for a year. In Oak Ridge I got involved with many activities including helping form a Montessori school, participating as PTA president, volunteering in the classroom at Linden Elementary School by listening to children reading and helping in the computer room and library. We also became very involved in Scottish highland dancing as our daughter excelled in competitions around the country. Our two sons played on the ORHS soccer team. I was active working as an RN in the area when time allowed. I have volunteered at the free clinic and before I retired from nursing I did some traveling nursing in California, Seattle, and New Jersey. Presently I am a pianist and teach a children’s church school class at the Community of Christ and am on the board of the Oak Ridge League of Women Voters. Several years ago I became interested in volunteering for WUOT’s fund raisers and convinced my husband to join me. He loves it as much as I do!”
Kris Torrance, Secretary
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.”