Devin Katayama, midday host and award-winning education reporter at WFPL, is leaving the station next month. The 31-year-old Katayama is heading to public radio station KQED in San Francisco, where he will be an enterprise reporter with a focus on nearby Oakland.
Katayama has been at WFPL since July 2011, when he was hired as a general assignment reporter. He has had several roles at the station since, including interim “Morning Edition” host and beat reporter covering education in Louisville and throughout the state. In January, he was awarded the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize for his months-long series on how issues such as poverty affect schoolchildren in Jefferson County.
As midday host, Katayama provided local content alongside national public radio programming such as “Fresh Air” and “Here and Now.”
For the native of Sonoma, Calif., the new job at San Francisco’s renowned public radio station is also something of a homecoming: The two cities are about an hour apart. Katayama, who interned at KQED several years ago, says he’s always hoped to return to the West Coast — he just didn’t expect it to be quite this soon.
“It’s going to be sad to leave Louisville, but this is such a cool opportunity that I can’t turn down,” he says.
In addition to reporting, Katayama says he’ll be working to develop a podcast and other creative content for the station. Still, the bulk of his energy will go toward finding and telling stories.
“I am really excited to get back to reporting full-time,” he says. “When you host half a day, it’s tough to keep your mind in and keep yourself on task because there’s so many multiple tasks you’re doing during the day.”
Katayama’s departure comes at a time of change at WFPL, which has recently added four new reporters. Ja’nel Johnson covers health care, Ryland Barton reports on state government, Ashley Lopez will head up the station’s city government coverage, and Tara Anderson is focussed on arts. The station has not yet named an interim midday host.
The last day to hear Katayama on WFPL is April 3. Three days later, he’ll pack the UHaul and head west.