by JANET MANDELSTAM
Brad Kimmel says he has long been drawn to mission-oriented public media, and “everything lined up” when he was offered the job of executive director at Indiana University Radio and Television Services, which includes WFIU Public Radio and WTIU Public Television.
Kimmel, 59, who began his new job at the end of November, was most recently president and CEO of WNIN public media in Evansville, Indiana. “This is the only job I would have left Evansville for,” he says. “It kept me in southern Indiana where we have family, and it offered a new challenge to come into a situation with the resources of both the station and the university.”
WFIU-FM and WTIU-TV, he says, “offer the chance to produce regional and national programs that draw on the wonderful staff and the talent on campus here.”
A lifelong Midwesterner, Kimmel was born in Michigan, graduated from Murray State University in Kentucky, and has spent the past 35 years in Indiana. A media entrepreneur as well as an executive, he started his own company, Bradley David Productions, in the mid- 1990s. “I had the idea of producing a show about cars and pitched it to automotive cable stations.” The show, My Classic Car, was broadcast nationally.
By 2010, he says, “I had another ambition to create a cable television network for people who love to do things in their garage—woodworking, work on boats, motorcycles, cars.” He sold Bradley David to his partner and launched Garage Television in Evansville. “It was for hobbyists, but I couldn’t raise the money to start a cable network and had to shut it down,” Kimmel explains.
Kimmel may have parted ways with the television show, but his interest in cars has never flagged. “I have a passion for classic cars,” he says, “especially old Mustangs and Thunderbirds.” He doesn’t own one now, but says, “I hope to remedy that situation.”
He and his wife, Mary, are just settling into Bloomington. They have five children, all of whom live in central and southern Indiana, and nine grandchildren. When not at work, Kimmel says, “I like to read a good biography, and my wife and I enjoy cooking.”
For now, there is his new job: “I’m like a kid in a candy store, meeting a lot of people, thinking about what type of media we could put together to build on the success that is already here.”