Meet Michael Fanelli, Alaska Public Media’s new morning host

Michael Fanelli’s first trek into Alaska. (Michael Fanelli)

There’s a new voice on Alaska Morning News: Michael Fanelli.

Michael is officially taking over as the job of morning news host this week from Kavitha George.

Kavitha, meanwhile, is moving into a full-time reporting job at Alaska Public Media, focused on statewide issues like politics, climate change and the economy.

So you’ll still hear Kavitha’s reports on the news, she’s just moving back to a more regular work schedule. And Michael is readying to regularly tackle the 5 a.m. shift.

We recently asked Michael a few questions about himself — to share more about the journalist behind the morning news. Here’s what he had to say about how he got into public radio, why he moved to Alaska and his sleep strategy.

How’d you get interested in journalism and public radio?

My first full-time job out of college was working in a small manufacturing warehouse, where our manager let us listen to the radio throughout the day. I quickly got bored with the repetitive commercial stations, and in browsing through the dial, one day landed on my local NPR station, and was hooked. I realized that was the sort of journalism I wanted to do for a living, and set out to make it a reality.

Tell us about your life before moving to Alaska and joining Alaska Public Media.

I was born and raised in southern California and for the last several years have been working, in various capacities, for member station KCRW in Santa Monica, including on the morning news team. I also started a fun little podcast about environmentalism. Outside of work, I do enjoy a game of pickup basketball (lemme know if you need numbers) and a good IPA — excited to check out the Alaska breweries! I’m also looking forward to picking up some new outdoor hobbies here, like fishing, skating and cross-country skiing — you name it!

What made you want to move to Anchorage?

I had been itching to get out and experience another part of the country, and I think the pandemic really made me value access to nature. I’m passionate about the outdoors and am thrilled to be in a place with so much natural wonder at my fingertips!

And you drove here from California, right? How was that? Tell us your tips. 

Amazing. I would definitely recommend driving the Alaska Highway — but maybe not in a little Honda with a giant carrier case strapped to the top and a bike hooked to the back. Some of those roads require serious tires. Miraculously, we didn’t pop one! I’d also recommend taking your time with the drive if you can, there’s some incredible scenery through the Yukon and British Columbia.

What two things surprised you most about the city so far?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many of my favorite stores and restaurants are here. (Raising Cane’s, anyone?) I’m also really loving the bike trails, so cool how well you can get around the city on them. What’s up with all these one-way streets though?

You’ll be in charge of the economic report in addition to hosting the morning show. Do you have any types of economic stories you’re hoping to cover?

I’m fascinated by the economics of daily Alaska life. I really want to dig into what it takes to make this place go —  the ingenuity to work through the geographical challenges and the people who make it possible. I’d also love to report explainer-style stories on more complicated topics like energy and budgetary policies, but make ‘em fun a la Planet Money — Alaska edition!

We’ve got to talk about your early mornings. Are you a morning person? What’s your sleep strategy?

I am now! Hah! My current strategy is trying to go to bed as early as possible (which is not early enough) and pumping the caffeine upon wake-up at 4:05 a.m. I’ve been trying not to nap so that I’m tired enough to fall asleep at night, but tbd if that continues… Haven’t fallen asleep on air yet! Open to any and all recommendations.

What’s something listeners might not know about working in public radio?

In my experience, everyone who works in public radio has had a really interesting, vibrant, often hilarious personality. Everyone’s also super down to earth and easy to talk to, but the boring/dry public radio persona stereotype is definitely unfounded! (We just take our deadlines seriously.)

You can also reach Michael at and follow him on Twitter.

Michael Fanelli reported on economics and hosted the statewide morning news at Alaska Public Media. 

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