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Tim Johnson Arsenault, the last full-time commercial radio news director in southern Vermont, has announced his plans to retire.


Longtime radio news director to sign off

WTSA’s Tim Johnson Arsenault anticipates seeking new elected office in Vernon

Commons senior reporter Olga Peters contributed to this report.

BRATTLEBORO—After more than four decades in radio news, WTSA News Director Tim Johnson Arsenault will step away from the mike.

He made the announcement on Nov. 11, during WTSA-FM’s “Morning Brew” show.

“It was my decision, and my decision alone,” he said. “For many years, I’ve served a number of elected offices in Vernon, and I’ll be seeking one [in 2016] that will require my full-time attention.”

Arsenault, the station’s news director and co-host of the Morning Brew, said he will leave in mid-January but will likely continue to do some part-time on-air work as needed after that.

He said he was making the announcement now “to allow people to have a good chance to get used to the idea, address the speculation, and give [station owner] Kelly [Corbeil] a chance to openly search for my successor.”

He lauded the support of Corbeil and the rest of the WTSA staff, and wanted to make it clear that while he won’t be the lead voice and chief reporter for WTSA News, the station’s commitment to local news will continue.

Those sentiments were echoed by Corbeil in a news release shortly after the announcement.

“After 42 years of radio service and Hall of Fame status, Tim deserves and has certainly earned the right to try something new that has been an interest of his for a long period of time,” she said.

Corbeil assured listeners that the station “will continue forward with our full-time news department” and will begin an immediate search for a successor.

She added that Arsenault “will always be part of our WTSA family.”

A four-decade radio veteran

Arsenault, a longtime music lover and newshound, started his career at WKVT Radio in Brattleboro in 1973, while he was still a senior at Brattleboro Union High School. Aside from a brief stop at WCFR in Springfield in the 1980s, he has spent nearly his whole professional career in Brattleboro.

Since 1997, he has been WTSA’s news director — the last in southern Vermont to do that job full time at a commercial radio station.

He took over the news director chair at WTSA from Larry Smith and, since then, listeners have heard his upbeat voice serving up information on Selectboard meetings, floods, fires, and interviews with community members.

Last year, he was inducted into the Vermont Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and was also recognized by the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce as its Person of the Year.

Arsenault grew up in Vernon, where he still lives with his wife and family. He has also served as town moderator there for 17 years and as moderator of the annual Brattleboro Union High School District Meeting.

He said that the station’s commitment to news programming will ensure a smooth transition.

“It will continue, and will continue strong,” Arsenault said. “It did before with Larry Smith, and it will continue after me,” he said.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #332 (Wednesday, November 18, 2015). This story appeared on page B3.

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