WUKY reporter sued by UK leaves station to work for mayor

rcopley@herald-leader.comJune 3, 2013 

Brenna Angel

COURTESY OF WUKY

Brenna Angel, a reporter for the University of Kentucky's public radio station who is being sued by the school, has left the station to work in the office of Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.

Angel started work Monday as the assistant communications director, specializing in social media and the city's website. She said it was not a job that she had pursued, but she was pleasantly surprised to be approached about it.

"It was an opportunity I couldn't pass up," Angel said early Monday afternoon.

Angel worked at WUKY-91.3 FM from March 2010 until last month. Her last on-air report, a story about the changing business of drive-in movie theaters, aired nationwide Thursday on NPR's All Things Considered. She said having a national feature "was an awesome way to go out."

To WUKY's general manager, Tom Godell, it was an appropriate swan song.

"She was always full of ideas and ready to go out and do the work to bring those stories home," Godell said Monday.

Angel made headlines herself earlier this year when the state Attorney General's Office ruled that UK violated state open-records laws by denying her request for certain information regarding the pediatric cardiothoracic program at Kentucky Children's Hospital, which has been suspended pending an internal review. The university then sued Angel, a UK employee at the time, saying turning over the records would violate federal health care privacy laws. WUKY was not named in the lawsuit, filed in Fayette Circuit Court. The Herald-Leader has requested the same records and has been denied.

In a statement, UK spokesman Jay Blanton said the university's issue was not with Angel, but the attorney general's decision. He said Angel was named because the attorney general could not be named in the suit and her departure does not change the university's interests in the case.

Angel said her one regret in leaving the station is that she won't get to finish reporting the story.

She said her departure from the station was purely coincidental and had nothing to do with the lawsuit against her.

"I am confident WUKY and the Herald-Leader will finish reporting it," she said.

Godell affirmed that the station intends to continue reporting the story and is looking to hire a new full-time reporter to replace Angel. He said the station has two full-time news positions — Angel's and news director Alan Lytle — and three part-time news staffers.

Rich Copley: (859) 231-3217. Twitter: @copiousnotes. Blog: copiousnotes.bloginky.com.

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