John Schwartz

Director and Founder of the Voqal Companies

A public broadcasting advocate for nearly 40 years, John has founded community radio and television stations and brought wireless broadband services dedicated to schools and nonprofits to markets throughout the United States. In 1995, John spearheaded the launch of Free Speech TV (FSTV), which reaches an over-the-air audience of 30 million households nationwide. In 1983, John founded the EBS organizations, five non-profit organizations that obtained licenses in what is now the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) band. Utilizing the organizations’ spectrum, commercial operator Clearwire, in concert with principal investor Sprint Wireless, delivers 4G broadband to many major U.S. cities. In exchange for the use of this spectrum, Clearwire provides the EBS organizations with royalties, which the organizations allocate to their operations and philanthropic efforts. John lives in Boulder, CO.

Alice Ellis-Gaut


Alice joined Voqal in 1983 and lives in Tigard, OR.

Garlin Gilchrist II


Garlin Gilchrist II is the Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement for the City of Detroit and the founder of Detroit Diaspora. Prior to working for the City of Detroit, Garlin was the National Campaign Director at  A former Microsoft Engineer and Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change, Garlin works to erase boundaries between traditional political organizing and online activism as a speaker, trainer, practitioner, and participant in movements that encourage collective action for community change. Garlin joined Voqal in 2011 and lives in Washington, D.C.

Lilly Gleich


Lilly was an independent producer of documentaries in Chicago during the 70s and 80s and also worked with youth teaching videography skills and media literacy. As an educator, she has taught in a variety of settings including university, high school and community organizations. She is a registered psychologist specializing in educational psychology. Her interests include the effects of technology on child development, the digital divide in education, and democratization of media.

Lilly joined Voqal in 1983 and lives in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia.

Neal Gosman


Neal has been active in community-based media ventures for more than 40 years, including print, cable television and Educational Broadband Service technologies encompassing non-profit, for profit, and cooperative ownership models. Currently, Neal is an independent professional paralegal and an officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Previously, Neal was publisher/designer of the Riverview Times, President of St. Paul Cable Co-op, and Executive Director of Cable Access-St Paul. His background includes experience in photojournalism, adult and public alternative education, non-profit administration, community and political organizing efforts. He is an Army veteran of the Vietnam War and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Neal joined Voqal in 1998 and lives in St. Paul, MN.

Thom Hartmann


Thom Hartmann is a bestselling author and nationally syndicated talk show host. He joined Voqal in 2009 and lives in Washington, DC.

Dylan Hydes


Dylan is an attorney in Portland, Oregon where he manages a practice focusing on personal injury and workers’ compensation law. Over the past 15 years, Dylan has worked and volunteered for several candidates and political organizations. He currently writes a political blog with his brother, The Blue Brothers, and is a regular contributor to Carl Wolfson’s morning show. Dylan is married with three small children. In his free time, Dylan enjoys spending time with his family, running, playing poker, and playing and following baseball.

Barbara K. Iverson


Barbara teaches at Columbia College Chicago. She is co-founder, publisher, and web master for, a community and citizen journalism news site supported by Columbia. Barbara has been working with digital technology in education and progressive media for nearly 30 years. Before coming to Columbia, she taught in the Chicago Public Schools. In 2005 she founded Chicago Bloggers Meetup. Other interests and area of expertise include social media, online publishing, mobile journalism, and open data. When not logged in somewhere, Barbara can be found riding her bike. Barbara joined Voqal in 2009 and lives in Chicago, IL.

David McKay


Through his work with Voqal, David has helped strengthen and amplify alternative media outlets, promote training for youth in new technologies and influence public awareness for progressive social change. He has overseen both programming and philanthropy efforts, while building relationships within various partnerships and affiliates. With a strong background in nonprofit administration, David’s expertise includes commercial and public radio, organized labor, Native American education, digital divide issues and progressive media. He was instrumental in founding two community radio stations, in Minneapolis/St. Paul and northwestern Wisconsin. David enjoys travel, camping, baseball, motorcycling and spending time with his family. David joined Voqal in 1999 and lives in Minneapolis, MN.

Denise Mayotte


Denise Mayotte serves as the Executive Director of the Sheltering Arms Foundation, which is based in Minneapolis and makes grants statewide to non-profits that help to close the opportunity gap for low-income children in Minnesota. The foundation has a strong interest in supporting early childhood education and after-school advocacy efforts. Prior to her work with Sheltering Arms, Denise served as a program officer with the McKnight Foundation, as General Manager of KFAI, Fresh Air Radio and as Executive Director of the Neighborhood Resource Center. She is a board member of In Progress, a youth media organization, co-chair of the Youth Funders Network, and co-chair of Start Early Funders Coalition. Denise holds a BA from the University of Minnesota and was a policy fellow with the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She lives in south Minneapolis with her husband and 17 year old daughter.

Daniel X. O'Neil


Dan is the Executive Director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, a civic organization devoted to making lives better in Chicago through technology.  Prior to the Smart Chicago, Daniel was a co-founder of and People Person for EveryBlock, a neighborhood news and discussion site serving 16 cities. Prior to EveryBlock, O’Neil spent 10 years as an Internet strategist and project manager for Streams Online Media, one of the first web design firms in Chicago. He’s developed dozens of Web sites for nonprofits, schools, and small businesses using easy-to-use and inexpensive tools such as weblogs, wikis, and social networking sites. In June of 2011 he was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change for Technology and Innovation. Dan has a degree in English and Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Dan joined Voqal in 2010 and lives in Chicago, IL.

Joe Pezzillo


Joe is the Senior Director, Push Operations & Adoption at Oracle. Joe has been involved in several successful start-ups including Push IO, a leading provider of mobile push notifications for broadcasters, sports leagues and global enterprises and Metafy LLC, a Boulder, Colorado based software boutique developing a suite of prototype iPhone applications for a Fortune 100 financial services company. In addition to pioneering work in internet radio and managing several startups, Joe spent three years as a researcher at the Apple Electronic Media Lab in the mid 90s. Joe joined Voqal in 2005 and lives in Boulder, CO.

Nancy Sanders


Nancy is a retired telecommunications executive with Time Warner Cable and now volunteers for non-profit community organizations. Nancy serves on the board of San Mateo Community Television and is President of the Emergency Family Assistance Association, a long-standing Boulder County (Colorado) organization that provides food, financial assistance and housing to families at risk of homelessness. She is a director and past board President of CDR, Collaborative Decision Resources, a pioneering global mediation company. Nancy has broad expertise in marketing and sales acquired in radio, advertising and cable television. Nancy lives in Boulder, CO with her partner and their dog and cat. When she is not traveling the world, she enjoys the state’s myriad outdoor recreation opportunities, with regular skiing, hiking and cycling. She also practices Qigong, yoga and meditation and loves to cook and read. Nancy joined Voqal in 1987.

James Traynor


James created his first email address in 1994, and later earned a BA in Social Science from New College at University of Alabama. In 2002 he joined Free Speech Media LLC (a Voqal company) to manage online ventures, coordinate Free Speech TV’s first on-air pledge drive and facilitate deployment of the FSTV/DemocracyNow! satellite affiliate network to over a hundred US cable public-access channels. A Voqal Director since 2009, James performs web development and consulting in Memphis, with dreams of unlimited bandwidth for all.

Frances “Pancha” Valdez


Pancha joined Voqal in 1993 and lives in Alamosa, CO.

Carl Wolfson


Until recently, Carl Wolfson was the host of “Carl in the Morning” on AM620 KPOJ, Portland’s progressive talk. During the 1980s and 1990s, Carl was one of the country’s leading stand-up comedians and a frequent guest on national television, appearing on HBO, Showtime’s Comedy Club Network, VH-1’s Stand-Up Spotlight, An Evening at the Improv and The Joan Rivers Show. On KPOJ, Carl covered national politics and conducted in-depth interviews with A-list guests (Alan Greenspan, Paul Krugman, Nate Silver, Maya Angelou), progressive legends (Howard Zinn, Gloria Steinem, Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky) and conservative counter-punchers (Grover Norquist, Frank Luntz, Bob Barr, Pat Buchanan). Carl received his B.S. in Communications from the University of Tennessee in 1975, and an M.A. in Political Science from UCLA in 1983.

Carl joined Voqal in 2012 and lives in Portland, OR.