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Anita Rao named ‘Rising Star’ in public media

 Anita Rao headshot
Ben McKeown

Current, the source for news about public media, has named Anita Rao a 2023 Rising Star in Public Media. Anita is the host and creator of "Embodied," WUNC’s weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships and health, and the managing editor of the station’s on-demand content.

In a release on Monday, July 31, Current announced its first cohort of early and mid-career employees to be recognized for making a mark on their organizations and communities.

“There’s so much talent in public media,” said Current Executive Director Julie Drizin. “We wanted to recognize exceptional individuals and raise their profiles on a national level.”

Anita is one of 22 Rising Stars who work in a variety of audience-facing and behind-the-scenes roles at stations and national organizations in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Current received 238 nominations from stations of all sizes across the country and from national organizations and programs.

Before her current role, Anita traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and was a regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show.

“Anita's recognition as a Rising Star in Public Media is a testament to her exceptional talent and work ethic in building the program, ‘Embodied,’” Paul Hunton, WUNC president and general manager, said. “Her passion for storytelling and her ability to connect with audiences through unique subjects and hard conversations make her a true standout in the industry. The entire WUNC team congratulates Anita on this well-deserved honor and looks forward to witnessing her continued success.”

You can read more about the 2023 Rising Stars of Public Media at

Here are the Rising Stars of 2023 (in last name alphabetical order):

Mayowa Aina, Special Projects Reporter, KNKX

Kassidy Arena, Engagement Producer, KBIA

Katie Blackley, Digital Editor, WESA

Aliyah Chavez, Anchor and Managing Editor, ICT Newscast, IndiJ Public Media

Alex Forsett, Western Colorado Regional Director, Rocky Mountain Public Media

Elma González Lima Brandão, Digital Editor, KPBS Samantha Harris, Director of Membership, PBS Reno

Gavin Lankford, Assistant Director, Current Series, PBS KIDS, PBS

Whitney Maddox, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, NPR

Savannah Maher, Reporter, Marketplace

Obed Manuel, Editor, Colorado Public Radio/Denverite

Brian Munoz, Photojournalist, St. Louis Public Radio

Nicholas Price, Series Producer, Reel South

Anita Rao, Host and creator of “Embodied,” WUNC

Jessica Ray, Associate Producer and Online Content Creator, Maryland Public Television

Lewis Reining, Producer and Operations Coordinator, WTJU

Micaela Rodriguez, Managing Producer, Podcasts, KERA

Jacob Schwitzer, Game Developer/Designer, Nebraska Public Media Brisa Siegel, Classical Music Host, KUSC/KDFC

Bianca Taylor, Producer/Host, KQED

Joy Yoo, Lead Product Manager, Email and Social, NPR

Deema Zein, Producer, Digital Videos, PBS NewsHour

Stories, features and more by WUNC News Staff. Also, features and commentary not by any one reporter.
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