KATV anchor hire to relations job initiates communications changes

KATV Channel 7 anchor Christina Madsen, a familiar face for many Arkansans, will soon be a prominent university relations figure on UCA’s campus.

Madsen was hired Feb. 27 as the university’s associate vice president for communications, public relations and marketing.

Madsen will report to Executive Assistant to the President Gilbert Baker for her responsibilities that include “planning, development and implementation of all of the media and marketing strategies, marketing communications, and public relations activities, both external and internal for the University of Central Arkansas.”

She is known on air by her maiden name, Munoz, and has been at the Little Rock ABC affiliate since April 2003. The press release announcing her hire made no mention of which news station she anchored, only stating that she worked for an Emmy award- winning newscast at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Madsen will make $125,000 annually and her salary is funded through salary savings in the President’s office as a result of unfilled positions.

Baker said Madsen is likely to start working at UCA in mid-March. He added that the university would like Madsen to start in her new position by March 17, but said she is working with KATV to select her last day at the broadcast station.

The press release does not provide specifics on when she will begin her work at UCA, but does state that Madsen, her husband and children will “transition” to Conway this spring.

“My career has given me the opportunity to tell stories to Arkansans for more than a decade,” Madsen said in the press release. “That experience was an opportunity that I will cherish forever.” Her work in broadcast began in Minnesota, where she received a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

During her career, Madsen has been a reporter, fill-in anchor and anchor on KDLH Channel 3 News in Duluth, Minn. and KATV. Prior to her on-air jobs, she worked off camera at Minneapolis, Minn. CBS affiliate WCCO.

Madsen cites her family as one reason she found the move to Conway enticing. Her two daughters, Sydney and Reagan, were born in 2008 and 2011, respectively.

“I am so excited about this new chapter in my life and so thankful for the opportunity to join UCA,” Madsen said in the press release. “This position will allow me to fulfill my role as a mother to my two daughters while still providing for my family.”

Apart from her work in communications, Madsen is a member of the Arkansas Climbers Coalition and an honorary League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) board member.

The job listing for Madsen’s position states that she will act as the UCA spokesperson, provide advice to internal sectors on university matters and develop a comprehensive social media campaign.

Five advisory search committee members were part of the process for choosing Madsen. Members were Conway dentist James Flanagin III, True Holiness Church pastor Cornell Maltbia, UCA history professor Don Jones, UCA Public Appearances Director Amanda Horton and UCA Athletics Director Brad Teague.

While former Vice President of University and Government Relations Jeff Pitchford held similar job duties representing UCA, Baker said Madsen’s new position is not an “apples to apples” comparison.

Pitchford was set at a $103,000 salary in his previous media relations position, according to the UCA 2013-2014 operating budget. He now works on campus as director of transfer services.

“Jeff’s full responsibilities, some of those have fallen to me at this time and some of those responsibilities will fall to Christina,” Baker said.

Madsen’s UCA position is part of a broad communications restructuring at the university that President Tom Courtway outlined in his “Framework for the Future.”

UCA is seeking to fill three vacant positions in writing, graphic design and videography as the next phase. While the positions were previously in place, Baker said job duties are not certain at this time.

The full-time writer/editor will report to Madsen. Applications will be accepted until March 26. Salary will be determined on a competitive basis depending on experience and education.

“The successful candidate will plan, research, write, edit, and proofread a variety of university publications for both internal and external audiences,” the online job listing states.

Baker said the restructuring’s first step was to hire Madsen, followed by filling vacant openings such as the writer position.

“We felt that the top priority was to hire a full-time writing position who would help with UCA Magazine, with everything from communications across campus,” he said.

The “Framework” document states that centralization of university communications will be finished by summer 2014.

Baker said he hopes consolidation and streamlining of campus communications will have a “more official dissemination” by mid-April, with new hires being announced to fill the three vacancies.

“I can’t say when we’ll completely be finished, but I think with the [associate vice president]position, going out with the writing position… we’re well on the way,” he said.

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