New WRFA Station Manager, Public Affairs Director Named
WRFA Radio and Reg Lenna Center for the Arts has announced two new staffing changes for the radio station.
With the recent retirement of Dennis Drew, founder and longtime general manager of WRFA, the Reg Lenna has appointed Jason Sample as the new station manager. In addition, WRFA is also announcing that Julia Ciesla-Hanley will serve as the station’s new public affairs director.
Sample has worked in local media for the past two decades as a news reporter in both radio and print media. Before being appointed WRFA station manager, he served for nearly 10 years as the station’s public affairs director, covering issues and stories involving the Jamestown community and Chautauqua County. Prior to his work at WRFA, Sample served as editor of the weekly newspaper, Chautauqua Star, from 2008 to 2010. He also worked for over seven years for James Broadcasting/Media One Group covering news and sports, as well as serving as program director for classic rock station WQFX.
In addition to his duties at WRFA, Sample is a trustee with the Chautauqua County Historical Society and has been chair of its programming committee since 2012. He is a Jamestown area native, graduating from Falconer High School and attending Jamestown Community College. He holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from West Virginia University.
“I’m looking forward to carrying on the mission of WRFA and building off of the groundwork that Dennis Drew laid for the station during the past 17 years,” Sample said. “It’s not going to be easy to fill his shoes, but hopefully we can do him justice by continuing to ensure WRFA remains the community asset it has become over the years.”
Ciesla-Hanley joins WRFA after working for over a decade with the city of Jamestown as the city’s recreation coordinator. She previously worked as public relations specialist for Chautauqua Opportunities, administrative assistant for Greater Jamestown Empire Zone, executive assistant to former Chautauqua County Executive Mark Thomas, and also for James Broadcasting as a reporter/news anchor. Ciesla-Hanley has been involved with WRFA for more than a decade as a member of its Community Advisory Board — serving most recently as board chair — and also as a station volunteer, when she provided morning news updates at the station. She was also the announcer of the popular Rolling Hills Radio program from 2015 to 2020.
“I have been involved with WRFA from the beginning as a volunteer and advocate for the station. I’m thrilled to now join the team in continuing to cover current events and supporting the arts in our community,” Ciesla-Hanley said.
Additionally, Ciesla-Hanley is active in several community groups and projects. She has performed as a violinist for both the Jamestown Area Community Orchestra and the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as providing her skills for various high school musical productions.
She is also the current communications coordinator for the Jamestown Pride community organization and is a graduate of the Chautauqua Leadership Network program, Class of 2007. A Rochester-area native, she holds a BA in broadcasting from Buffalo State College and also studied both broadcasting and music education at Baldwin-Wallace College.
“I am very excited to have Julia come on board to serve as WRFA’s new public affairs director,” Sample said. “She has a great deal of broadcasting and reporting experience, and also an extensive knowledge of civics and local government. That makes her a perfect fit for this position. Our listeners and the entire Jamestown community will greatly benefit from her work by staying informed on various issues that matter to them.”
In addition to Sample and Ciesla-Hanley, WRFA also has a part-time programming director, a position currently held by Gavin Paterniti.
As a community radio station, WRFA also has a team of volunteers who provide various types of radio programming on a weekly basis.