Mark Erstling, general manager of Penn State Public Broadcasting, has announced plans to step down from his post in mid-March after eight years.
Erstling will become senior vice president and chief operating officer for America's Public Television Stations (APTS), a Washington, D.C., trade organization representing stations around the country. In his new role, Erstling will oversee corporate functions and business activities for APTS.
Erstling has headed the Penn State organization since 1991 and has overseen the expansion of public radio to bring a signal to many areas of Central Pennsylvania for the first time.
During his tenure, the public broadcasting operation has created a 24-member community board of representatives and built a technical infrastructure allowing for the expansion of local, state and national programming for public radio and television. During the last year, WPSX-TV produced more state and national programming than any other station in Pennsylvania.
Over the last eight years, community financial support of the operation has more than doubled, allowing the stations to move to a 24-hour-a-day operation and expand the selection of locally produced and acquired programs. WPSU-FM has added many popular programs and WPSX-TV has developed local cooking shows and the "Our Town" series of community profiles.
The station is now actively developing plans to convert to a digital television service. The University will conduct a national search for Erstling's replacement.
Albert F. Niessner Jr., senior research associate, has retired from the Applied Research Laboratory after 32 years of service.
In 1959, Niessner began his career a staff engineer at HRB Singer Inc., where he specialized in signal processing for radar and communication signals in reconnaissance systems.
He came to the Applied Research Laboratory in 1966, where he developed specializations in the areas of system design and signal processing for sonar and radar systems, system design with embedded computer systems and signal processing of underwater acoustic signals.
During the next three decades, Niessner's efforts in these areas led, in part, to the development of two advanced systems now in use in the U.S. Navy fleet and to the development of three prototype acoustic guidance systems that used the best electronic and computer technology available.
Niessner holds two degrees in electrical engineering: a bachelor of science degree from Penn State and a master of science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was awarded the Schlumberger Fellowship.
He is the recipient of the 1975 ARL Technical Achievement Award and has published in the U.S. Navy Journal of Underwater Acoustics.
Currently, Niessner is the webmaster for the State College Radio Control Club. In retirement, he plans to re-establish his radio controlled model aircraft hobby.
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